When I was in Junior High, I read Joshua Harris' "I Kissed Dating Goodbye".
As a very mature (in my own mind) fourteen year old, I defined several key elements to my own future courtship. That book and its sequel, "Boy Meets Girl" were actually quite influential in my early dating philosophy.
[disclaimer:] I will say this... they're not bad books! And while I think "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" does idealize courtship perhaps a bit too much, I think much of the advice is sound. The book has nothing to do with it other than setting ideas in my head. I made ideals of my own free will. I tend toward making rules on things that are actually more like gray areas... and that's what this post is actually mostly about...
So for several years, I planned to do things the old fashioned way. I would be friends with a boy, he would like me and without my knowledge, speak to my father. He would outline his plans to woo me and wed me, and we would have a lovely little wedding in a small white church, in which we would have our first kiss. During the period of courtship, he would spend Sunday afternoons at my parent's house after church and throw the football with my dad. He would be from the South and our babies would have accents just like him.
Well, I moved away from home at the age of 19 (a year away from my intended "marry by" age, also determined when I was fourteen), thoroughly single. I did have close guy friends, but no marriage proposal kept me home.
By this time, I was actually a bit cynical on the whole relationship thing as a whole, having seen so many broken hearts from both dating relationships and courtships. I liked the idea of getting married, but the pre-marriage, relationship part freaked me out. It was at this time that I decided that I would agree to an arranged marriage. No games, just "Here he is!"
That didn't happen either.
So I was 3,000 miles from home, single, and content in that. Possibly overjoyed in that. Possibly smug and prideful in that. Possibly just about to have my lofty ideals kicked in the face.
Over Christmas break that year my relationship status was discussed. A friend asked me about my single state. I made lovely comments on being content and all sorts of things. I even had a conversation with God about possibly making a vow to not get into a relationship that year... not that I had all sorts of offers that needed turning down, but it was really heavy on my heart. The sign I asked for didn't happen so I didn't make that promise...
...and that turned out to be good. Because just five or so weeks into the semester, a strange guy from two of my classes (who coincidentally happened to be around a lot more), asked me to the spring formal.
My ideals were about to be crushed. I was going to lose a battle.
And to make it even worse, people from Washington don't have Southern accents. No hope for those future children.
...to be continued...