Another big component of Purity Culture is the concept of courting. It starts very casually, a coffee, a movie, a drink. At the 4 month mark, if things are going well, you get introduced to his or her friends.
After 8 months, you have lunch with the family, usually over Sunday roast at a pub. You get married when you can find a venue for your budget.
Dating is organic and natural; as the relationship gradually matures, intimacy and commitment develop at the same rate. What we can talk about are the ramifications for individuals in both systems.
Courting is the same game, just with all the commitment up front and the intimacy pushed to the end. Has JH saved thousands of women from unnecessary heartache? Has JH condemned thousands of women to the heartache of remaining single for the rest of their lives, because the barrier-to-entry at the front gate was set too high. If things work out – the couple end up getting married – then it’s all good. The question really is about emotional harm when things don’t work out.
I am using IKDG as the standard, because the plethora of books that followed were basically clones.
According to Joshua Harris (JH), the way to prevent the heartbreak was to set the bar high early on, involve lots of other people, and push the physical commitment right to the end.
And behind your back people will snicker, we know this.
You only meet the parents when the relationship has been significantly tested, nobody is thinking about marriage on day one.
Courting on the other hand is very “front loaded”, parents are part of the process from the beginning, marriage prospects are under consideration from day one.
You are trading the risk of many small heartbreaks, for the risk of one huge heartbreak plus public destruction of your reputation in front of everyone you know.
Since this is a post specifically about Christian dating, I should point out that the bible doesn’t prescribe a methodology.