“This is so messed up,” And Other Kind Words From An Anonymous Person

I received the following quote on my post, “How To Be Emotionally Pure In Courtship,

 “Hmmm. Maybe we should just have our pastor or parents pick out our “good match” spouses. That would make it a whole lot easier for everyone. *whew* besides we will just learn to love them later right? As long as they are a good match nothing else matters right? 🙂 Wow, this is so messed up I’m appalled, I’m very sad that people still think that this thinking is ok. The only girl I know that went through this “perfect” scenario, and married her “godly” husband is the most miserable girl I know. You can “learn to love” someone, but I think that God factored in attraction for a reason…. Or wait is attraction a product of the fall? I can’t remember anymore… im sure you have never experienced a real “courtship”/relationship. :/ this is exactly the thinking that pretty much ruined my poor brother and his wife’s life…. Thankfully though they persevered and are married and boy am I glad that the religious nut with this thinking wasn’t able to ruin their marriage.”

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I normally wouldn’t spend so much time replying to such an uncivil post, but I get quite a few, so I feel a need to explain how such comments make me feel so that my critics might change their tactics…though I rather doubt they will.
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What really frustrates me about comments such as the above, is that this person could be right. Perhaps they have a legitimate objection to something I wrote, or maybe I need to clarify something…but their comment is so unhelpful, I can’t be sure what she is even referring to. 
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“Wow, this is so messed up,” she says. What is messed up? That parents should pick our spouses for us? Okay, maybe, but I didn’t say that in my post. But even if I did say that, how is it messed up? She doesn’t give any reasoning, but instead just throws out an unsupported statement. Does she expect me to take her at her word? Does she want me to listen to her with a blind faith? Is she a deity? If she wants to help me see things the way she does, then I need some reasoning. But, maybe this isn’t what she is saying is messed up.
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Is it messed up that I argue being a good match should be the major determining factor when it comes to whether or not you should marry someone? Okay…how is that messed up? Surely she is not saying we should marry people we are not a good match with. Maybe she doesn’t understand what I mean by a “good match?” Maybe she thinks what I mean by “good match” consists of merely having the same beliefs or something? (which I don’t believe). It’s really hard to tell from such a comment.
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I believe this commenter, hiding behind the alias “Wynd”, doesn’t really want to help me. If she did want to help me, she would have followed the rules of civil debate. She lobs ad hominem attacks at me, inaccurately claims to have intimate knowledge of my personal life, says that I don’t have experience, and intentionally ignores large portions of my post.

She also admits that she herself has very limited experience, (while at the same time criticizing my experience credentials). She says that she has only seen one courtship similar to what I describe (though I doubt it was similar to what I describe, since she has already been so dishonest in her interpretation of my post). One test is not enough to prove something. If you were running a scientific experiment, and you tried to say you proved something based on one trial run, you would be kicked out of the scientific community.

What is more, Wynd doesn’t have the same experiences I do. Therefore, by her experience logic, she doesn’t have a right to comment on my experiences and tell me I’m wrong. 
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However, the truth is you don’t always need experience in order to make a logical argument. Reasoning beats emotions when it comes to making an argument. If she had made an argument, I wouldn’t have discounted it based on her lack of experience. Perhaps her argument is flawed because of her lack of experience (perhaps my arguments are flawed for the same reason) but I would have to show—with reasoning and logic—how her argument is flawed.  

Likewise, if she wants to show how my apparent lack of experience is impairing my judgment, she should make her case, rather than just throwing out an ad hominem attack. Lacking experience doesn’t discount an argument; to say so is to make a logical fallacy.  I have never broken an arm, but I know people who have broken their arms, and I can research broken arms to the point where, even though I have never broken an arm, I should be able to say with authority, that it is not good to break your arm. It’s pretty ridiculous when people claim to hold a monopoly on knowledge because of their few isolated personal experiences. I have experiences too, and they are different from Wynd’s.  
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Wynd also reveals that she either didn’t read my whole post, or she chose to intentionally ignore what I said. She says sarcastically, “God factored in attraction for a reason… Or wait is attraction a product of the fall? I can’t remember anymore…”
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I never said attraction was part of the fall. She must have forgotten where say this in my post, “You definitely should be attracted to the other person.” Whoa? Did I really say that? Yes I did, and I say in other posts in my series on purity that attraction is not a bad thing. Here is the full quote:
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“You definitely should be attracted to the other person, and have a great deal of admiration and respect for them. You also should enjoy their company, and have a good understanding of how you would be a good match, but the “feelings” are not necessary, in fact, it’s better to leave them out.

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 You can be attracted to someone, but all I’m saying is that you shouldn’t take that attraction and run away with it, or let it control you. In other words, don’t date and call it courtship. I think any reasonable person should understand this is what I’m saying in my post if they read my post with the intention of trying to understand, rather than finding a weakness to exploit. In this case, Wynd fabricated a weakness. 
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She also seems to have ignored all the times I say that details will change depending on the people involved and their individual circumstances. All of this combined tells me that Wynd doesn’t want to help me see the truth (if it is the truth) she only wants to attack. She ignored where I say “there is no formula”, and that attraction is good and necessary, because such statements don’t fit with her agenda. She wanted to say what she wanted to say, regardless of its relevance.
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As a result, I can’t really respond to her comment. She doesn’t provide any arguments against anything I said. She only wants to build a straw man and knock it down with sarcasm. I like satire, but in order for it to be good satire, it actually has to critique something someone actually believes. In any case, sarcasm is very unhelpful when it comes to having a civil discussion.
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However, the most intriguing part of Wynd’s comment was where she suggested, sarcastically, that perhaps we should have our parents pick our spouses. She is correct that this would make things a whole lot easier. Personally, I don’t think I would mind if my parents picked a spouse for me. I trust my parents. That being said, that is not what I would prefer, and I don’t think that’s the best way to go.
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But, I could be wrong. Perhaps someone could provide some civil arguments for how arranged marriage is the best way to go, and if I see how I’m wrong, I’ll change my views. Likewise, if someone could provide some well-thought-out and civil arguments for how dating is actually the best method, and if I can see how these arguments are true, then I will change my views. Strangely, the only “arguments” people have thrown at me against courtship and in favor of dating have been similar to, or worse than, Wynd’s. Such arguments are always full of emotion and condescension, talking down to me because I must be so stupid to not see things the way they do. This happens so frequently from dating advocates that I’m starting to believe they actually don’t have any good arguments, and have to resort to fear mongering and discrediting others.   
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But, hey, maybe they’re right. Maybe I am stupid and I’m missing something obvious. The problem is I’m not going to see it when those trying to convince me throw it at me as an attack. If a student is struggling with a math problem and needs help, you don’t laugh in their face and say, “How do you not know that?” You don’t mock them, you don’t say, “Oh, wow. You really thought that was how you find the circumference of a circle?” Or at least, you don’t say those things unless you are trying be cruel and unhelpful. If you want to help someone, you calmly, and with understanding, explain how it’s done. “That used to trip me up too,” you might say, if it’s true. Merely attacking instead of trying to help, isn’t going to convince people to change their views.
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So for future reference, if you criticize this post (or any of my posts) in an uncivil manner, I’m going to interpret your comment as mere hostility and closed-mindedness. I welcome disagreement. I certainly don’t know everything, and I could definitely be wrong about some of the things I write about. This is a personal blog. I’m simply giving my views which I have formed from my experiences, reasoning, people I’ve encountered, and the books I’ve read. However, I only welcome mature and intelligent disagreement. Not barbaric personal assaults.   
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Back to Wynd’s enlightening comment that perhaps parents picking spouses would be best. “Arranged Marriage,” as some would call it. I think she might be on to something, and I’ll explore this in an upcoming post.
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Click here for, “Even Arranged Marriage Is Better Than Dating

11 Comments

  1. Glad you wrote this post. Unintelligent disagreement often comes from people who are offended and write a quick response without researching the facts, which doesn't help anyone. If people are willing to and can learn to discuss topics from an academic standpoint they can have great conversations with people whose beliefs are a world away from their own.

  2. Hello! I found you via the Modest Mom Monday linkup. You make some very good points. I see so often people immediately telling my why I'm wrong. Rather than tell me why I'm wrong, find some common ground and then convince me you're right. It is more civil, respectful, and much more likely to get someone to sympathize with your side than being a closed-minded jerk. When people go the “you're wrong” route it makes me want to respond more to their debate style than to their argument. (But hey, I guess that can give me a double-edged sword in rebuttal!) 🙂

  3. Loved this 🙂 But you have to know–that commenter wasn't looking to learn more or to have an honest discussion and dialogue about the pros and cons. They were out to attack and express their very emotional opinion. It's the Internet, you'll have that (unfortunately). You just keep doing what you are doing. Like Taylor Swift says “Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate….” (Yes, I totally just quoted Taylor Swift there, lol)

  4. Hey Reagan, I wholeheartedly agree with you that arranged marriage is not the way to go. Allow me to share my reasons why, but in order to do so I would like to explain an issue I have with particular statement you wrote in a comment on the “I Kissed Courtship Goodbye” post. Particularly in your comment, you wrote on the topic of “arranged marriage” that, “Of course, this would only be feasible if the parents had a close relationship with their children, and were of the same mind. That way, whomever the parents choose, it's highly unlikely their child would disapprove–even if they do, they should be able to accept their parents' superior wisdom in the matter,”) This bothered me, since I know that too often it's the very fact that some young people think they should “accept their parents' superior wisdom in the matter,” that is the cause of many “semi-arranged” marriages. I have heard and read about too many dutiful girls who (suffering under the delusion that it was honoring their parents) married men whom their parents approved of, and pressured them to marry because “They (the parents) thought it was God's will.” These girls lived lives of misery with men they either didn't really love, weren't as “godly” as their parents thought, did pornography, etc. or were just downright nasties! Why? These girls did the right thing, and followed “God's will,” so why are they suffering? It isn't God's fault, and it isn't even so much the girls' fault, but is the fault of their parents for thinking they ultimately knew best when it came to their daughters' marriage. Honoring your parents, especially for an adult, means respecting, and listening to your parents counsel, but you make the final call. You are responsible for the decisions you make, and it is up to you to find out whether it is “God's will” or not. If you are an adult you no longer have to obey your parents, since you are no longer a child, but you are supposed to honor them. These girls misunderstood the meaning of honor, and felt they had to obey or “accept” their “parents will.” (Not always the same as God's will) Now these weren't even strictly “arranged marriages,” but it seems to me that since they accepted their parents “superior wisdom” in the matter, and married the suitors their parents chose, (technically speaking) they weren't very different after all. The main issue with “arranged marriage” is that even if parents are “of the same mind” they aren't always of the same taste, or discernment. I've read stories about parents who pointed out potential spouses to their children with no success. (Bear in mind, they were godly and good potential spouses, but their children just didn't share their parents' taste) Their children went on to choose, and marry people their parents wouldn't have chosen themselves, (They were godly and good also, just not to the parents' taste) but were the “right ones.” They now see how well their children chose, and how they couldn't possibly have chosen for them. This is why I truly don't believe Reagan, that the “arranged” or “complete stranger” method would likely be successful, or beautiful. As for the pressure of courtship, yes, it's not always easy, but I also think it is necessary to teach the couple valuable lessons about themselves and each other, while building a foundation (in respect and trust) that will be a down payment on healthy marriage. Just some thoughts, but my main point is that “parent's superior wisdom” in the matter of marriage can be disastrous when the parties in question merely “accept” it. Perhaps there are exceptions, and I would be willing to read some success stories, but as exceptions, not as a rule.

  5. Good thoughts Mallory. However, I do want to point out that arranged marriages, work more often than marriages entered into through dating. I actually have a post going up tomorrow giving some defense of arranged marriage.

    Arranged marriage has been around for a long time, and has worked for a long time. Would I want to go this route? No, but it can work, and it can be God honoring and loving, whereas dating is not.

    I know people who have gotten married as a result of arranged marriage and they have a great marriage. I don't think it would be wise to arrange a marriage with a complete stranger though, however, those do happen and work out. Forced marriage is certainly never good or right, but arranged marriages can and do work. That's all I'm trying to say.

    Certainly, I think most of the time courtship should be the way to go, but sometimes, maybe a betrothal would be better because the young man and women already know they are compatible and want to get married. No need for courtship. Or maybe there are some other circumstances involved, and an arranged marriage might be the best route. I don't think we can say that there is only one right way to get married.

    So long as the relationship follows the Biblical principles of loving God and loving our neighbor, it is right…but people are also flawed, so following the right model doesn't necessarily promise the desired result either. There is no formula.

  6. Thanks Reagan, I look forward to reading your post! What I've learned about arranged marriages, at least in modern day culture, wasn't good, but perhaps there is a method to it that I am unfamiliar with. It sounds like maybe there is, so again, I look forward to your post. I will be glad if I am mistaken. People can be mistaken on a great many things, including courtship and betrothal, which is why I appreciate your posts on the topics so much. I agree with you that there is no formula. Not really. It is different for everyone depending on their backgrounds and situations. I always thought I would do something rather between courtship and betrothal, but I won't go into detail, because that would make for another embarrassingly long (sorry about that,) comment! (But I don't know what my situation will be like, and my courtship (or whatever you want to label it) will have to be customized accordingly. (I might never get married at all, and happily write books and rubbishy poetry to the end of my days that no one will ever read but me;) Seriously though, I love the Lord, and don't need to get married to find fulfillment, because I know the Living Water is the only true source of it. (I might have read your post on Singleness;)

  7. Yes, that is definitely true, but I have some acquaintances who will make similar comments about my posts, and then claim that they are only trying to have a discussion. Not so. Like you said, they're out to attack, and that Taylor Swift quote is quite fitting. Let's just not follow her dating strategy. Haha!

  8. Exactly. So many people just want to attack, and as a result, they're not change anyone's minds. In fact, they're only hurting their cause.

    Thanks for the comment!

  9. Hey, no need to apologize for intelligent comments, no matter how long. 🙂

    And also, all it takes to be a good writer is to write a lot. 😉

    And I was also thinking of revising my old post on preparing for singleness and reposting it.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  10. Disagreeing can be uncomfortable but that's how growth occurs. Logical and civil disagreement is imperative. It's respectful and allows people to be heard. Wynd's comment was somewhat confusing and I can see why to dedicated a post to addressing it as it seemed like an attack. Engaging in discussion does not “read” like that… if you ask me.

    Thanks for sharing and linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a blessed weekend.

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