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Young fundies picking a spouse


YPestis

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In the spirit of St. Valentine's Day today, I thought it was appropriate to start a discussion on fundies' selection of mates. Are they too picky? Or not picky enough? And who thought this courtship stuff was great for the modern marriage?

The poster child(ren) of the picky fundie are the Botkins sisters. Those beautiful, intelligent and high profile girls who practically coined the term "fundie royalty". Yet, here they are, well into their twenties and still no suitor in sight. Are the two girls and/or their father are too picky?

Huge string of questions to answer, perhaps essays to write, and long talks with a daddy of some standing in the fundie world. Perhaps that's where the flaw lies. All these things are daunting for young men who just want a chance to TALK with the lady.

In the dating world, few guys will put that much effort in just to say 'hi' to a pretty face. I think these fundie girls suffer from the "Princess Syndrome". They believe themselves a speschul snowflake waiting to be plucked up by the perfect prince who will walk on fire to be in their presence. What a (slowly) rude awakening as they sit on their butts for years and years with no prince in sight.

You see, that's the problem with fundies who feel they are so different from the world and sooooo special. No one is good enough for them and all must go through trial by fire to be allowed entry!

At the other end of the spectrum, we see fundies who so want to be married that they will rush through the process. I thought the Joseph Maxwell and Elizabeth Muncks was a classic case of this. A sheltered girl impressed with the Maxwell name and a sheltered boy who found her attractive and Godly. It's not that either had low standards, but neither realized it takes time to get to know a person. For some fundies, if a prospective spouse fulfills the checklist of requirements, then it's time for the wedding.

Joseph and Elizabeth probably thought both looked good on paper. Submission. Check. Homeschooling. Check. Babies. Check. I can make conversation with the other person. Check. It's easy to see get criterias crossed off the list.

However, someone who looks "good" on paper, may not be right as a spouse. It takes time, and preferably time alone, to figure out a person. Sharing a love for God doesn't cover sports, church, TV, education. Elizabeth found this out as she got to know Joseph more. In these cases, I think the victims suffer from the "Sheltering Syndrome" where they are so sheltered that they make poor judgments like rushing into marriage because a girl/guy is "looks nice".

Whether the fundie is "too picky" or "not picky enough", I think the bigger problem is that fundies don't allow a normal relationship to take it's natural course. They are so terrified of "immoral behavior" that they create an unnatural courtship system. There's rarely mixing of genders, certainly no alone time. The process can be formal and sterile like handing out a list of questions or it could be hurried where three dates constitutes enough "getting to know you" time. It is just not organic.

None of this would be an issue if fundies didn't also hold on to a modern concept of what marriage is, which is to say, about love. The courtship system worked great back in the days when marriage was also a business transaction, and the vetting of potential spouses was about their family background and financial situation. Love was down on the list of Important Issues. Fundies liked that system, but still insisted that marriage is all about finding the One True Love. This type of incongruity can't hold up, can it?

That's why take on the fundie system of luuuurve. Any comments? Thoughts about fundie courtships, its failings, its idiosyncrasies, and which way fundie courtship systems will go in the future?

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I think that the rethinking of love based marriage is going to be a trend. That is why the blogs hit on the concept that marriage is not to make you happy, blah blah blah. One guy I know on a forum I go to has said that he thinks that ANY christian man and ANY christian woman could have a successful Christian marriage IF they followed the bible (ie, submission and love as your own body) he is a career military guy who sees marriage as husband has higher rank, wife lower rank, both recognize their roles and everyhting works out. He is bitter over something that happened while his daughter was dating/ in public school, but it is unclear what. He is very much of the opinion that love is all fineand good, but duty is key. -- and love may be over rated.

The whole one true love thing may fade out, and the dutiful marriage for breeding and for god may take its place in these groups.

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There's a clip on YouTube called "homeschool girl". It seems to be created by an ex VF guy.

Anyway, there's a line in it about how to be considered to court a patriarch's daughter a guy must shrink to fit into the father's world, but once he's done that the father doesn't see his as "big" or assertive enough to deserve his daughter. I think that's a very insightful observation and that that is a very real paradox facing the courting community.

I highly recommend someone searching YouTube for "homeschool girl" and posting the link, I'm on my phone and can't.

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Another question I've had - are there any fundie families on the board who actually admit to arranged marriage? I don't mean having parents involved in the courtship process, but rather, are there any who explain that the kids don't have any choice? Certainly there would be pressure to marry someone and marry young, but they always seem to show it as the bride and groom happily fulfilling their Godly duties. Thoughts?

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Its always going to fail because some fundies seem to shelter their children too much, to the point that there are 30 year olds who are treated like children and never married. Theres also how they dont believe in feeling love, and the couple dont know eachother that well when getting into marriage. That wont exactly make a good relationship. Theyre also not even looking or getting themselves out there, but expecting the perfect man to just show up at their door.

Theres also how this courtship process is romanticised, with high expectations for the future partner (often not really considering their feelings, theyre just a placeholder to make babies with and have the perfect family), but then it leads to a hard fall when they realise that things arent perfect. The person theyre courting has opinions and feelings and maybe theyre not even into them that much. The wedding night wont be perfect because its hard to go from repressing all sexual feelings and thinking sex is evil, to being expected to be a sexual being. They dont think of the hard bits of raising a baby. They think of having an adorable bunch of children, all dressed up in home made matching clothing, in a neat organised house where they have time to sew all of their children's clothes, grow their own food and make nutritious meals from scratch, do craft projects with the children...but then the reality is screaming toddlers, sleepless nights, chasing after three toddlers while 8 months pregnant, and a limited income as they likely wont marry a millionaire but instead someone who has to work for most of the day and hardly be around to get enough money to feed the kids. Fundie life is not like the Duggars or any of the mommy blogs out there.

Seriously? The best solution is letting them date and find someone themselves. Most fundie parents didnt court. They dated, like us heathens did, and they still found someone who makes them happy.

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Another question I've had - are there any fundie families on the board who actually admit to arranged marriage? I don't mean having parents involved in the courtship process, but rather, are there any who explain that the kids don't have any choice? Certainly there would be pressure to marry someone and marry young, but they always seem to show it as the bride and groom happily fulfilling their Godly duties. Thoughts?

The Keller-Waller marriage was not far off from an arranged marriage, considering David's reluctance to marry.

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I think that the rethinking of love based marriage is going to be a trend. That is why the blogs hit on the concept that marriage is not to make you happy, blah blah blah. One guy I know on a forum I go to has said that he thinks that ANY christian man and ANY christian woman could have a successful Christian marriage IF they followed the bible (ie, submission and love as your own body) he is a career military guy who sees marriage as husband has higher rank, wife lower rank, both recognize their roles and everyhting works out. He is bitter over something that happened while his daughter was dating/ in public school, but it is unclear what. He is very much of the opinion that love is all fineand good, but duty is key. -- and love may be over rated.

The whole one true love thing may fade out, and the dutiful marriage for breeding and for god may take its place in these groups.

This is so horrible to me. I would rather be single forever. I know that this is the norm in many cultures, and if it is all between consenting adults, that is fine. But man, it just seems so depressing.

Marriage based on equal respect, love and friendship can be hard (especially with two people who rightly feel their opinions are of equal merit), but I woud take that hard work any day over a life of being someones doormat.

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I absolute agree. I'd rather never marry-- heck, i'd rather be in a contemplative convent-- than be viewed as a brood mare by someone who is only with me for duty to God.

I have been fortunate to find my marriage, based on sexual attraction, love, respect, friendship and mutual goals--and equal say in things-- has not been hard to navigate. Easier, I'd say, than the dance that the courtship groups have created for themselves.

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In the spirit of St. Valentine's Day today, I thought it was appropriate to start a discussion on fundies' selection of mates. Are they too picky? Or not picky enough?

Both.

You know when you're a young teenager, you think so-and-so is just perfect for you because he's cute and you like all the same bands and you both think your English teacher is hilarious but your Chemistry class sucks? But then you grow up and realize that you probably could fall in love with someone who doesn't even like any music at all, let alone the same bands, or someone who actually (horror of horrors) enjoys chemistry, because actually there are a lot more important factors in compatibility?

Fundies never grow up.

Sure, they don't generally have favourite bands, or tv shows, or whatever. Substitute "favourite bible verses"; flavour of Christianity; interpretation of Proverbs 31; whatever. Which might work out for the incredibly committed Christians among them to whom religion is actually incredibly important (in the same way that a musician might not want to marry someone who actively hates music), but a lot of these 2nd generation fundies are fundie-by-default -- not because they're super into biblical living, but because it's all they've ever known. So they're picking spouses based on an incredibly picky list of biblical qualities that don't actually matter to them. They don't even have anything to bond over in the way that young teenage lovebirds do ("OMG, YOU LIKE JESUS TOO?!?!?!!!1 Meant to be!"). And then either no one ever lives up to their expectations (in the same way That Guy You Liked when you were twelve turned out to hate Friends, so the wedding was immediately canceled), or someone comes along who ticks all the boxes who they are nevertheless totally incompatible with. Elizabeth Munck was lucky to realize she fell into the latter category. The Robotkins fall into the former. They are waiting for someone else's (i.e. Daddy Botkin's) idea of Prince Charming.

That is, of course, assuming that the Patriarchs aren't just fucking them over by setting impossibly high standards. Which is probably at least a big part of it.

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Some of it may be unrealistic expectations. This perfect Godly man is supposed to waltz into their lives and sweep them off their feet in some Godly courtship. They build up this image in their minds and the problem is this man doesn't exist!

All of us have our flaws and no one is perfect but the image in their mind is of a perfect Jesus like man. Even Jesus wasn't perfect. He probably tripped or stumbled over a rock once or twice in his life.

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I absolute agree. I'd rather never marry-- heck, i'd rather be in a contemplative convent-- than be viewed as a brood mare by someone who is only with me for duty to God.

I have been fortunate to find my marriage, based on sexual attraction, love, respect, friendship and mutual goals--and equal say in things-- has not been hard to navigate. Easier, I'd say, than the dance that the courtship groups have created for themselves.

Oh I agree - marriage hasn't been hard for me in most respects, but I think fundies see it as "hard" because there is the potential for conflict. Conflict will never exist if one person is always right and the other always submits. But that is not love, and that is not what a real relationship is built on.

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Another question I've had - are there any fundie families on the board who actually admit to arranged marriage? I don't mean having parents involved in the courtship process, but rather, are there any who explain that the kids don't have any choice? Certainly there would be pressure to marry someone and marry young, but they always seem to show it as the bride and groom happily fulfilling their Godly duties. Thoughts?

Jonathan Lindvall has--mercifully for all of us--faded almost completely from the scene, but his "betrothal" system really does amount to arranged marriage. Betrothal is for people who find courtship to be too liberal.

He even has a comparison chart. In it he describes "betrothal" as "Romantic relationship following publicly announced, irrevocable commitment to marriage; allows couple to "fall in love" before marriage, but after commitment is made."

Is it snarky to note that his daughter, Bethany Lindvall, is still single in her forties?

boldchristianliving.com/articles/youthful-romance/comparison-chart-of-dating-courtship--scriptural-betrothal.html

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Fundie poster children like the Botkinettes, Sarah Maxwell, Jonathan Lindvall's single-at-40 daughter (didn't know about that one, thanks!!) are commodities to their parents. They're all part of the "keeping our children's hearts" schtick that these families market to the wider fundie world, along with their books, DVDs, chore packs, seminars, and whatever other Here's How To Be Perfect Like Us swag these families foist on their followers.

Overlords like Ge-off-rey (thanks MJB ;) ) and Steve-hovah will allow their daughters to leave and cleave if, and only if, they do it in a patriarchally-approved way that further seduces the sheeple and swells the coffers. I'm not holding my breath for courtship announcements emanating from rural Tennessee or Leavenworth, Kansas any time soon.

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Fundies have their little checklist, which is so horribly flawed in the first place.

They want someone Christian. Great! What they don't seem to understand is that billions of people in this world identify as Christian. They seem to think Christians are a rare breed and when one comes around, you need to snatch him/her up before there aren't any 'good ones' left. They have this delusion that finding a Christian who you also have chemistry with is foolish because that's never likely to happen (remember, rare breed and all).

They want someone moral. The problem here is they are taken mostly at face-value. "Oh, these are the things you believe in? Us too! You're in!". This is a great place for people who talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Mostly because concerning courtship/engagements, there is no time to really see if they live out what they say. They are practically inviting con-artists to their homes and the sons/daughters soon find their spouses aren't what they seem.

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I think a lot of the difficulties in fundies finding husbands/wives is the rise of the homechurch. These weren't as prevalent when I was younger, and so there were very few young ladies (17-24 years of age) that weren't "spoken for" in some way or the other. But then, I went to a church not ran by my dad. The families at my church frequently make not-so-subtle suggestions about courtships to other parents, who in turn made not-so-subtle suggestions to their kids about who they should court.

I don't know how the women and men who go to a church pastored by their father in their living room find a mate. I guess through homeschooling conferences and the like.

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I think the too picky/not picky enough thing is a bit of a false dichotomy. I think they're all both-it's just that they have such a messed up priorities when it comes to the list of things to be picky or not picky about.

These are things that I (and I expect most people) would consider as priorities: Not abusive, someone I could have a decent conversation with, & some sort of emotional chemistry. Here are some things I wouldn't place to much importance on: homeschooled, member of XYZ Christian denomination who also subscribes to a super specific subcategory of beliefs.

The fundies we snark on here would prioritise these completely differently.

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I just stumbled over the Regina Seppi and Gregory Goehring (still can´t decide how much Regina is to pity for the creepylarious surname change-to-the-even-worse! ...) 2012 wedding.

melodys-notes.blogspot.co.at/2012/05/carters-shots-of-greg-regina-wedding.html

Greg is how old? 45 at least! So this maybe also marriage model the fundie fathers will dust up and bring to new glory: Marrying off their young daughters to men in their 40s or older. Likely bussiness associates or "old family friends".

Or I am all wrong and a Seppi-Goehring match really WAS made in uhm... heaven?

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This is so horrible to me. I would rather be single forever. I know that this is the norm in many cultures, and if it is all between consenting adults, that is fine. But man, it just seems so depressing.

Marriage based on equal respect, love and friendship can be hard (especially with two people who rightly feel their opinions are of equal merit), but I woud take that hard work any day over a life of being someones doormat.

What is even worse is that unmarried fundie couples have such a romantic view of life and marriage. Before the wedding, they're encouraged to believe that if they follow certain well laid out steps then they will be happy. Courting, no sex, no flirtation, constant control of their thoughts, dad's approval, etc Yet after marriage, they learn that they weren't supposed to expect happiness anyway. What is the point?

Meep also makes a good point. Fundies and more conservative Christians seem to believe if someone follows a rather superficial checklist that they must be a good person. A sociopath would probably find these families to be easy prey.

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They can't bring themselves to hand their children over to a kindergarten teacher or soccer coach, it's not surprising they can't do it for a husband.

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I agree that their homechurches are a big part of the problem. Meeting your beloved at a 1-week homeschool conference in Big Sandy, and having a potluck lunch every Sunday with 4 other megafamilies, just doesn't compare to a big church that might even offer (appropriately chaperoned) sunday classes, bible studies, cookouts, singalongs, etc. for young singles, all year round.

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Another question I've had - are there any fundie families on the board who actually admit to arranged marriage? I don't mean having parents involved in the courtship process, but rather, are there any who explain that the kids don't have any choice? Certainly there would be pressure to marry someone and marry young, but they always seem to show it as the bride and groom happily fulfilling their Godly duties. Thoughts?

Not sure, but Kelly at generation starvation has spoken warmly about arranged marriage.

Another thought on arranged marriage (which simply fascinates me because I actually think it comes closer to what God intended than our dating system does)…

Genesis 24

AND

Adam and Eve had an arranged marriage ;-)

There are many in Scripture and not only that, but arranged marriages have been the norm throughout history in most cultures. We naturally bristle–I did to and still do to some degree, but here’s an example of how we get one thing in our minds and refuse to consider how right or wrong our thinking is. Arranged marriages not for me? Maybe. But an abomination to “God’s design� Careful.

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In the non fundie world I don't think it matters if you get married or not. Either way can be fine. However fundies define themselves with marriage/children so for them it becomes a critical life event. Other cultures do this too - in my own East Indian culture - marriage and children are a BIG deal. However, unlike other cultures, fundies make marriage/children the goal and then hobble their children so that achieving this goal becomes just that much harder. I think can think of several things they do "wrong".

1. They believe that God will magically bring a future spouse into the lives of their children. No dating, no official matchmaking services, no going outside the home without a chaperone - nothing other than prayer.

2.They give their children little or no chance to make any decisions on their own - especially the girls - and give their children little opportunity to discover who they are much less what they might want in a spouse. They couple this with the idea that marriage is forever - no ifs, ands or buts. The pressure on the children to "choose wisely" is intense and I suspect paralyzing.

3. Perhaps some parents recognize that they have infantalized their children to the point where they can't make an adult decision - and so they (I say they but really it could just be the dad) could choose for the child but then they complicate even this by insisting that the married couple is deep deep deep in romantic love. It would be easier if they openly made arranged marriages and told their children that it was their duty and that they should just "die to self". That way fewer people would have unrealistic expectations.

4. Fundies say it is fun/fullfilling to have many children, live very frugally, have only one income but in reality it can be hard. I suspect that the sister-moms out there see the truth: they will be have to do a huge amount of work while constantly pregnant. I'll bet that seeing the reality of a mom of many who lives with a limited income makes more than a few fundie girls shy away from marriage. Maybe living at home under their father's thumb is the lesser of two evils.

5. Fundies ban every single sexual thought/action until the magical wedding night. Maybe some people can just throw a switch and change everything but I would guess that many find it scary or intimidating. Some might be LGBT. Anyway you look it - it just seems like a factor that would complicate relationships for fundies.

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(snip)

3. Perhaps some parents recognize that they have infantalized their children to the point where they can't make an adult decision - and so they (I say they but really it could just be the dad) could choose for the child but then they complicate even this by insisting that the married couple is deep deep deep in romantic love. It would be easier if they openly made arranged marriages and told their children that it was their duty and that they should just "die to self". That way fewer people would have unrealistic expectations.

(snip)

But wouldn't that mean admitting that their lives are not so perfect? Within modern Western thinking, romantic love is considered integral for a happy marriage, and despite rejecting the modern world, fundies haven't let go of that idea. And to me, it seems that they're dangling the idea of Prince Charming, and a charmed perfect life, over their daughters' heads as a reward. Not much else to look forward to. I think the idea of deep, romantic love that will magically happen is too important to the system to boot it.

I agree with you that one way to go about it would be going down the "die to self" route, but suspect that without some sort of worldly reward, more girls would question what the point was. Especially if they do read the Bible, which does talk about romantic love. On the other hand, they're fundies, who have no problem ignoring their own book, so yeah, it's possible that eventually they could just go down the route of "it's your duty to marry, because our book says so, blah, blah, blah...just die to self", and make themselves even more miserable. Sorry, I had a point, but I lost it somewhere.

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How many fundie daughters have actually gotten married?

There are the 4 Keller daughters (Esther, Rebekah, Anna, Priscilla) and Rebekah is almost a cautionary tale.

Oldest shoebox daughter Amanda.

The oldest inashoe daughter. Deanna?

Maxwell's daughter-in-law NR Anna was from quite the fundie family I believe.

Couple of the Mueller daughters from muellermice.

Alexander's oldest daughter, now Meredith Hammer.

Lori Alexander's oldest girl. Alissa?

Oldest Waller daughter, Rachelle.

Who else?

And then there seem to be so many unmarried SAHDs.

Muncks

Duggars

Bates (Although Erin will be married within the year probably)

Maxwells

Botkins

Seven Sisters

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Don't forget Cecily Bradrick, the Reims sisters. the Mally sisters ( one of whom just turned 34), some of the Morton girls, Chelsy and Allison Bontrager, Ruth Wissman and two Seppi women ( one of whom just turned 23)

On the male side you have Issac Botkin, Nathaniel Darnell, Duggars, Bates, anyone else?

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