A lot of people commented on my courtship experience. I can’t respond to everything, but here’s some things I’d like to point out.
First, I hold to the courtship model and believe it is the correct path. It is morally right and proper for civilization, and, if done properly, should be good for marriages. Chad wrote well on it in the comments:
Courtship is a tool from Christendom in which the families were involved so that emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, commitment, and logical “do these two people work together” proceeded along side each other in practical steps towards marriage and creation of a family. It openly acknowledged that emotional intimacy leads to physical intimacy, and that physical intimacy going too quickly can lead to a lack of commitment on either party’s part as well as delude those sexually lusting after each other that they’d work well when they become one flesh.
Even in it’s hayday, courtship was something that was a…. tenuous thing, at times. For humans have always been lustful, prideful, and rebellious; and unmarried youth are more so than any other. Hence where courtship was ignored, shotgun weddings were enforced.
That, also, is not to say that the system was abused by poor intentions of parents getting greedy or losing sight of the overall good of their child by focusing too much on any individual trait (beauty, lust, status, wealth, etc) rather than overall health of the child and, in particular, whether the person they were joining flesh with would help them achieve salvation and sainthood.
These days, courtship works where people acknowledge what it is – a system in place in which emotional intimacy and physical intimacy do not outpace commitment and logic. It does not, and SHOULD NOT, have the same form as old school courtship as our current societal failings have led to different expressions of individual failings. It should acknowledge that courtship is not engagement, nor is getting to know someone a little before asking to court them a bad thing. Most traditional families want to know the individuals before courtship is pursued, and when that is not possible, or they’re not as traditional, a few ‘casual dates’ for coffee or to a public activity is usually accepted. Meeting the father a first time is not unheard of, but I haven’t encountered a grilling such as FN as of yet.
The whole system is supposed to take two fallen human beings and place them together in a way to support each other through love; not topple into a fallen state of sin, nor make princesses/saints out of fallen women, nor kick a Brother in Christ out to the curb with nothing but his coat and tattered remains of dignity and respect.
Any courtship that doesn’t align with reality is not courtship, but a twisted perversion of delusional ‘love’ which is lacking in all that makes love beautiful.
As did Cail:
The main difference between courtship and dating is that when you ask to court a girl, you’re declaring up front that if things go well, you’ll be proposing in the near future, and if things get to a point where one of you decides marriage isn’t in the cards, you break it off. It’s dating for the stated purpose of discerning marriage. All this other stuff about questionnaires and hyper-chastity is just extra weirdness that people are trying to call courtship because it makes it sound traditional and churchy.
I wholeheartedly support the involvement of family in the creation and development of relationships and marriages and the right of parents to veto a daughter’s relationship choices. The lack of family involvement in marriage leads to the screwed up sexual and
That modern ills and individual flaws are a part of modern courtship does not invalidate the model. No system is perfect.
My story is not a criticism of courtship as a system, it is a criticism of the incorrect application of the system.
Second, I submitted to the father because he had the right to my submission in regards to courting his daughter. A father has the right, the duty, to screen his daughter’s suitors. He also has the right to put whatever conditions he deems necessary on his daughter’s suitor and end the relationship if he desires. I believe in this case the father went about that screening in an incorrect way, but even if he was wrong it was fully within his rights to make the wrong decision.
On the other hand, I know I should have been more forceful in my interactions with the parents. I was caught off guard: this was not a social situation for which I was prepared or had developed a system. I think prariepolyguy had the right idea:
Your goal with that kind of thing is to establish peerage, that’s why I say answer questions and pose counter-questions. He can’t simply banish you for being disrespectful because you aren’t being, but you don’t just sit and submit to his whim like a pussy and don’t lose face with the girl…
I also would have asked for it to be private, between me and the father. As Barnabas said:
It strikes me that the problem isn’t so much the grilling, its that the daughter is present. This should be a conversation between men with daughter and mom not present. Best approach if faced with such a situation would be to demand a private discussion.
Third, as her husband I would have taken over the leadership role from her father, but that transfer of leadership does not occur until the wedding, or at the very least the engagement. It is simply wrong to think that I have any headship over a woman to whom I am not married.
Fourth, for those of you saying I should have not have submitted to the father, but instead taken the girl against the father’s wishes, you are wrong. If she was the kind of girl who would disobey her father and abandon her family for a man she had known for only a month, she is not the kind of girl I would want to marry. The woman who will rebel against and abandon her father under the influence of passion is the same woman who will rebel against and leave her husband under the influence of passion. Once the father had denied the relationship, the only way we could have had a relationship is if she was the type of girl I would not want to have a relationship with.
Fifth, I’ve had more reasonable experiences with asking the father’s permission for courtship. The other couple times I’ve done it the families were warm and inviting, we got to know each other casually over dinner, and they extended permission without much hassle. My courtship experiences as far as families go have generally positive experiences; this time was the exception.
Sixth, I know I should stop it with the porn. Every now and again I try. When I do, I may abstain for anywhere from a week or two to three or four months, but I always come back to it. It is my besetting sin.