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All throughout this introduction, an older, supposedly wiser Harris reflects in voiceover about the hubris of writing a guide to marriage and dating while having little to no practical knowledge of either.After receiving a tweet from a woman telling him that his book was “used against her like a weapon” he decides that it is time for him to travel the country (or at least make some Skype calls) to face his critics, hear about the damage that his advice might have caused, and learn about the broader effects that the culture of purity has on fundamentalist Christian youth.After all, according to this model, only those who approach the process with a faithful and subservient heart are rewarded with fulfilling relationships.Those who choose to rebel against God’s will and try to choose for themselves are punished for their selfishness with a life of loneliness.He has to wrestle with the complicated legacy of his book and how it has shaped his identity.Even the title of the damn movie succumbs to this narcissistic impulse. Or at least, those who didn’t survive it unscathed?
I recommend books like by Debra Fileta, which encourage healthy dating.In 1997, Harris wrote , a best-selling guide to the concept of courtship (an alternative to dating wherein “a man and a woman…seek to determine if it is God’s will for them to marry each other” rather than attempting to determine their romantic and sexual chemistry with one another) when he was only 21 years old.Here is an excerpt from his statement on the subject: While I stand by my book’s call to sincerely love others, my thinking has changed significantly in the past twenty years.I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided.
It seems strange to suddenly have an author withdraw his teachings like this. What, exactly, is wrong with Harris’s courtship model? Those of you who found your spouse using Harris’s approach, didn’t it work for you?