Friday, November 9, 2012

Grace & Truth Books Knights and FairMaidens from Grace & Truth Books is a book that chronicles the courtship of its authors, Jeff & Danielle Myers.  The Myers’ propose a solution to the Christian dilemma of opposite sex relationships – courtship.  Courtship has been a popular topic among Christian groups more recently as the answer to a successful marriage in today’s dating culture.   I believe there is a lot more to making a successful marriage than deciding to abandon dating in favor of courtship.  However, there are some good guidelines outlined in Of Knights and Fair Maidens one can follow in order to steer clear of the pitfalls of modern day dating.  The book can be purchased at the Grace & Truth website for $9.75.  It is written to teens aged 14-19.  I read this book as a parent of a teen girl as I prepare to discuss these issues fairly soon.

According to Myers, Courtship is defined as a guy/girl relationship that leads to marriage.  It focuses on three primary things: accountability, character building, and waiting to develop serious relationships until you are in a position to get married.  I think that is great advice. 

The Myers essentially spent a summer together sharing activities primarily in a group setting before deciding to court.  Initially, there were a few mountain bike rides that they shared alone but they decided to court based on the godly character of the other person, their goals, and the green lights they received from accountability partners. 

Here is some of the advice they give that should govern the courtship relationship:
  1. Accountability to parents.  Here is one quote from the book that rings true, “when you get married, you don’t just marry another person.  You marry a whole family.”  This has implications for both positive and negative outcomes.  I think getting family involved to some degree is important to the well being of the relationship.
  2. Activities.  I love the suggestions for activities that help to avoid the “masks” couples wear early in a relationship to impress one another. 
    1. Working together on a missions project helps the couple to observe each other in unusual or stressful situations. 
    2. Refinish a piece of old furniture together.
    3. Plant a garden
    4. Make a fancy dinner together
  3. Stuff to think about/Stuff to talk about.  The Myers suggest that people when people “fall in love” they stop thinking.  They give a list of items to discuss as a couple, a list for the girls and a list for the guys. Following is a just a small sample:
For the girls:
    1. How would you handle child discipline?
    2. Do you know how to plan menus, cook, and serve food?
    3. List ways you can support your husband in his goals?
    4. Interview women for ideas on how they demonstrate love for their husbands. 
For the guys:
a.       What are your expectations for marriage?
b.      Have you visited with any fathers about the responsibilities of raising children?
c.       Do you know how to budget? Save?
d.      Do you know how to fix things that break?

My thoughts:

Here is my favorite quote from the book that sums up the whole matter of courtship versus dating, “the important thing is to be tuned in to what God says in his Word.  Before you decide to get into a relationship, take time to get into the Scriptures and write down the guidelines that ought to surround the relationship.”  Good advice!  I would add to that, Pray, then pray some more. 

Of Knights and FairMaidens in my opinion offers a very idealistic view of courting within a healthy Christian environment.  However, there are many Christian couples whose families don’t have Christian backgrounds. In such cases spending time with family in the courtship process may not be an option.  Family may not offer support if relations are strained or unhealthy (i.e. drug dependence, step family tensions, etc.).  The Myers do offer advice for developing mentor relationships.  Although they say mentors should not take the place of the parental relationship, in real life this may be the only alternative. 

The Myers committed to their courtship without love being a part of the picture.  They feel as though emotions are less reliable than a character assessment.  I agree that our emotions should not rule our intentions to marry but they should be part of the equation in light of the character, goals, etc. 

They end the book by saying “Ultimately, courtship is a change of attitude toward relationships.  The courtship attitude not only alters the way you look for a spouse; it changes the way you treat members of the opposite sex.”  I agree.  This is true whether courting or dating.  Dating doesn’t have to be self-seeking, pleasure-seeking, or characterized by an attitude of emotional and physical gratification as suggested by the Myers.  I don’t agree that dating has to be that at all. 

I believe the big picture is how we govern ourselves in relationships with others.  We should have boundaries that are scripturally based and Holy Spirit led.  There isn’t a one size fits all approach in this area of relationships.  This book offers a lot of great advice that one can incorporate in their approach to relationships no matter what you call it.

See what my other "crew mates" thought of Grace & Truth Books here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


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