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Of course that then leads to the question of just For a lot of men, the anxiety surrounding their dating inexperience can be overwhelming.

But the idea that I can defraud just by a look, that I could become emotionally impure just by a thought, that I might become damaged goods with pieces of my heart strewn all over creation, and that guys “have only one thing on their minds” and we need to help them control themselves, has truly negatively affected what should be normal interactions with my friends. In the real world, men and women can have innocent relationships.

When you write a dating advice column, one of the inevitable questions that comes up is the idea of inexperience.

All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site.

Two weeks after the publication of this article, Darcy wrote some follow-up thoughts. EDITOR NOTE: If you are a reader who is unfamiliar with the specific courtship teachings of Bill Gothard and IBLP (the perspective from which Darcy writes), you can find more articles by clicking here.

Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.

” My second reaction, close on the heels of the first, would be a coping mechanism that I learned long ago: I calmly tell myself, “This is perfectly normal and innocent. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.

It somehow validates my belief that some of the teachings I grew up with were very wrong. I rejected the teachings of courtship and emotional purity when I was 19. In fact, I have identified several ways that these teachings can damage a person’s heart. Shame because that’s “sinful” and “emotionally impure.” Shame because it sets a standard and proclaims that you are somehow shameful if you cannot keep it. Because your heart is whole and she just gave a piece of hers to a guy she isn’t married to. You have more to give your future husband than she does. This has nothing to do with the righteousness and grace of God, and everything to do with the accomplishments of man. I was trying to explain this to my friend, and it came out sounding so .

Lately, I’ve also started facing the ways in which the teachings of “emotional purity,” (a la Josh Harris, the Ludys, and others) have damaged the part of my brain that makes healthy relationships function. You are considered damaged goods if you have fallen in love and had your heart broken. I remember watching a video in which one of the biggest names in the courtship movement bragged with obvious arrogance that he didn’t tell his wife he loved her until their wedding. We took something as simple as saying ‘I love you,’ built a straw man rule around it (‘saying I love you is defrauding’), then hung it like a trophy on our walls.” Job well done, folks. They create skewed views of relationships which lead to dysfunction. Where others see nothing wrong, I am suspicious of every look, every situation, every witty exchange. I feel ill at ease sometimes even talking to other men. I’m really good at pushing those feelings away and acting “normal.” But I am bothered by my reaction to everyday situations.

Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.

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