I'm up late because I can't sleep--dreading the surgery I guess. And when I can't sleep I read. So I grabbed "The Duggars: 20 and Counting" looking for some inspiration and I got as far as reading about their first date. I almost teared up when Michelle stood on her front porch praying that if Jim Bob isn't what G-d wants for her, she can't imagine what G-d does want--where Jim Bob stood a year previous asking the same thing about her. How can that not bring a tear to your eye?
Approaching how you're going to find your mate is a leap of faith, and in the Duggars case faith really is the key word. Josh really did take faith literally and left it up to G-d to help him find his future partner and so did Anna and G-d led them to one another. Both Jim Bob and Michelle have taught their kids that there is a person out there for them, waiting, and they just need to be patient. Patience isn't always easy to be and that's what some people forget to be in this day and age. Without being judgemental or stepping on toes (I'll admit to a slutty period between my 2nd divorce and 3rd marriage so hey, I'm not being holier than thou here) I think what the Duggars are trying to point out is that if you do try to wait, you can really find Mr. or Mrs. Right without going through a bunch of Mr. and Mrs. Wrongs.
I won't slam dating. Dating does have its benefits to a degree. I think that there are ways boys and girls can get to know one another and at least see if they are compatible enough to consider if a next step is even necessary without official "dating." That can happen in group dates--those are safe and harmless with chaperones. I think the Duggars do that as families and they probably do that with the girls and boys and friends from their church. It probably happened with the Bates were visiting. Things like broomball, ice-skating, picnics, trips to that arcade/bumpercar palace, etc. Your heart is still "protected" as Michelle would say, but you can still see what's out there and find what G-d has planned for you. There is also the ATI conference where Josh met Anna.
I will say that the Duggars have brought courting into the new century. I don't think they've won over a lot of fans, but I don't think it's that bad of an idea either. I do think that with some combination courting/dating, some conservative families might be able to work out some compromises with their kids. While I thought the "first kiss" was sweet for the TV show, it was, ok I'll say it, lame. I'm sorry, but the hand-holding they were doing was so over-the-top sexual, it was far more intimate than any wedding kiss I've seen. It was a sweet gesture, but misguided considering the petting that was going on.
I also think that courting is fine as long as the choice of the mate is up to the courter and courtee. Choosing your child's mate is a little too old-fashioned for me and a little too old-world. Of course some people still do it and that's fine--I actually have a Hindi friend in the UK who went that route and is perfectly happy with the bride his mom chose--but again--he CHOSE to have his mom choose. I'm told that in the Chassidic world the parents choose a few different mates and then the boys/girls choose from the pool, or something like that. I guess they have to approve of the family first.
I still like love being involved. I'm tired of the constant chatter on blogs that Jim Bob is just waiting to choose his daughters' husbands--I just don't buy that at all. Afterall, Jim Bob and Michelle were a definate love match and their kids deserve nothing less.