Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship. Joshua Harris. Multnomah Publishers Inc., 2000.
In the scope of my other blog, Joshua Harris’ work “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (IKDG) came up, in terms of the infection that book and its teachings have brought onto the dating world. It has had enough of an effect that numerous references were made throughout the blog, culminating with a review on that book (Rating: 4 out of 10) and three posts relating to the content and the implications of it upon those who are following it. Encountering this book seemed to be a natural fit, as it will serve to both chronicle more of Josh Harris’ views reflected through his courtship with his (now) wife as well as indicate if he has learned anything.
Harris begins by summarizing IKDG and downplaying the dating/courtship rigidity he created within his first book, calling it a “debate over terms”. He then describes that romance requires more wisdom than “intense feelings”. The author then discusses God’s guidance in view of finding “The One”, growing a relationship while guarding one’s heart (same as IKDG), communicating well, traditional gender roles, involving family and the church in the relationship, retaining sexual purity, confessing past sexual sin, engagement, and continuing in marriage in light of eternity.
Harris presents a number of enlightening treatises if presented in isolation, most notably on finding forgiveness and seeking God’s guidance. However, he presents a vision of courtship very much consistent with IKDG, while molding it into his own experience.
Especially interesting are his admissions that he neglected to follow his own advice regarding his (now) wife in simply asking her out on a date, his motivations were physical, and that he ended up courting a widely experienced woman who fits all the typical tropes (He manned up and married…you know the rest). Other examples the author provides, including his own, reinforce a diversion from IKDG as well. Courtship problems are demonstrated by two of his poster couples subsequently divorcing soon after publication (and the hypocrisy of editing their stories out of subsequent releases).
Through most of the book, Harris fills the book with a huge amount of fluff and little value in the actual intended topics – fully expected when even Harris “never meant to become an expert on relationships” (p19). Furthermore, Harris embraces the typical traditional feminist tropes, including acceptance of fornication, divorce and remarriage, and blaming those things upon men instead of the women partaking in them.
All told, this book represents a defensive rewashing of IKDG, reinforcing the same errors with a hypocritical tone, and adding little valuable when it comes to dealing with a relationship. While a much better written and entertaining effort than IKDG, the fundamental problems represented by courtship remain, namely the backdrop of the idea of “God’s The One” and emotional intimacy. When even the author himself admits that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, it is wise to steer clear of taking any prescriptions he makes seriously. As described in the previous posts, books by Drs. Cloud and Townsend would be far better choices.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
Book Cover Image Source: Wikipedia