And so we are back reading this book that is a stark look into the mind of marry them off young patriarch Vaughn Ohlman. The players are in place. Young Andrew Adamson is back at the park again, eating lunch this time instead of playing with his cell phone. He’s joined by vaguely Middle Eastern buttinski Sakal Davidson. This is apparently post-date from the week before. Von states at the beginning of this chapter that the overarching theme is ‘What should I be doing on a date that is God-honoring?’ but that’s not it. The main theme is that this boy wants to get married just so he can have sex finally, since, you know, it was established in chapter 1 that everyone is ‘doing it’.
Sakal starts out by asking Andrew how his date went, but all Andrew can talk about is his mind being filled with Sakal’s words and scripture convicting him that dating has to be ‘God-honoring’
AA: No, I mean… why was I dating? What was I supposed to be accomplishing on the date? We agreed, last time, that my goal was to love God and love my neighbor. Well, I thought about it a bunch more, and I remembered that part of loving God is glorifying God.
Sakal piously spouts more scripture as Andrew tells him about the chick flick he took his date to see.
AA: But the whole time I was watching the movie, and watching my date, I wondered how well I was doing at the whole ‘glorifying God’ thing? How am I supposed to do that on my dates?
This is one of the things I absolutely hate about the courtship and/or betrothal crowd. They make dating sound like a nude mud wrestling in Satan’s cabana happening instead of two people who like one another simply enjoying spending time together. Why can’t spending time with a friend be ‘God-honoring’ as well?
During my youngest child’s teenage years I got to see first hand how the no-dating purity crowd thinking negatively affects young people. My daughter, quite on her own without my input, started following the no dating advice of Josh Harris (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) and Justin Lookadoo (“Are You Dateable?”) During her high school years I saw her tell a nice young man that she could have nothing to do with him because of her belief that unless you are looking to marry soon there’s no point in friendship with the opposite sex. This was immediately after he’d gifted her with a rose, a box of chocolates and a small jewelry gift out of the blue on Valentine’s Day. I saw that poor boy’s face fall and his crushed expression at her words. Later we had a discussion about this and she was defiant in her attitude that there was no reason to have opposite sex romances or close friendships.
Once we completely left the old cult church, we all received exit therapy and she started dating post-high school for the first time I saw her struggle with the things most girls figure out in the early high school years of dating. She had her heart broken a few times and didn’t have the best methods for navigating knowing who was a creeper and who was a keeper. It was a rough few years made rougher by the advice of the no dating crowd.
She didn’t date in high school and her older brother didn’t either. He didn’t go to the prom. She attended prom, but had to be fixed up by a friend with someone due to her not dating at all and no one asking her as a direct result of many in her circle knowing she did not date due to religious reasons. One of my biggest regrets over my children in the old church is that both of them took on this hyper-purity and no dating mindset from others at the church and I did little to try and counter it. I was unhappy that both of them missed out on so many fun things in high school, dances, football games and other activities with the opposite sex because of purity culture and peer pressure at the church.
Going on dates with a variety of people at least helps you discover what you will and will not accept in a romantic partner. It’s part of the process of growing and developing as a person. If that gets shut down then you don’t get a free pass, you merely delay that important piece of emotional development. You then have to go through it at an age when your peers have moved on to other stages of emotional development.
Back to the book, a half page of discussing how the Bible never mentions dating before Sakal says this:
SD: Quite right, you need to do both: glorify God during the date, and by the purpose of the date. But let us examine that eventual purpose. Why do you date? What end does it serve?
AA: To get married, of course. I want to get married, eventually, and everyone knows you can’t get married without dating.
Here we go, straight to the real reason. Sex. Caution: Entering Creeptown. Population: Vaughn Ohlman.
SD: So you wish to date, in order to get married. And you wish to get married… why?
AA: Well, there are lots of reasons… companionship, kids.. (blushing) Well, and, you know….
Very curious and quite telling that there’s nothing on that short list about love, about feeling your heart pound painfully when you gaze upon the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with. Not one thing involving love and ending with an awkward reference to sex.
SD: The physical aspect? You are looking forward to that part?
More blushing on the part of Andrew. More blathering on about glorifying God through marital sex.
SD: One wonders what this world is coming to that a young man is embarrassed to admit he wants to get married because he wants to sleep with his wife. Everyone knows it, but no one is willing to say it. So you want to date in order to get married, and you want to get married in order to have sex, and you want sex because it will glorify God?
Not only is there a sick, sad, scary complete lack of love in these conversations about marriage, there seems to be no clue about attraction, sexual attraction, electricity, chemistry, whatever you want to call it. Plus no real understanding that marriage isn’t a God-sanctioned sex-fest. No mention of how love can carry you through tough times, nothing about compatibility. Make no mistake about it, there will be tough times, there always are, and a relationship not built on a strong core of love, friendship and commonality will crack and fall apart. I’ve been married less than one month short of 30 years now and can immediately call up in my memory those times when only your love and your commitment to one another gets you pass the rough paths. Life is imperfect, people make silly mistakes, so you really need your best friend and your lover in your corner.
My advice for Von and his followers: MARRIAGE IS NOT ONLY ALL ABOUT SEX!!!! and to think so is a serious recipe for future disaster and heart break. It’s so much more and by teaching that it’s mostly to get laid Vaughn is assuring people following his advice will get short changed from all the other wonderful things than marriage can be.
Next week Jessie Dumonde – she of the supposed near date-raping of Andrew, makes an appearance and is almost immediately slut-shamed by Sakal. Charming.
I need a puking smiley to put at the end of these reviews.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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