by Doug Wilson at Ladies Against Feminism and in his book “Her Hand in Marriage” – Why Courtship is Fundamentally Awed
In his book Doug Wilson is attempting to shoot down, point by point, the ideas in an article titled “Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed” by Thomas Umstattd Jr. If you haven’t seen Umstattd’s article you should give it a read. He does make some valid points about the courtship module.
“I grew up as a member of the homeschool community.” “Each year I waited for courtship to start working and for my homeschool friends to start getting married.” “I know several godly, hardworking and attractive homeschool guys who have been rejected by as many as a dozen fathers.”
So is it the courtship, or is it the combination of courtship and homeschooling? Note that I am not making assertions here, but rather saying when you are troubleshooting a problem, you need to be willing to look at all the factors.
For example, Umstattd points out that getting together in groups, for example, can be challenging. “The other challenge with group settings is that they are logistically complex.” Now I think that this can be true for homeschoolers, but our kids went to a private Christian school, K-12, and groups were never a problem. At the very least, by the time my kids graduated, they knew very well how guys and girls ticked. Getting this information was not difficult at all.
And since most long-term relationships don’t start in high school, I should mention something about the culture and community here at New St. Andrews. We have no “rule” about courtship at all, but it would be fair to say that basic assumptions about courtship have gotten down into the level of certain cultural assumptions. In this setting, I have seen a lot of couples get together — but they have gotten to know one another in countless situations over the course of months and years. This means that when the courtship formally starts, the intensity that Umstattd notes does not present the zero to sixty problem that would occur otherwise. But perhaps the problem is not where courtship is, but rather where the homeschooling was.
Another factor that Umstattd tends to downplay is the suitability of the individual.
“I know several godly, hardworking and attractive homeschool guys who have been rejected by as many as a dozen fathers. I respect their tenacity. Getting turned down by courtship fathers is tough on guys because the fathers are rarely gentle or kind.”
Looking at it from the other direction, between my two daughters I talked with 16 guys. If you do the math, you will readily see I turned down 14 of them. This is not a bug; it is a feature. And the 14 I turned down showed up at very different places on the spectrum. Some of them I respected highly as stand-up Christian guys, but my wife and daughter and I agreed it would not be a good match. Others had special issues going on their heads, and t’were better if we left them alone until those issues come to some sort of resolution.
One of the possibilities to consider is that our generation has produced a surplus of maladroit suitors, and when the father turns them down, the problem is mysteriously assigned to the father. The problem is supposed to be that he is “rarely gentle and kind.” But in the cases I had to deal with, I was always gentle and kind — and I know many fathers who were kind to the young men who came to them, whether or not they were turned down.
The weird thing here is that the more obviously unsuitable a suitor was, the less likely it would be that he would see me as being gentle or kind. A bad match can be dramatically obvious to everyone involved except for one person — which is why it would be a bad match, come to think of it.
QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders or their followers/enforcers and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.