Hey Sam, have you read the popular dating book “Boy Meets Girl” by Joshua Harris? What are your thoughts? My girlfriend and I have both read the book and think overall that it is quite good. We both agree that the purpose of dating is getting to know the other person more deeply to see if they would be a Godly husband/wife. We also agree that we should be standing together towards Christ and not only focusing on each other other, and what we ‘have’.
However there are some elements in the book which we slightly disagree with. It is incredibly puritan, and we feel that what some think is a suitable boundary is different for others. (eg, kissing, cuddling). We keep the principle: “Would I feel ashamed if I was doing this with someone else’s future wife/husband”. What are your thoughts? God Bless.
Thank you for an awesome question! I loved your detailed and clear opinion.
To be honest, I haven’t read a single dating book. I don’t plan on it either. This might sound harsh and if you’re a Joshua Harris fan, then you’re going to take offense. But I hope you’ll love me anyway! Here we go:
I think dating books are stupid. I don’t mean that in an insulting way, I just think that they lack any intellectual grounds. Here is why: Why waste your time learning how to be a good boyfriend when you can learn how to be a good husband? Isn’t that what matters? If you know what areas you need to develop to be a good husband, and what kind of wife you need, doesn’t that already sort out the dating aspect of it? If you’re striving to be a good future husband, you’ll be a good boyfriend. Make sense?
Here’s my other reason: Dating books are completely philosophical. They cannot include Scripture, because God didn’t care to discuss dating or courting or “seeing someone.” Instead, He talked a great deal about marriage. So I would rather read a book that is founded upon the eternal wisdom of God, than someone who took college and has a lot of life experiences. I’m not saying that Joshua Harris is a waste of a human life, please don’t get me wrong! I’m just saying that he cannot offer me what the Bible can. God’s word teaches me to be noble, trustworthy, honorable, strong, brave, pure, righteous, courageous, humble, and wise. Among many other characteristics.
My brother, think of this: Did you really need to read a whole book to tell you that the purpose of dating is to find a spouse? And to stop your girlfriend from becoming a distraction from your pursuit of God?
When I first started dating my girlfriend, I read one book (Wild at Heart by John Eldredge), and then I watched a good 12-14 sermons on marriage. I learned all that I need to know. I learned what a man as a husband and wife look like, what a father and mother look like, and simply what a man and a woman look like. The rest is just learning to grow with Christ and weed out my imperfections and not becoming distracted. I don’t need to read some dating book. I just need to know what I’m supposed to be in marriage.
Now, when it comes to marriage books, that’s what peaks my interest. Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll or Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married by Gary Chapman, and others out there are probably going to be much more helpful to you than these dating books. I looked up the summary of the book, and it’s pretty much about courting, says Joshua Harris. I don’t need to know about courting/dating/seeking a woman. I can ask my pastor or parents about that. What I need to know is marriage. If I understand marriage, I will understand pursuing a woman.
Well, that pretty much concludes what I had to say. Please don’t hate me and print out my blog just so you can burn it in your fireplace. That would make me sad. :(
Now, when it comes to what Joshua Harris said about his opinion on physical boundaries, I will say this: that’s his opinion. It’s in his book, and you are welcomed to disagree with his book. That’s his conviction, and so I won’t call him silly for holding it. I do agree with you, however, that everyone does appear to have different convictions when it comes to setting physical boundaries. I think that a better reflective question than the one you said you ask yourself is this: “What is the point where you risk lusting in your mind?” If you ask that reflective question, then you’re sure to stay out of trouble (for the most part). If you lust, you’ve already sinned. So stay away from lust, and you’ll be good. For this is what James says:
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. – James 1:13-15
So, if you have sexual desire for your partner (which is natural), you will become very tempted to exceed your physical boundaries with her. When you dwell on that temptation, you will give birth to sin (meaning you’ll sin), and then you’ll just waste away in your sin. That’s just how it works, as I’m sure you’ve seen with any struggle you’ve ever had with a temptation of any sort.
So that’s all I had to say, and I’d like to conclude with Matt Chandler. Check out this short video, he talks about dating and how silly it’s become. He even alludes to Joshua Harris’ book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Watch it, it’s only 2 minutes!
Well I hope you enjoyed this lengthy answer! I really enjoyed talking about this. Let me know if you have a reply. Just remember that we can disagree on this and still live completely for Christ!
God bless and much love!