There are many times that I don’t realize just how much strange teaching I’ve had to undo in my life. She now lives in gorgeous Montana with her husband and three kids, loving life, writing about spiritual abuse and grace, and leading worship for church, retreats, and special events.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
” My second reaction, close on the heels of the first, would be a coping mechanism that I learned long ago: I calmly tell myself, “This is perfectly normal and innocent. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.
It somehow validates my belief that some of the teachings I grew up with were very wrong. I rejected the teachings of courtship and emotional purity when I was 19. In fact, I have identified several ways that these teachings can damage a person’s heart. Shame because that’s “sinful” and “emotionally impure.” Shame because it sets a standard and proclaims that you are somehow shameful if you cannot keep it. Because your heart is whole and she just gave a piece of hers to a guy she isn’t married to. You have more to give your future husband than she does. This has nothing to do with the righteousness and grace of God, and everything to do with the accomplishments of man. I was trying to explain this to my friend, and it came out sounding so .
Lately, I’ve also started facing the ways in which the teachings of “emotional purity,” (a la Josh Harris, the Ludys, and others) have damaged the part of my brain that makes healthy relationships function. You are considered damaged goods if you have fallen in love and had your heart broken. I remember watching a video in which one of the biggest names in the courtship movement bragged with obvious arrogance that he didn’t tell his wife he loved her until their wedding. We took something as simple as saying ‘I love you,’ built a straw man rule around it (‘saying I love you is defrauding’), then hung it like a trophy on our walls.” Job well done, folks. They create skewed views of relationships which lead to dysfunction. Where others see nothing wrong, I am suspicious of every look, every situation, every witty exchange. I feel ill at ease sometimes even talking to other men. I’m really good at pushing those feelings away and acting “normal.” But I am bothered by my reaction to everyday situations.
Emotional purity Biblical courtship = Godly marriage. You can do everything “right” and your life can still go wrong. People who follow the courtship formula still get divorced. However, what is encouraging is that most of us have determined to stop the insanity.