Courtship or Dating?

As a mom of two boys I am always on the lookout for a book that will help encourage  me and flame the desire to keep up on relationships.  Courtship? Dating? Texting? Chatting? Phone calls? Youth Groups? Friends? More than friends? How is one to navigate these waters?

One paddle stroke at a time. 

When I was offered the opportunity to review Courtship or Dating: So What’s the Difference? by  Dennis Gundersen, I said, “Yes, Please!”

This particular book is offered by Grace and Truth Books.  They are not swayed by current trends or offering secular selections.  Their books appear to be on a very conservative side. This book, for example, had an essay from Martin Luther as an entire chapter on dating. I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about seeking out Martin Luther for dating advice.

The six chapters are more like 6 individual essays, each written by a different author. Dads of boys, moms of girls, parents pointing back to the norm of yesteryear.

On page six, Dennis spoke to my heart, – if everything with relationships is a “No”, then you are not guiding them, you are a wall. “And walls are something most of us try naturally to get around. However, a guide, whom we respect, we’re willing to follow. Parent: you want to be a guide, not just a barrier.”

However, I’m having a hard time being a guide.  I didn’t find the answers I needed for our personal situation at home right now, but I did feel encouraged to keep my goals centered on Christ, looking towards the Word as truth, and knowing that many have gone before our family with good results.

One part I agree with to the letter – is Chapter 5 – Service vs. Entertainment. I do think that youth who spend every waking moment with their boyfriend/girlfriend, forsaking all of their friends and family, spending money on selfish indulgences, all for entertainment and ‘feel good’ times, are not practicing reality. I think Dennis’s advice is spot on. I’ve seen it in action, will incorporate it in our home, and validate what he says.

Parental Authority  – Talks to the Young Reader, and to the Parents – Jumps immediately to Marriage. Talking about the good traits of girls before they had interest – the examples in their mother. Pages 1-35 solid, great advice – Points more towards older children. I think it is a guide for all of their character, respecting the fathers, looking towards their mothers, realizing and experiencing parental authority – because of their love for the kids, their experience, their relationship with the kids. Not a  – You Will Not . . . . type of conversation.

After Dennis Gundersen’s description – 5 more entries are given by various authors. They attack the  areas of romance and dating pretty hard. It is funny to me that each of them have been married for a long time, and seem to have all dated, and then say that dating didn’t help them in marriage. But it obviously took a few fellas and gals to get to The One they would marry. Some of the articles bring the parental authority a bit to far and too long.

To be fair – I have 11 and 14 year old boys. My oldest saw this form of courtship modeled, and saw the results of ‘the few’ who dated and does not desire to walk this path. He see the fruit of having group friendships and being friends with many girls. However, my youngest son has grown up with a group of boys who have ‘girlfriends’. They don’t date per say – but they are all into the ownership level of dating – “She’s my girlfriend” “She likes me.” “Do you like like me?” “Do you like me as more than a friend?”. 

So different.  I agree with Dennis.  It does come down to Parental Authority and relationship – involvement.  We talk about each friend and activity and incident. I read many texts and message transcripts. We correct, redirect, give advice, and have drawn lines in the sand of where we will not cross. I have seen too many parents engage in this activity of dating, driving the kids to each other’s homes and out on dates.  I won’t be doing that.

For the younger ages, Grace and Truth Books carries a Princess and the Pea and a Squire and the Scroll Book.  My boys have each gone through the boy’s book.  My youngest is almost through the workbook.  I don’t think you can just hang out with your boys until they are older – and then bring this whole idea up – that they will not date. Will not have girlfriends. Will not have friendships based on feelings. Many of the articles in the end of the book turned me away from liking the book. But I have read the parts written by Dennis 3 times now – and really get what he I saying, and enjoy the meat of what he has shared.  I would take the other articles with a grain of salt, and seeing how far the pendulum can and does swing towards courtship.

As for Grace and Truth Books, they seem to have great prices, $5,75 for the book I got to read. I think Courtship or Dating would be good for parents or older teens. It is not a “How To” book, but on the site they offer 3 pages roughly 57 books on purity, dating, “Raising Modern Day Knights”, “Prepare they Work”, by Daniel Foster, and “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” which is referenced in Dennis Gunderson’s Courtship and Dating.  If you are looking for solid conservative books to help you through these years, there are many choices.

You may want to visit our Schoolhouse Review Linky to read what my fellow crewmates experienced. We were given the following 10 selections, you’ll be able to see who reviewed which book by their linky entry title.

From the Children’s Character Building Collection (11 vol) these two:
        – The Little Medicine Carrier, ages 8-12
        – The Reward of Childhood Truth, ages 8-12
From the Boys Heritage Series (9 vol)
         – Gerrit and His Dog, boys ages 8-12
         – The Young Christian, boys ages 10-14
From the Girls Heritage Series (8 vol)
        – First Impressions of God, girls ages 5-8
        – Behind Mr. Bunyan, girls ages 8-12


The above text was written a couple of weeks ago after I finished the book – re read the book for a second time – and then let fingers fly. This review is for two separate things in my mind. First,  Courtship or Dating: So What’s the Difference? by Dennis Gundersen, From this book I gather that the main difference is that if you do a strict conservative Courtship  – you will be right, and if you allow any form of dating, you will be wrong. Dating leads to Divorce Training, and courtship leads to a one love only long lasting relationship. I agree with a lot of the logic of the book – but I have not seen it played out in practice in 2012.

All of the writers mentioned their earlier dating years, and long lasting marriages and then in the same breath said they didn’t want their kids to re-live their experience. I had many dating relationships, even though I married young, but I have had a 22 year marriage that we work to be solid each day. I can’t jump to the logic that having more than one person that you consider to marry equals your marriage is doomed.

Since this is about the book – and not about our personal journey with 11 and 14 year old boys – I’ll save them the embarrassment of sharing what we are working on right now, and let you know it wasn’t helped with this volume. However,

The second half of this review is for the variety of books at Grace and Truth Books, and many of those, mentioned above, really have helped us form our lines, our movable and solid walls so to speak to the guide services we’re offering the boys. 

Who is this book for? Are you unclear as to what conservative classical courtship is? Read this book.  Who is this not for? If you already have a child over the age of 10 or 11, in the trenches – I pray that you already have a sold plan to have a warrior equipped. They state in the book that one mom is not thinking of it for her 13 and younger kids – I’d say by 13, you’ve let your child decide. I’ll let you go on this review – thanks for listening to me babble! Sounds like I need to talk to the boys and ask them if I may share some relationship posts and how we are blending Social Media, Public School relationships, Zero Homeschool local friends their age, and a desire for purity.

If you’d like to read the reviews of the books mentioned above, hop on over to the Schoolhouse Review Crews blog, scroll to the bottom, and click on the Linky.  Love to ya as we all jump into battle in prayer protecting the hearts of our children, giving it to the Lord, my faith is in Him. Many different styles – Very similar goals!

Disclaimer – I received the book mentioned, because I asked for it and was given this review by the Schoolhouse Review Crew. I am VERY interested in this topic right now!  I received the book for free in exchange for reading it,  and sharing it with you. Bottom line, for under six dollars – it is worth the read – may help you draw your own lines.

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About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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