It’s Not That Complicated: Part 2 Chapter 7

It’s Not That Complicated: Part 2 Chapter 7 April 15, 2016

itsnotthatcomplicatedby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

All quotes from the book in blue text

In the first post from this chapter, we discussed the theological problems with Emotional Purity (now known as Emo-Pur).  This post wades through the Botkin’s practical ideas for dealing with guy-girl relationships.

The first list that the Botkin Sisters gives in the chapter is a list of signs that your heart is getting ahead of where you should be in a relationship.

“1.  Seeking our will above God’s
God already has a plan for what must happen with you and every young man you know.  In His grand design, He knows who should be married to whom in order for His will to be accomplished, and your duty is to embrace that design as surely as you embrace God Himself. (…)Whenever we feel that we would not be happy with God’s will being done on earth as it is done in heaven, if that will is different from ours, we’re out of place.  If a young man becomes more important to us that God’s will and preferences, he has officially become an idol.” (pg. 120)

  • I’ve never bought that God’s Divine Plan is a form of micromanagement.  God may well care about how people behave themselves within a marriage – are you caring towards yourself and your spouse? Charitable? Loving? – but I find it hard to believe that God’s Divine Plan has to be rewritten if someone marries an equally suitable spouse who is not God’s first choice.
  • It’s not Biblical to argue that you have to LIKE God’s will; just that you do God’s will.
  • These previous examples are all men God talked to about real ministry choices and God didn’t punish them for disliking God’s will.  The Botkin Sisters are taking this several steps farther away from Biblical examples.
    • First, they admit that you can’t really figure out if it is God’s will that you marry a guy when you first meet him, so declaring that having a poorly managed crush is idolatry is premature because you might marry this guy.  (Statistically speaking, nearly 100% of people have met the person they are going to marry prior to marriage in the USA. 😛 )
    • Second, feelings are not actions.  “God, I’m going to feel angry and upset if I don’t marry _____” is not an idolatrous statement.  Being angry and upset when _______ marries someone else is human, counterproductive AND not idolatrous.  Refusing to have anything to do with God until you marry _____ is probably idolatrous – but that’s a long way from what the Botkin Sisters are describing.
“2. Thinking we have a claim over the young man.
It doesn’t matter how much we think we understand him, appreciate him, love him, deserve him – if we do not have his ring on his finger, he is not ours.” (pg. 120)
  • I thoroughly agree with this statement.  Even in non-CP society, I’ve known men and women who have gotten really messed up because they were totally engrossed with a person who had no interest in them at all.
  • I grew up in a family that taught all of us kids that you don’t change any life plans for a boyfriend/girlfriend unless they’ve put an engagement ring on your finger.   That was some of the most useful advice I ever got from my parents and it kept me out of a lot of trouble when I was dating.
This next paragraph shows up several pages later, but should really be placed here for best horror.
“Our hearts, feelings, “intuitions”, and romantic inclinations can all be wrong, not matter how strong they are or how right they feel.  One friend of ours was so convinced that her feelings for a particular man were a sign from the Lord, that she wouldn’t let them go even after his engagement to someone else.  On his wedding day, she confronted him for going against the will of God, and told him it was still his destiny to marry her.  Obviously, her feelings weren’t proof of anything but the fact that…she had feelings.” (pg. 122)
  • *whimpers*
  • That’s not a sign of feelings; that’s a sign of being out of touch with reality probably due to an untreated mental illness.  Run away….quickly.  Do not let her know where the happy bride lives.
  • This is clearly the level of crazy that caused the WikiHow article “How to Stop a Wedding” to be written.
“3. Forgetting who the man is

We’ve all heard it a thousand times, and yet we still forget: It’s the man’s job to choose, the woman’s job to be chosen.  And no amount of active searching and window-shopping on our part will actually make our chosen chooser choose us any faster.  Wrapping ourselves up in a bow and throwing ourselves at his feet doesn’t count as letting him be the initiator, either.  It’s hard to feel powerless, but now is our time to learn patience and trust, to be at peace with the fact that it’s the man’s call.  For a girl to “pick” a young man who may never be an option for her is presumptuous, at best.  It can be asking for heartbreaking disappointment, at worst.” (pg. 121)

  • If a girl wants to wait for a guy to chase her, that’s fine as long as she’s plenty patient.
  • My bigger concern is that the Botkin Sisters have set the line for “good” behavior so far towards “No, seriously, I’m not that into you….Siblings in Christ!” that the average (or even above average) guy will often decide a girl is just not that into him and move on.  I’m all for being polite and courteous to guys even if girls aren’t interested in them, but guys appreciate it if a girl gives some sort of sign – additional animation, starting conversations, giving ideas for dates – if she’s interested in him.
4. Building castles in the sky
The truth is, we open the door for heart wrenching pain when we stake all of ourselves, all of our thoughts, our whole world – on something that we have no guarantee will happen.  Even in a courtship-type situation, when the young man’s interest in certain, it doesn’t guarantee that your future with him is.  God may still have other plans (Jas. 4:13-15) and it’s best to be emotionally prepared for them.” (pg 121-122)
  • This warning has jumped from one extreme to the other.  Yes, having dreams about where a relationship might go does make you more likely to have your heart broken if the relationship ends.  Interestingly enough, heartbreak is not fatal.
  •  I have a theory that broken courtships are more painful than the average dating break-up.  In dating, people start at low stakes on the first few dates then the relationship ramps up or ends based on mutual interest and consent. The stakes get higher over time as stable relationships follow a trajectory with fairly smooth transitions to engagement and marriage.  In courtship, there are roughly four discrete states: not courting, courting, engaged and married.  Instead of a slow, steady progression towards commitment, the couple takes a huge jump when they are courting, another huge jump at engagement and the last jump at marriage.  That makes courtship – along with Emo-Pur – a far scarier proposition with more potential heartbreak on the line than happens in dating.
  • Taken as written – especially in the scary context of James 4 – no one should ever dream about anything.  Ever.
5. Letting your brain go out the window
… as our father always put it.  Dad taught us that when you’re facing one of the biggest decisions of your life is the time when you most need your wits about you.  We all know infatuation is blinding; during this season of getting to know young men as friends, and especially in the next season of getting to know one of them as a potential husband, we will need to have our minds prepared for action (1 Peter 1:13) and our eyes wide open.” (pg. 122)
  • That’s actually shitty advice to give your daughters about men.  I completely agree that men and women should keep their wits about them while dating.  Having said that, that message needs to be connected with “You are a smart, sensible, caring adult who can make good choices.  Go get ’em!”
  • Whoever was picking the Bible verses for this section is really dialing it in.  1 Peter 1:13 is “Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.”  That’s not the point of that verse at all.
That the end of that section.  Next post has some timely words on how to prevent these type of “mistakes” from happening.

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.

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