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Harris emphasizes that the problem of dating is not solved by “dating right.” In “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” Harris reiterates that dating itself is “an approach to relationships that wants to go in a different direction than the one God has for us.” Nor can Christians redeem the process: “the boyfriend/girlfriend exclusiveness of the dating system is based on a self-seeking, pleasure-seeking attitude toward relationships,” Harris warns in “Dating Problems.” Far from trying to rescue dating from our human selfishness, Harris advocates courtship as promoting the right attitude and approach to relationships.
Harris has invited other readers to share their stories through his website as he rereads his books and reconsiders his arguments.
It would be easy to dismiss Harris’s fretting as merely advice that preteens, teenagers, or immature people should avoid dating until they mature.
But his writings do not support this interpretation.
He touches briefly on friendship, only because it is the prelude to courtship.
The basis of friendship is “mutual interest” and a desire to enjoy those commonalities together.
Church and family are the “real life settings” where “we’re much more likely to see who a person really is.” “Though courtship has a serious intent,” Harris writes in “Boy Meets Girl,” “it can be low-pressure and casual when it begins.” (This characterization is unpersuasive considering how involved families and the church community are in the courtship process.) Fathers in particular have a deep role in courtship in Harris’s framework. When a man wants to pursue a woman in courtship, he should first ask her father for permission to court.