Reviews - What do customers think about 5 Paths to the Love of Your Life: Defining Your Dating Style?
Have you defined your dating style? Jun 24, 2006
5 Paths to the Love of Your Life: Defining Your Dating Style says, "Our goal is not to proselytize you to any particular position but instead to provide the big picture: the logic behind five of the most widespread perspectives on relationships held by Christians today (some more controversial than others, depending upon your personal point of view). That way, you can make your own biblically informed decisions, being fully educated and, Lord willing, more mature and intentional about the way you approach relationships."
I cannot extol the chapter written by Lauren F. Winner enough! Readers should purchase her book Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity as a complement to Defining Your Dating Style. Winners' perspective on dating, which has been dubbed the Countercultural Path, is the viewpoint that most readers will probably find best attuned to the realities of the current dating scene without being so contemporary as to be barely Christian.
The Betrothal Path, advocated by Jonathan Lindvall, might be better termed as The Arranged Marriage Path because that is exactly what he is advocating: arranged marriage. Lindvall is in favor of a dating style that is unworkable in all but a few situations and even he seems to be a bit hazy on all of the details concerning how the Betrothal Path would work under all circumstances.
All 5 paths are clearly defined and at the end of each chapter a section is highlighted that clearly defines the "path" that was just covered, what makes the path distinctive from the others, key verses of scripture that seem to lend biblical credence to the dating style, and finally, the benefits and pitfalls that one is likely to encounter in putting the dating style into practice.
5 Unique Viewpoints Dec 16, 2005
I believe it was in a Tom Clancy book I read many, many years ago where I found a statement that daughters are given by God to punish men for what they did, said and thought when they were young men. Obviously I know that is purely the imagined theology of a writer, yet I do think that having a daughter causes a man to take a look deep within himself. Every man instinctively feels the need to protect his daughters. For some reason men do not feel as deep a desire to protect their sons. Just yesterday I received a Christmas Newsletter from a family friend. He wrote about a young man who has shown interest in his daughter and will soon be coming to spend time with the family. "[He] is quite a gentleman but just in case, when he comes I intend to be cleaning my .45-caliber pistol. I also told him that if he ever touches my daughter I have no problem at all with going back to prison."
Sure he is writing tongue-in-cheek but there is a definite truth behind the humor: men desire to protect their daughters and are probably far more protective of the purity of their daughters than they were of women with whom they related in their younger days.
As with all parents, Aileen and I have sometimes paused to think about our daughter's future. We truly hope that in due time she meets a godly young man who will treat her like the princess she is. When we consider her future we simply cannot picture her, at age sixteen, heading off for an evening out with a young gentleman caller and just expecting him to bring her back sometime long after we have gone to bed. How could I let her out of my sight with a guy who, well, may just have motives for her that are consistent with the motives of most young men? At the same time, I don't feel that every good dad involves the parents!
And so, when I gaze into the future, I wonder how my children will begin a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. In Christian circles there is no end of controversy about the best way of doing this. While most believers agree on the necessity of maintaining sexual purity and of every young person submitting his or her life to the Lord, opinions differ on whether kids should date, court or even be betrothed. 5 Paths To The Love Of Your Life, edited by Alex Chediak, addresses five of these philosophies. Five authors contribute a chapter outlining what they feel is a biblical method of finding a potential spouse.
Chapter 1 - The Countercultural Path: Lauren Winner begins by tracing the evolution of dating and relationships in American culture. She shows how dating changed from being centered around the woman's home and family to heading outside the home to theatres and restaurants. In this transition the "power" in relationships passed from the woman to the man. In modern times dating has returned to the home in the form of casual sexual encounters. She proposes that Christians adopt a countercultural path which emphasizes chastity, love and marriage. She emphasizes the importance of community in relationships. She feels that dating should be done with a view to marriage but that breaking up is not necessarily improper.
Chapter 2 - The Courtship Path: Douglas Wilson, in a very funny essay, proposes that courtship is the most biblical solution. He stresses the importance of parental responsibility and guidance and defines courtship as "the active, involved authority of the young woman's father (or head of the household) in the formation of her romantic attachments leading to marriage." When parents are unavailable or unsuited for the task, the couple should appeal to the church authorities for guidance. During the early stages of a relationship there should be no physical contact and contact after engagement should be limited to minor physical contact. Wilson emphasizes the importance of a lifelong committment of a father to his daughter so that he has credibility in her eyes when he has to make difficult decisions regarding her potential marriage partner. He distances his model from the type espoused by fathers who are overbearing and care more for rules and control than for the well-being of their daughters. It seemed to me that this view presents courtship at its best and at its least-offensive.
Chapter 3 - The Guided Path: Rick Holland suggests a guided path in which couples are guided by ten principles of a God-centered relationship. He feels that young couples should be guided by their parents and ultimately by the Scriptures as they seek to honor God in their relationships. The principles he lays out are more important than the methodology a couple adopts. While this allows either courtship or dating, he is sure to emphasize that casual dating is not acceptable, and neither is dating done before a couple is old enough to actually think about marriage.
Chapter 4 - The Betrothal Path: - Jonathan Lindvall proposes what is easily the least-familiar path. Betrothal, he feels, is a biblical mandate given by God and mirrored in Christ's relationship to the church. He feels that an irrevocable covenant union must be established that defines the process between singleness and marriage. I found that his method relies quite heavily on the leading, guiding and confirming of the Lord wherein we have to ask direction from the Lord and so on. Most people will immediately reject his proposal and perhaps for good reason as I am not sure he proves that the betrothal's of biblical times were more than a cultural mandate. Having said that, it does provide some valuable fruit for thought.
Chapter 5 - The Purposeful Path: - Jeramy and Jerusha Clark argue for a purposeful path which is far less-structured than any of the others. They refer often to other books they have written on this subject and propose that young couples ensure that, while they are not turning down opportunities to enjoy the company of the opposite sex, they are also not engaging in practices that Scripture forbids. As with the other authors, they emphasize the important of parental involvement and support.
Having read these five approaches I feel that my preference for my children would lie somewhere in the first three chapters. I am already seeking to build a strong, vibrant relationship with my children so that I will have some measure of credibility in their eyes if and when I am forced to make difficult decisions on their behalf. I don't know that there is a "one size fits all" approach to relationships that will work with every couple and I am open to allowing and even encouraging flexibility in how they engage in romantic relationships.
I was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed reading this book. It is too late for me to apply the collective wisdom in this book to my own life, but I trust it will give me much material for reflection as my children get to the age where they begin to believe the opposite sex to be something a little less than yucky. Just the other day my daughter confided in me that she would like to get married some day, but doesn't feel she can because she would have to kiss a boy on the lips. I know that, before too long, she will have a change of heart.
I recommend this book to parents and young people alike and trust that it will benefit all who read it.
Engaging and thought-provoking Oct 7, 2005
When I read the introduction to this book, I found myself wanting to read on and discover what each of the five contributors had to say. Chediak sets up the contents nicely and in an engaging way. He puts forth three scenarios that help bring the various principles and methods espoused by each contributor more sharply into focus.
I'm guessing most readers, like me, will find themselves aligning closely with one or more contributors, while finding others less convincing. I noticed that some of the user reviews were critical of what they saw to be "weaker" vs. "stronger" essays. But to me, that is the point of this book. It forces the reader to think through his opinions and presuppositions. For me, reading this book was much like being invited to facilitate a panel discussion with five people who have much experience in counseling others on this topic. I get the privilege of hearing opposing views and being able to compare and contrast them in a concise format. Chediak also helps to bring this comparison together nicely in the concluding chapter.
For the Christian reader, the book aids in some healthy examination of potentially unexamined ideas. I am forced to ask myself whether my ideas about dating, courtship, etc. are based on biblical principles or not. I found this a healthy process, and as a father of four, I think it will be a valuable resource in guiding my children through their eventual close relationships with potential spouses. I found the book a worthwhile read that lends itself easily to good discussions.
Great Resource for Thinking About Dating Oct 5, 2005
This book is a great way to learn quickly about 5 different approaches to relationships, ranging from betrothal to courtship to dating. The authors write well, and the range of styles makes it a fun read.
The book raises important issues: guy/girl friendships, emotional vs. physical intimacy, guarding your heart, how to view singleness, what to look for in a potential spouse, physical attraction, parental involvement, etc. When I finished I didn't have a clear sense which path I want to follow, but I felt that I got a lot of solid, Biblical teaching about how to think about marriage and relationships.
I appreciated the way Chediak asked each author to address three different scenarios: teenagers in youth group, college students, and a single 30-something woman. I'm a college student myself, but hearing the authors' advice to other age groups made me think more about parental involvement and long-term singleness.
All in all, a great read!
Some essays brilliant, others shockingly bad Oct 5, 2005
I don't know exactly how to assign this book a number of stars. The book is a collection of five essays about dating and each of the essays takes a very different stand. Lauren Winner's essay is brilliant, and I think people should buy this book just so they can read it -- she manages to both set out a beautiful view of marriage and remind readers that some people are called to singleness... (I also love how she uses literature in her essay! She describes a novel by Tova Mirvis that I now want to read!) Jerusha and Jeremy Clark's essay is also sane and balanced. But several of the other essays--honestly, they seem like they were written for a very small constituency of very, very, very conservative Chrisitans who live in an air-tight Christian bubble and have no contact with the wider world. I am a Christian myself, and I am glad that all of these essays affirm the authority of Scripture. But the perspective that some of the contibutors are taking just doesn't fit with the world most of us single/dating Christians live in. Many of us cannot, for example, have our parents deeply involved in our dating lives because we live nowhere near our parents, or our parents aren't believers and really have a very different view of marriage.
So, the book does what it advertises: it offers five very different perspectives. Some of the perspetives ring true, and others do not.