Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Dating with a purpose"...

Continuing on my theme of marriage, I just read an article about Jessa Duggar.  Jessa Duggar, in case you don't know, is one of JimBob and Michelle Duggar's nineteen kids.  She's next in line to get married, it seems, having been courting 19 year old Ben Seewald.  At 21, Jessa is a little older than Ben is.  It probably doesn't matter, though, because they are courting.  That means they date with chaperones.  They don't kiss.  They talk about scriptures and sermons and "side hug".  Jessa presumably hasn't had any experience with boys other than her brothers.  And Ben, if he is a proper young fundie Christian, probably hasn't been around the block with any other girls.

Courting is what the Duggars and their ilk do in place of regular dating.  They call it "dating with a purpose".  Couples who court are planning to marry.  They don't begin a courtship unless the partnership is approved by their parents.  It seems hopelessly old fashioned to me in this day and age, but if courting is what the Duggars want to do, that's their affair.

Of course, because they are stars on TLC, they are role models for other people.  After her months of dating experience, Jessa Duggar now wishes to offer "advice" for women considering courtship.  Her sisters, who presumably have even less "experience" than Jessa does, also chime in, telling women that they should pay attention to the qualities of their mate.  Is he good "fatherhood" material?  Is he slow to anger?  Seems to me, though, that if you don't have time alone with your intended and aren't allowed to touch them and aren't allowed to talk to them about subjects that don't involve religion, it's going to be difficult to really get to know your betrothed.  Marriage can be very difficult, particularly if you don't know who you're marrying before you tie the knot.  If you don't spend any time with your intended, it's going to be hard to see what they're like when others aren't watching.

I'm not very religious.  In fact, compared to the Duggars, I'm extremely liberal.  Nevertheless, I will agree that it makes sense to "take it slow" in a relationship.  In that regard, I'm not too different from Princeton Mom, who reminds us that "guys won't buy the cow if the milk is free".  On the other hand, if you don't put out, he may find someone who will.  That might be a deal breaker for some women, as it probably should be.  I'm just saying that if you've got your heart set on someone and he wants sex, you may have a serious decision to make.  

When Bill and I were dating, even when we lived together for six months before our wedding, we didn't have sex at all.  We literally slept together in the same full sized bed, but it wasn't until after we were married that we started having sex.  Speaking only for myself, I will say that I probably would have been willing to have intercourse before marriage if Bill had wanted to.  But he was leaving Mormonism at the time and wanted to wait.  Since I had already waited up until that point, it was fine with me to be a virgin on my wedding day.  I don't regret that choice today.

For the Duggar daughters, the world of sex is liable to be pretty difficult, especially since they will presumably be having their first experience with someone else who has never done it.  It may take some time before they enjoy the experience.  I know it took time for me to get the hang of it.

On Yahoo! the other day, one lady wrote an article about how Jessa Duggar has inspired her to force her own kids to court.  Maybe that's okay if your kids are still minors, but if they are young adults, how can you force them to date the way you want them to?  The author of this article writes that the Duggar kids seem polite and "well-adjusted".  I have to wonder how you can know that if you don't know them personally.  What you see on their reality show or read in their books is not necessarily "reality", after all.  

Anyway, while I happen to agree that kids shouldn't go wild when they start having relationships with others, I also think that parents need to step back and let nature take its course once their kids are adults.  Perhaps Jessa and Ben like courting because that's how everyone in their sphere "dates".  If it makes them comfortable, that's not a bad thing.  But for many people, side hugs and chaperones are just not going to cut it.  And you can have a perfectly nice marriage with someone without all the constraints of courtship.  A lot depends on maturity and mutual respect.  If you aren't mature enough to be able to date your boyfriend without a chaperone, how can you be mature enough to be married to them?  And how on earth can you offer advice to other people about dating?

It boggles the mind.

Given that so many people end up getting divorced, and divorce is expensive, soul sucking, and heartbreaking, maybe most people shouldn't get married at all.  I like being married, and I think Bill does too.  But, for many people, marriage is not the end all be all to life.  You can have a satisfying relationship with a person without getting a piece of paper issued by the government.  The Duggars do offer yet another way for people to get together.  If it really does work for them, more power to them.  I don't think I'd want my imaginary daughter taking dating advice from the Duggar family.  I'd prefer her to have common sense, self-discipline, and self-respect over a chaste courtship or "dating with a purpose".  

ETA…  Check the Duggars out on TV…

6 comments:

  1. i don't think promiscuity is as wonderful as seom people purport that it is, but the mating rituals the Duggars promote are even crazier.

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    1. Personally, I think sex is a bit overrated. But maybe it depends on one's libido. Bill and I don't seem to have much of one anymore.

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  2. My mom said "cretinism" was formerly in use as a clinical term for severe retardation and stunted growth due to severe hypothyroidism in infancy. it's sometimes now call infantile myxedema or infantile hypothyroidism. It used to also be called Brissaud's Syndrome. That was back in the day when syndromes had "apostrophe s" after the name of the person after who they were named, which may not have been all that long ago. She said that the illustration was pretty representative of a sufferer of the syndrome. They didn't have the happy Down Syndrome expression.

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    1. That's interesting. I didn't know that.

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  3. I'm not sure why I posted the reply where I did. Oops.

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