The first time that I heard of this book was at the 2006 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Alex and Brett Harris were blogging from the Film Academy and it is there that I found out about their book "Do Hard Things", and their brother Josh's book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". The book was put on my "to read someday" list and when I saw it at the second-hand store a few months ago for $2.00, I picked it up.
Of course I was reading other books at the time and preparing for the trip to Africa so I wasn't able to read all of it. I finally picked it back up this last week and was able to finish it. Harris does a wonderful job exposing the seven habits of highly defective dating and shows that the problem really lies in our motives - selfish, feeling governed love - and our motives are what need to change:
"In my view, if dating encourages us to wear the world's style of love, then dating needs to go. If dating causes us to practice selfish, feeling-governed love that's contrary to God's love, we must kiss dating goodbye. We must stop trying to fit God's ideas into the lifestyles society has defined for us and allow His values and attitudes to redefine the way we live." (pg. 70)
Harris then uses God's dictionary to define Love (1 Corinthians 13) and provides an alternative to dating - Principled Romance. This demonstrates a beautiful relationship within the confines of biblical love, which is defined as follows: "love is not for the fulfillment of self but for the good of others and the glory of God." (pg. 65) This truly is what God demonstrated when he gave his son as a sacrifice for the sins of man.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)
Another key theme in the book is that encourages young people to strive for a purposeful singleness. He asks this question: "Are you redeeming the time [of singleness], fulfilling those responsibilities God has given you today?" (pg. 170) This question made me check what my motives are as a single young man. Do they conform to virtue? Am I fulfilling the responsibilities as son and brother, learning to trust God as I prepare for marriage? This following statement from Harris is one that I think all young people should have as their motto.
"While single, I'm working to build godly character in my life and have the right attitudes." (pg. 200)
I only found one fault in this book and that is the choice of scripture quoted from lenient paraphrases such as The Message, the New Living Translation, and the New International Version. If every word of scripture is inspired by God, a paraphrased translation cannot justly bring light to the full meaning and deep richness of the text as it is found in the original language.
The choice of translation though does not diminish my highest recommendation that every young person read this book. It has a perfect message for this generation, who has lost sight of God's command of purity, faith, and selfless love.
- Dating is shown to be highly defective.
- Principled romance is provided as an alternative.
- Encourages true purity and purposeful singleness.
- Scripture quoted from lenient translations, e.g., MSG, NLT, NIV.
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