Saturday, July 16, 2005

Dear Miss Modesty
Dear Miss Modesty,

I've seen your past letters and am very impressed with your ability to discern the heart of a problem even when hearing only one side of the story, in very few words, from someone you've never met. I hope you can help me.

For the past five months, I've been courted by a young man of excellent and Godly character. I'll call him "Joel." My parents approve of him highly. Since Joel lives across the country, we haven't been in one another's company very much, but when he visits, we discuss our weaknesses and expectations. I've grown to enjoy his letters to me, which we read as a family after supper.

A week ago, Joel and my dad discerned that the time had come to initiate the steps toward marriage. He proposed to me on my birthday, surrounded by my family, and I accepted his offer with gratitude. But one thing went wrong, and that's why I'm writing to you.

When I said "surrounded by my family," I unfortunately cannot include my father. Being an ER doctor, my father was called to the hospital only ten minutes before Joel planned to propose. Because Joel was already wrapped up in the big box that my brothers delivered to my feet, he decided to go ahead with the proposal without my father there.

This decision was a wrong choice, it turns out. My father was very displeased to find us engaged. Joel explained that he assumed he had my father's blessing already. But my father says that I am still under his authority, and that the engagement is not valid since he was not present. My mother pointed out that our selfishness robbed my father of the great blessing of seeing his daughter become engaged. Right now, Joel is still in town but can't come to see me unless he admits that we are not engaged; and possibly allowing bitterness to take root, Joel hasn't submitted yet.

So now I'm confused. I don't know if I'm engaged or not, so I don't know whether I'm able to fall in love with Joel yet. Please help me!


Dear Unengaged,

From your letter, I am tempted to think that your father may have overstated his case. Many Godly marriages began between the couple in private, and are perfectly valid. However, it is not your place -- or Joel's -- to correct your father. Leave that to God!

You did not mention whether you attempted an appeal to your father. If your appeal is rejected, you can accept it joyfully as an important lesson about submission before you get married. Another blessing you gain is the opportunity to suggest a creative alternative. Have you considered re-gathering the family, possibly after your father's favorite dinner, and letting Joel re-propose?

If Joel refuses to accept this solution, perhaps God is indicating that Joel is not His best for you, but merely a decoy of Satan's to bring you to ruin. By staying under your parents' authority, you can be protected from this possible danger. Until then, by no means should you commit "emotional adultery" and give your heart to this young man.

-- Miss Modesty


Anonymous Unvoiced said...

I'm so glad for people such as Miss Modesty. Where would we be without such wisdom? Most definatly we wouldnt want this girl committing emotional audutlry?

Like I mean Joel should've totally understood the importance of being under her father. After all aren't guys suppossed to court and win the heart of the fathers?

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the "emotional adultery" isn't an entirely fair shot at ATI. Jonathan Lindvall is the one who thinks that a woman is somehow lesser quality if she's fallen in love with anyone before she's married to him. Even, mind you, if she was engaged to him and he broke the engagement!

I don't remember ATI presenting premarital attraction in quite as strict terms. Certainly you weren't supposed to become emotionally attached while single, but I think ATI allowed for the indulgence of evil earthly appetites (i.e. emotional affection) during courtship and engagement.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a "decoy of Satan's" *GRIN* You're hilarious!!!!

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"enjoy his letters to me, which we read as a family" :) ha ha ha ha!!!!

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Win the hearts of the fathers" -- in that first posted comment, that was pretty good... yep... that's how it is....

6:53 PM  
Blogger Lisalia said...

That was depressing. I remember being manipulated into feelings of guilt with that same crap. I still believe that courtship is a conspiracy designed to keep you single and paying to work.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what if .. the father ok'd the courtship, but then demanded it be broken off once they wanted to get engaged? that happened to a nice little ATI girl from a perfect ATI family recently. she eloped.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Shiphrah said...

Aww, let's not be so hard on courtship itself...I've been having a great experience with it myself. It's when parents abuse the ideal to exercise some kind of obsessive control over their children that it gets problematic. Courtship works great with four parents laid back enough to allow their two children to make decisions on their own. My "pre-fiance" (as his sisters like to call him) obtained the blessing of all four parents when beginning the courtship, but the rest has been up to us. Courtship implies remaining under the parents' authority, but it doesn't necessarily allow the parents dictatorial powers.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh.

After I picked myself up from the floor where I lay laughing my face off . . . well, then I wanted to cry. A lot of nasty things have been done to some very good young people . . . yuck.


1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Vegan Hunter said...

Anonymous #1 makes an interesting point. There was a lot of talk of arranged marriage and matching spiritual gifts while we were still in ATI, but a few years later my parents got into Lindvall and Jeff Barth, and that really spiced things up.

I knew that attending a secular university "tainted" me beyond marriageability to a "godly" man. My parents took this a step further: they found me uneligible even for ungodly men. When I was 25 and engaged to marry someone my father didn't even consider Christian, my father suggested that my fiance marry my much-more-compliant 17-year-old sister instead. This definitely squicked out said fiance and eliminated most of the tentative respect he'd reserved for my father.

I need to write to Miss Modesty to ask whose authority I should be under now that I'm divorcing. You can bet your biblical bloomers I'd choose my ex any day.

1:12 PM  

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