Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Courtship and Dating: So What's the Difference? (A TOS Review)

     A few years back, my husband and I decided that we did not want our sons to "date" in the traditional sense.  There had to be a better way.  The trick was, we weren't sure what that "better" way was.  Over time, I began to hear the word "courtship" mentioned, especially in homeschooling circles.  Maybe this was the answer we had been looking for.  But then we asked, "Now how does that work?"  We began to talk to other friends of ours who wanted to do the same--but none of us had ever really seen it lived out in front of us.  We were just going to have to make it up as we went along.
Then this came in the mail:

Ahhh...NOW maybe I could get some answers!
     I was excited for the chance to read and review Courtship & Dating: So What's the Difference?, by Dennis Gunderson.  It is one of many books published by Grace & Truth Books.   

     At only 90 pages, Courtship and Dating: So What's the Difference? is a very easy read.  Chapters and Sections are broken down into bite size pieces so you don't feel overwhelmed or lost in tons of information.  I spent a lot of my time underlining, circling and starring all the "Oh, this is GOOD!"  and "I can't forget this" parts.

There are actually 6 authors that contributed to this book. (And two that don't even know they contributed, since they've been dead for 500 years!) The main section is followed by several supplemental chapters.  Listed below, you will find a description of each section:
Courtship or Dating: So What's the Difference? (by Dennis Gundersen) 
     This portion is obviously the heart of the book.  Dennis shares with his readers upfront that this book is not about exactly how to "do" courtship.  He gives principles instead--since all families and all situations are different.  He works through several contrasts when it comes to courtship or dating.  (i.e. Accountability vs. Independence) 
     I found what he had to say VERY helpful to me as a parent.  I'll be honest, I was hoping for some straight-up rules to follow. I wanted someone to tell me exactly how to do this courtship thing.  After reading what Gundersen wrote, I'm convinced of the priciple approach and not the "You-have-to-do-it-just-like-I-say-or-you-can't-call-it-courtship-method".  Two of my favorite quotes from this section: "...and the question will not be 'Do they have fun together?'  Rather, the question will be, 'Do they help each other serve others?'" and "You musn't begin the conversation about what type of person makes a good husband or wife when your son or daughter is right on the verge of selecting that person."
Marriage Without the Consent of Parents (by Martin Bucer)
     The words in this section were penned back in the day by a 16th Century Swiss Reformer.  (It seems you have to go back pretty far to find out the heart of courtship!)  This is a very short section...and I'll give you two guesses if Martin is for or against the idea of "marriage without the consent of parents".  How intriguing to read these words from centuries ago!
Observations on Courtship (by Kim Shay)
     Homeschool mom, Kim Shay, was the author of my favorite "supplemental" section.  I felt as if she was an old friend who stopped by for some coffee to give me some advice.  I could really relate to her and what she said.  One of my favorite quotes from Kim: "Set high standards and be flexible."
On Parents and Their Children's Marriage (by Martin Luther)
     This was the slowest section of the book for me to read.  I did not glean much from it--but it was interesting to see the struggles with marriage that families were going through back in the 1500's. (Martin Luther was addressing the issue of some parents forcing their children to marry someone they did not love, or keeping them from marriage altogether.) The juxtaposition of the modern day authors with the much older authors was well-placed. 
Modeling Modesty (by Mary Mohler)
Modesty, the Best Policy  (by Tamika Burns)
     These last two chapters went hand-in-hand.  Although they did not speak directly about courtship or dating, I thought adding them at the end of the book was very appropriate.  (These chapters were  primarily written to women and girls.) 
A few personal thoughts...
     Most of my adult life I have almost always read a book on a subject before pursuing something new (like getting married, having children, homeschooling, etc.).  This, along with prayer and seeking advice from wise people had always been a help to me.  This book was no exception.  After reading it, I felt so much more at peace about our decision.  I certainly don't know all there is to know, but that's okay--because tomorrow is not here yet.  The book helped me to understand that everything about how we will "do" courtship in our family does not need to be decided this week.  Our standards and principles will need to be in place, but all the other details can be flexible and decided as we move along. 
Want to read this book?
 There is also an audio cd of the book available for $4.75.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.
LOTS more Titles from Grace and Truth Books were reviewed by fellow bloggers on the TOS Crew.  Check them out HERE.


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