How Christians Keep Christians Single (part 4) – and “Emotional Virginity” Teaching
They say marriage is a great thing and throw fits that Christians aren’t getting married by and large any more, but they are creating the very thing they are protesting: Christians who keep Christian singles single via their stupid or naive dating advice and narrow minded views of women. Here are some more examples.
Source for the following: “My Teen Mania Experience”
Fear of Dating (posted to “My Teen Mania Experience”)
Here are excerpts from the page:
- [Regarding teachings on dating to teens by “Teen Mania” and “Honor Academy” Christian teachers] ….What kind of effed up teachings produce this level of ridiculous fear? This total inability to engage the opposite sex in a normal, friendly manner?
For once, I knew I couldn’t blame this on Christianity at large, because she was not raised a Christian. The Honor Academy was her only exposure to Christianity and these problems and mindsets did not exist before she went there.
[From Christian Pundit: I disagree. This “fear of dating/ fear of the opposite gender” perspective is in a lot of Christian material on dating, not just the Honor Academy. It’s also taught among a lot of Christian home schooling families.]
Now, this may be an extreme example (or maybe not?) but I’ve heard from dozens of alumni – especially women – that after the Honor Academy, they feel incredibly uneasy around the opposite sex. Why is that? I’m going to give a few potential reasons, but I hope you’ll chime in as well.
1) Strict gender roles: Each gender has their assigned duties and no deviation is acceptable. Men lead. Women follow. Men initiate. Women respond.
First off, there are many places in Scripture where Godly women pursued romantic relationships, did not submit to their husbands and held leadership roles over men.
– Ruth proposed marriage to Boaz (Gasp!)
– Abigail did not submit to her husband’s leadership and took matters into her own hands, which eventually led to her marrying King David. (I Sam 25)
– Esther entered the King’s court uninvited – which had the potential to be an offense punishable by death.
This is just a short list. If you research the topic further, you will find many more encouraging examples.
From what I’ve seen, this teaching leads women to feel that they cannot even show interest in a guy (so how is he supposed to know that you like him?). It leads them to being passive and unable to seize opportunities. They are waiting for a guy to do everything in the relationship, and that is just not normal or healthy.
2) Friendship with the opposite sex is actively discouraged.
Many unsuspecting interns have been confronted for “curbside chatting” during their first week of the internship. “Curbside chatting” is exactly what it sounds like – standing on the curb outside the dorms, innocently chatting with a member of the opposite sex. Although this is clearly in public, in full view of all the dorms, its still considered dangerous behavior and will get you promptly confronted by your leadership and/or peers.
I’ve heard alumni say that they were afraid to even be seen walking on a sidewalk in the same direction as a member of the opposite sex, for fear that they would be confronted.
Its not uncommon for core advisors to ban their core from talking to members of the opposite sex for a period of time (days or weeks) as a “fast.”
For these, and probably many other reasons, real friendship between the sexes is rare at the Honor Academy. If you spend a year (or more) afraid to talk to members of the opposite sex, that mindset doesn’t just disappear when you go back home.
Notice the bottom line for all these behaviors? FEAR. Is that what the Christian life is supposed to be based on?
3) Fear of “Failure”
At the Honor Academy, any romantic relationship that doesn’t work out is considered a failure. In Honor Academy logic, if you break up with someone it obviously wasn’t God’s will, so you should have never dated them in the first place. This brings such an intense pressure that interns begin to feel that they cannot even start a relationship with someone until they are fairly certain that they will marry that person. A little backwards, don’t you think?
Since they can’t actually engage in a relationship with a person in order to see if its a match, they turn to prayer, fasting and their own mystical experiences with God to see who they should marry. While all of those things are important, they are NOT A SUBSTITUTE for real life experience.
You know the most common way that God tells you who to marry? It comes through spending time with the person who will become your spouse.
… It is not a sin to date someone, realize over time that it is not a good match and then break up. Its called normal development.
An alumnus recently sent me the audio from a marriage talk Heath gave to the women of the Honor Academy. I’m not usually shocked anymore by anything TM does because I feel like I’ve heard it all. But, after listening to this stunningly bizarre teaching, I am absolutely flabbergasted. I honestly don’t think there are appropriate words in the English language to describe this teaching, but I am going to try.
…. Heath takes the top 5 needs of a man – which I’ve heard elsewhere and seem like a legitimate assessment – and in a bizarre twist, makes them into some sort of requirement for all relationships with men – even platonic and fatherly ones. Don’t believe me? Below is the list of needs and how Heath teaches the HA women to apply them.
Top 5 Needs of a Man [according to Heath, a Christian guy at Honor Academy who teaches Christian teens and 20 somethings about sex, marriage, and dating]:
5) Domestic Support – @5:10 Do you know how to clean? You can tell by your dorm room, can’t ya? You can tell whether you like to clean or not, just by looking at your dorm room…When it comes to your dorm room, that should be your ladies mansion.
4) An Attractive Spouse – @6:50 – Do you smile a lot? Or are you always pondering things? Are you always thinking deep thoughts? Or are you naturally vivacious? Do you just smile a lot? Can you train yourself to be smiley? It’s actually good to do.
– Also wearing makeup is “taking pride in God’s creation.”
3) Recreational Companion – @7:50 If you don’t like to go watch intramural sports, don’t get married. You probably don’t want to get married. If you would not want to sit down and watch some games with your husband, don’t get married.
2) Admiration – @10:15 – He wants to be admired, he wants to be told he is the greatest person, that you are so glad you are part of his sister core.
For some reason, Heath seems to think that in order to prepare for marriage, you should treat everyone in nearly the same way you will treat your spouse. What?? Marriage is often the means by which God fulfills our emotional needs – we aren’t called to go around meeting the deep emotional needs of every opposite sex person in our life. Are you freaking kidding me? If the HA women follow this advice, there are going to be A LOT of confused guys around campus. If a woman starts admiring you, praising you, serving you – you are going to think she likes you. Heath basically just told every woman in the room to go start leading guys on.
Let’s say a woman starts following this teaching – what does she do after she gets married? I don’t think her husband will appreciate the way she serves, admires and praises every other guy in her path.
By its very nature and definition, marriage is a relationship unlike any other. The way I treated my roommates and friends of the opposite sex has had NO bearing on the way I treat my spouse. I don’t have the same love for them, I haven’t pledged my life to them, and I am not one with them in God’s eyes. The idea that we should somehow treat everyone the same way we will treat our spouse but without the companionship, love and other benefits that marriage brings is just bizarre.
Again, we aren’t required anywhere in Scripture or common sense to do what Heath is suggesting. Why should women “admire all guys – even ones they don’t like?” This makes NO sense. Should women admire men who cheat on their wives, who can’t hold a job, criminals, etc?
This guy is teaching about relationships??? What qualifications does Heath have? His trailer club classes also count as a college credit sociology class? Are you kidding me?? I can’t think of anyone less qualified, based on this teaching, to understand human relationships.
If I critiqued everything in this teaching, this post would be a mile long. Instead I am going to leave you with:
Top 5 WTF? Moments:
@3:09 – If you love to serve guys that you don’t naturally like to be around, you’ll be a good wife.
@12:50 – To find out if you are going to be a good wife – do you naturally admire guys? Not just the guys you like, but all the guys.
@22:00 – Marriage is very easy, if you are prepared. If you are ready, it’s very easy.
@27:30 – If you marry the wrong man, you’ll have to put your kids in daycare one day. Do you realize as soon as you get married, you are saying, “I am ready to have a child because I will probably get pregnant on my honeymoon.” …If you marry the right guy, you can do your dreams AND take care of your children. But if you marry the wrong guy, you’ll have to put your kids in daycare.
@30:35 – Heath says it’s not natural to argue in marriage and compares it to stealing or hitting people….” Do you want to have arguments in your marriage? You get to decide whether or not you are going to have arguments in your marriage.”
- At Teen Mania, there is NO forgiveness for sexual sin. Once you have committed a sexual sin or perceived sexual sin you are forever branded – you might as well wear a scarlet letter.
….This is an outrageous scandal for a preacher that claims to preach a God of FORGIVENESS AND RESTORATION. I dont’ know how much clearly Ron can say it – but he doesn’t believe in forgiveness! He doesn’t believe in restoration! Once you’ve sinned, that’s it – you are just screwed.
There are a lot of wrong or weird ideas on the “Courtship Part 2” page, but the most bizarre is that according to the author of the page, Ron Luce teachings something called “emotional virginity.”
What The Hell? There’s already enough nonsense among Christians with “Secondary Virginity” and “Spiritual Virginity’ and “Born Again Virginity” Now we have “Emotional Virginity”?
Excerpts from the page:
- 2) You must not make “emotional decisions” or “give your heart away” or “fall in love.” You must be an “emotional virgin” and not just a physical virgin.
This blog post at Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings insightfully critiques this idea. (If this is an area you struggle with, I highly suggest reading the whole thing.)
It was Josh Harris in I Kissed Dating Goodbye and the Ludy’s in several of their books that popularized the idea that every time you fall in love or get “emotionally attached” to someone, you give away a piece of your heart. The more pieces you give away, the less of your heart you have to give to your spouse someday.
He even went so far as to say that each of those former flames actually have some sort of hold on you.
This has got to be the most bogus and the most damaging teaching of this entire movement. Love doesn’t work that way. The more you give, the more you have.
My 3rd child doesn’t have less of my heart just because I’ve loved two other children before him. And, really, I haven’t given them “pieces” of my heart. I’ve given them each all of my heart. The miracle of love is that it multiplies by being given.
Each person I love has “a piece of my heart”…my best friend, my sisters, my husband, my parents, my kids. It is ridiculous to suggest that there is not enough of my heart to go around.
More Bad Marriage Advice (at “My Teen Mania Experience”)
Here are excerpts from the “More Bad Marriage Advice” page:
- “If you really want to get married, you are not ready to start a relationship. You should be totally content with the Lord and free of a desire for marriage – and then God will bring you a spouse.”
…Every day of creation, God finishes his work, looks around and says, “This is good.” Then he creates man and puts him to work in the garden. But then he says, “This is NOT good.”
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Gen. 2:18
If God was like Dave Hasz, He would have said, “Hey, Adam, you need to be content with me! Aren’t I enough for you?”
Let’s fast forward to the New Testament and see what Paul has to say about this.
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. I Corinthians 7:9
Good thing Dave Hasz isn’t writing Scripture, otherwise this verse would say:
“But if they cannot control themselves, they should not marry because it just proves how immature they are. Instead they should seek contentment with the Lord and wait for Him to bring a spouse.”
This kind of ethic runs throughout TM, i.e. “If you really want something, it means that desire is from the flesh and you should deny yourself and lay that desire down.”
….The truth is that God has created us with certain desires, passions and skills. It is not wrong to value those and to pursue them. In fact, I’d say its wrong to deny the way God created you. There is nothing in Scripture that encourages us to eliminate every desire we have, except our desire for God. Of course, God is to be top in our affections, but that does not mean that we have affections for nothing else. The goal to eliminate all desire is more akin to Buddhism than to Christianity.
And there you have it, more Christian opinions and advice given to Christian singles that will prolong their singleness or possibly keep them single for the rest of their lives, even if they desire to get married.
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