Last weekend for our date night movie, it was my turn to pick, so my husband and I watched the above documentary called “A Courtship.” You can watch it here for free if you have Amazon Prime. My husband wasn’t that thrilled to watch it but he was a good sport and watched it anyway.He probably thought it was going to be as fun as watching paint dry. I think he ended up liking it. It’s a real life story of a young woman named Kelly. She is in her 30s and has decided that she is tired of dating. She wants to be courted and get married. She also intends to save physical intimacy, including kissing, for her wedding day. Part of this desire stems from seeing her own parents’ marriage fall apart when she was just leaving for college. As a ballet teacher, she lives several states away from her mom and stepdad so she asks an older man in her church, a husband to Dawn, and father of two young girls, to be her spiritual father and screen her potential suitors. So anytime anyone asks her out, they have to be interviewed by him and pass his scrutiny. It was fun to watch his body language as he sized the main suitor featured in the documentary. Ron, the spiritual father, and his wife, Dawn, asked Kelly to move in with them. So the documentary shows a lot about their household, how it runs, and their conservative beliefs. They actually run the website, beforethekiss.com, which sells products to encourage Christian courtship, such as the book pictured below.
It was also fun to watch for the different features of their conservative homeschooling life that I recognize in my own life such as the picture book, The Princess and the Kiss, that Dawn read aloud to her daughters. Hey, I have read that aloud to my kids! (Also the companion book, The Squire and the Scroll.) Then there was the scene with Dawn sitting in a chair, reading a book with an Interlibrary loan label on it, and then a scene with the Duggars second book pictured on the stack of Kelly’s books on her nightstand. It was also fun to feel anticipation with Kelly when she got excited about seeing Ross again and texting him back and forth, and then having him over for family dinners so they could all observe him interacting with the family. I also liked watching Ron interact with Ross over “guy toys,” like an RC helicopter. I also learned something new, haha, which is, when you want to talk over something privately as a married couple, go sit in your minivan in the garage to do it! LOL! I’ve never thought of that one before.
I won’t spoil the documentary for you by giving away the ending. You can watch the preview above. I enjoyed the whole thing because it was sweet, touching and thought-provoking. Ron and his wife Dawn are such loving people to be willing to open up their home to someone outside their immediate family and provide guidance. The ending really gave me material to think about, like, would the same thing have happened if Ron and Dawn weren’t involved? Would Kelly have ended up being disappointed and frustrated or would something worse have happened if she had continued with the path her heart wanted? What is the role of parents/spiritual parents in guiding the courtship process? What is the role of a young lady in courtship? Is it OK for her to set her sights on a guy and ask him out? Is it OK for her to just sit back and totally wait for a young man to show up and ask her? I am going to have my older kids watch this and we will be discussing it by video conferencing.
Wow Celestia! I cant wait to watch this. I’ve been having the same questions you pose. So much to learn and consider and then think about the “what ifs?” Like “what if” my children use these tools to help them find a good match? How would it/could it change the outcome. Looking forward to watching this.
I think the answer to your questions is that it depends on the person and what they feel Heavenly Father has asked them to do. I think the principles behind it are that God is in charge and that we can put our faith and trust in Him, that fathers have a god given duty to provide for and protect their daughters (and that Heavenly Father will also do that for his daughters) and that the responsibility to initiate courting lies on men’s shoulders. These are all doctrinal principles. I think that if we focus on understanding these and other principles, it will become clear how to apply them in our individuals lives. I think it’s ok for a girl to ask a guy out, but I think the trouble comes when she feels that it is her responsibility to pursue her husband or when she feels like if she puts enough work in, she will find her husband.
Also, when she’s crying about not having her first kiss and Dawn says, “You’ll never get it back.” That kind of bothered me. I feel like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is super clear about what is doctrine and what is application and about not changing the doctrine because then impurities get in that confuse people. Basic doctrines are healing and transforming. Impure doctrines mixed with applications can be stressful and confusing. To put purity on different terms than God has put it (to say that to kiss someone before marriage mars your purity) is dangerous business. (Disclaimer: I think these people in the documentary are good people with good intentions and if these practices are what they feel led to by the Spirit, I think they are doing what is right.) Focus on pure doctrine and everything else will fall into place. If an individual feels right about the need to save their first kiss for marriage, that is good and beautiful, but we cannot pretend in the least bit that it is doctrinal or that kissing before marriage destroys purity. That blurs the line of what people should and should not actually feel guilty about, which hurts their spirits.
On a personal note of what I have found in my own life, I have felt pushed towards kissing by the Spirit in one relationship (there have also been other times I have kissed without feeling that, and I do regret those times a lot because their wasn’t the emotional closeness and commitment to justify kissing).
I don’t know, I just feel like we should preach pure doctrine and that there is a lot of power and healing in that. I think that is what the Apostles do, along with the leadership of church schools. They understand the power that is in pure doctrine. I think that when women understand how precious they are to Heavenly Father and that he will provide for and protect them and that they can give their lives over to him, everything will be the way it is supposed to be in their dating and they will have joy living out Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness for them, whatever that means in their own life, and not stress about philosophies-of-men-mingled-with-scripture rules and regulations.
That being said, I think it is more important to teach the basic principles like these that change people from the inside out and lead to joy in Heavenly Father’s presence (our ultimate goal):
that we are beloved children of Heavenly Father,
that he has a plan of happiness for every single one of us no matter where we are in life or what particular circumstances he has ahead for us,
that he will provide for us,
that he will protect us,
and that the purpose of life and the plan and everything Heavenly Father asks of us is joy.
These are my thoughts on your questions 🙂
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