Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I read this book last week and have been ruminating on it quite a bit.
The author Mr. Holzmann, also author of the Sonlight curriculum, makes a case for Christian singles to treat each other as brothers and sisters with their purpose being to bless one another to the glory of God. He encourages us to aim higher than drawing a line in the sand regarding physical relationships and rather to think biblically about the purpose of the relationships in the first place. After listing several things that, of course, should be avoided, he says:
"But God wants you to judge your relationships by higher standards than these. He's not merely interested in what things you'll avoid, but in what things you'll do: how well you'll bless your brothers and sisters; how well you'll lead them to faith and obedience; how upright your speech will be; how loving your actions."
The text is loaded with scriptural references, which I LOVE!
Mr. Holzmann argues that Christians men and women should be able to get to know each other in a sibling type of relationship that can easily lead to marriage, saving all forms of boyfriend/girlfriend types of things until after the engagement.
The family at The Common Room has experienced just such an arrangement that has led to the recent engagement of one of their daughters. We've also posted on this blog about our friend Rachel who had the same experience. So we have seen first hand that this model can work.
Of course, this type of relationship can only be entered into with others who have the same understanding. Mr Holzmann had to enlighten his wife-to-be, at one point, to the fact that he was not interested in being her boyfriend, but wanted a sister/brother relationship. He strongly emphasizes the necessity of being mature enough and ready to explain and stand strong in your own convictions.
We've been guarded over our daughters' relationships with young men. Not guarded enough in some cases when the girls were too young, but maybe too guarded after they had become adults. Upon entering into a relationship with two exceptional men at church, I can see more easily how this model can work. Quite a while back, our two oldest ended up on a boat with these two young men and I couldn't have been more ok with it. I knew they had a reputation of being men of integrity. My time spent with them had confirmed that fact. I knew these men were ones who understood their role in relationship to my girls.
One thing I really liked about this book is that it put the responsibility directly on the young person, unlike some other courtship type of books that are hyper-dependent on the fathers. He says if you don't have the internal strength to stand on your own convictions, you are not ready to be spending time alone with anyone. This has caused me to think differently about how I feel about one-on-one time between my girls and other young men. However, he does also make points about not doing anything that might cause you to stumble and discourages extremely private places. He also addresses not giving the appearance of evil and having exclusive "ownership" type of relationships. Overall, I thought it was a good balance. He also points out the wisdom in getting to know someone first in a crowd type of situation in order to learn if they are someone with whom you want to spend more time and to ascertain if they are a trustworthy person. He suggests this approach for both male and female friends.
This book is an excellent place to start if you want to explore the way your children might enter into relationships with the opposite sex. Even if your children are very young, I encourage you to start thinking about these issues now.


MomToCherubs said...

Since you have finished reading this book, can you add it to my WANT TO BORROW FROM YOU list ?? (big smile) "Those" years are coming much much too fast to our household .... and we want to be prepared.

God Bless.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Sounds like a great book!

Anonymous said...

I had the dreaded dating question just a week or so ago. I'm afraid I responded badly. My main concern is the age of the young person. I'd LOVE to have a set-in-stone age, so that I might just revert back to the "family rule" -- kind of like fingertip-length shorts and knee-length skirts. "Sorry, you're 28 days short of the official age, so no date!" My real problem is this flip-flopping maturity I see daily. One moment my older kids have my respect and the next I'm trying not to roll my eyes!
I think I might read the book.