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"A Courtship"


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Caribou

Has anyone seen this documentary from 2015? I looked to see if there was a thread for it but couldn't find anything - apologies if one exists.

I found it so sad. A 33 year old (virginal) woman, traumatized by her parents' divorce when she was a teen, moves in with a middle aged couple who become her spiritual mentors. She has eschewed dating and is now a strong proponent of Christian courtship, despite already having "given away" the "treasure" of her first kiss. The film follows her for the better part of a year. It does not end well.

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Caribou

I got it off of Google Play. I think it's available on iTunes as well.

Apparently it was rated as one of the top "must sees" at Tribeca last year.

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Caribou

That's it!

And 10 years later...she's still "waiting"

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December

Found this review that gives an overview: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/a-courtship-tribeca-review-791410 

Sounds very similar to many courtships and SAHDs discussed on FJ (especially the families with unmarried children over 25 or 30). Except for the fact that she lives with a family that she's not related to, as mentioned before. But they seem to exercise the same sort of control over her prospective courtships as fundie parents. The mentor couple also seem to run some sort of website dedicated to encouraging courtships. 

I'll definitely have to watch it when I have some free time. Sounds interesting. 

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louisa05

I just finished watching this. As I think most of the time when I encounter this nonsense...WTF????

There is a lot of dysfunction going on there. Miss Kelly doesn't need spiritual parents, she needs a therapist. At the very least, she needs to listen to her mother and step-father who are sensible. 

And the obsession with first kisses...I just don't get it. The level of denial about how things actually are was amazing to me. We see Kelly completely in tears over this Ross guy walking away from a potential courtship--clearly devastated by it. Then we get spiritual mother Dawn explaining to us that no one got hurt because there was "no attachment" all because they didn't kiss. I think there was more attachment there than I've ever experienced with someone I had never even been alone with. Most normal people who--God forbid--date are not thinking marriage and babies when they barely know a person, but Kelly tells the camera that she is thinking of that after she's seen the guy--with her pseudo-family and his brother there--maybe three or four times. And of course she is thinking that , the whole courtship system is set up to think that way right out of the gate. 

I'm guessing she ends up permanently single. And it is likely their brainwashed daughters will be living there as single adults, too. On the topic of their brainwashed daughters, there is something very creepy about a kid who can't be more than 9 or 10 speaking of "my husband" over and over again. You don't have a husband, little girl. You may never have one if your daddy has his way. 

 

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Caribou

I also can not comprehend the extreme hubris of these evangelicals. In their world, EVERYTHING happens because of "God's Plan", yet only THEY, specifically, can interpret what that means. Examples such as:

- Ross pens an essay on his Facebook, claiming the death of his friend was "God's Plan" and Ron, Dawn and Kelly go ballistic because he is so wrong.                                  

- Kelly's real mother asks her how she knows it's not "God's Plan" that Kelly should listen to her mother's advice and drop the extreme courtship nonsense. Kelly shrugs and returns to Ron and Dawn and their own private idiocracy

I just can't fathom the ego people must possess to convince themselves that they, and only they, are privy to and can interpret God's will and everyone else is wrong and not worthy. Mind you, I supppse that's sort of the basis of every different religious sect in the world.

Edited by Caribou
Corrected proper name
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louisa05

I wonder if Ron and Dawn even want her to get married. It appears they have a free housekeeper and nanny. I suspect it was no accident that we got film of Kelly vacuuming, hanging out laundry and washing dishes along with film of Dawn sitting in a chair. I would guess that her income is contributed to the household as well as they seem to be practicing pretty extreme patriarchy. If she marries, their lifestyle changes dramatically. 

When Ron and Dawn hid in the van in the garage to discuss that Ross was interested in a courtship with Kelly, they both sat their looking pretty glum about it. 

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NachosFlandersStyle

Just watched on iTunes.

I'm guessing the guy was scared off not so much because of theological differences but because this whole family is jumping down his throat over a Facebook post he wrote in the wake of what was obviously a very traumatic event. The Wrights are deeply in denial about how human relationships work, and Kelly is like a child going along with their plans. She's not guarding her heart-- she's eternally stuck as a giggly adolescent who can't help but plan her wedding with every guy she makes eye contact with. Because she can't do anything about her dating life except hope and daydream.

Edited by NachosFlandersStyle
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NachosFlandersStyle

I keep thinking about the conversation that Dawn has with Kelly after she sees the offending Facebook post. I'll admit that I don't fully understand the nature of their theological disagreement. But it's striking that Dawn doesn't say "I wonder if he's really saved" or "what happens if he wants to teach his children that belief?" Instead she's concerned that Kelly and Ross could end up in a social situation where he expresses his belief, and as a submissive wife Kelly would not be allowed to register any kind of disapproval. Wouldn't that be embarrassing or difficult for her?

I don't know of any couples who are in perfect agreement about everything. Sometimes my boyfriend says something I take issue with in a social setting, and instead of nodding along I would offer my counterpoint. That doesn't mean I don't respect him or support him. I can't imagine that anyone I know would hear that and say "wow, what a dysfunctional relationship." I certainly don't think that when I hear my friends disagreeing with their SOs. 

But in this relationship model, the woman must publicly endorse all of her husband's opinions. So trivial differences in opinion become a huge deal right from the start, because any point of disagreement raises the possibility that the wife might struggle to remain perfectly submissive. Just one more way that the courtship system puts people under enormous pressure in comparison to dating.

Oh, and notice how Ron says the reason that he and Dawn had trouble early in their marriage is that they "didn't really know each other." So obviously the solution is to design a process where the courting couple hardly get to know each other and are actively discouraged from communicating openly about their feelings!

 

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iheartchacos

Been there. Done that. Bullshit. (Thank goodness I came to my senses)

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roddma

I've ran across comments on the DUggar FB pages about how wonderful it is when a woman's parents are involved in choosing  a husband so she won't make a mistake. They get  a stern correction. No method of marrying/dating is perfect and women don't need anyone choosing anything for them. Some say they plan to do courting but it seems to come form younger ppl.

Many people choose to be single at 33. Single by choice or not. most 30ish singles aren't living at home, They have jobs, and some are in the process of owning a home or own one. If they are at home. they arent' bound to the house a s a free servant.

And they act like kisses are comparable to sex. I just don't get it.

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PsyD2013

My WTF movement occurred when Kelly remarked that she had not saved her first kiss (after Dawn read the story of the princess saving her first kiss for her prince).  Kelly had tears in her eyes because she had already given away the "special gift" of her first kiss.  Oh, sweetie hang on to that memory, because if Dawn and Ron have their way, you are going to be their free nanny/housekeeper for life.  

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louisa05
3 hours ago, PsyD2013 said:

My WTF movement occurred when Kelly remarked that she had not saved her first kiss (after Dawn read the story of the princess saving her first kiss for her prince).  Kelly had tears in her eyes because she had already given away the "special gift" of her first kiss.  Oh, sweetie hang on to that memory, because if Dawn and Ron have their way, you are going to be their free nanny/housekeeper for life.  

The obsession over kissing just baffles me. I kiss my rabbit. I'm sure most people with pets here kiss their pets. Is it a tragedy that I kissed other pets before I kissed the pet we have now? Should my rabbit feel betrayed? 

I do think Kelly is, for whatever reason, very immature. She seemed like a young teenager to me. This isn't purity and devotion, it is a sad failure to launch into adulthood. Her own family didn't want to enable that, so she found someone that would. What is so baffling and bizarre here is that she clearly grew up in a family that did not envision SAHDs. The Botkinettes and unmarried Duggar girls et al know no other life or choice. This woman, on the other hand, sought this out on her own. That seems even more sad. 

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JMarie
  1. I feel so sad for Kelly after watching the trailer.  As someone mentioned above, she's still searching and it's ten years later?  A subscription to Christian Mingle would probably given better results.
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Caribou

^

Yep, she's still not married according to the end of the film.

Ross, on the other hand, married a woman named Annie in March. 

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Hane

What everybody else said.

I watched this last night and sat there hollering sporadic expletives, most of them including the word "stupid," at the screen.

These folks' lack of self-awareness is truly astounding. Kelly's "spiritual parents" have bought into a system while having absolutely no proof that it has ever worked. And Dawn's gleeful laugh over the fact that she's automatically absolved of all faults because they're all on the shoulders of her "spiritual leader" was just chilling. 

Kelly has the affect of a very naive 15-year-old, as does Ross.  I was floored by the sight of full-fledged adults ending a relationship over theological hair-splitting. It's heartbreaking to see people intentionally limiting themselves like this in the misguided certainty that there's a perfect way to live and to achieve a goal.

As the Grandmother in "Pippin" wisely says, "There's one thing that I'm sure of, mate: There's nothing to be sure of!"

(Am I alone in seeing at least a tad of homoerotic undertone in Ron's interaction with the potential suitors?)

Also, the kissing obsession drives me nuts. I learned the hard way that being a virgin at the altar was no guarantee  of security and emotional stability. Ron's insistence that he and Dawn ran into problems three years into their marriage because they had--gasp!--kissed other people in prior relationships was downright inane. I know plenty of people with abundant prior  sexual (and even marital) experience whose marriages are quite sound.

Edited by Hane
Things I forgot.
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onlyme

She's been discussed before and she always strikes me as one of the saddest examples of this mindset. I feel bad for her real father when he expresses bewilderment over her choice. Basically saying he raised his daughter to be an adult and make choices and now what is this? I felt bad for him because there's this sort of shame element thrown his way because he didn't want to participate in this "Biblical protection" of his daughter. 

She strikes me as very afraid of life. If they thought this would draw people into the courtship movement, they failed. It's more like a cautionary tale. 

They still have a facebook page where it looks like they regurgitate every news story that remotely mentions dating so they can stay in peoples' facebook feeds, trying to sell that stupid movie. Yuck. 

Edited by onlyme
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Hane
51 minutes ago, onlyme said:

She's been discussed before and she always strikes me as one of the saddest examples of this mindset. I feel bad for her real father when he expresses bewilderment over her choice. Basically saying he raised his daughter to be an adult and make choices and now what is this? I felt bad for him because there's this sort of shame element thrown his way because he didn't want to participate in this "Biblical protection" of his daughter. 

She strikes me as very afraid of life. If they thought this would draw people into the courtship movement, they failed. It's more like a cautionary tale. 

They still have a facebook page where it looks like they regurgitate every news story that remotely mentions dating so they can stay in peoples' facebook feeds, trying to sell that stupid movie. Yuck. 

The man offering Kelly the guidance and moral support appropriate to an adult woman was her stepfather. Her parents divorced when she was in her late teens--after she'd gone off to college, where she became a conservative Christian. My guess is that her turning to this brand of religiosity was a coping mechanism when her parents split up while she was away from home.

Her mother looked overjoyed to see her. I can only imagine how heartbroken her mom must be to see her daughter move a thousand miles away for such an outrageous choice. It looks as if Kelly is a dance teacher. Does she earn any money at all? She's most likely to stay single forever. How will she be able to take care of herself in her old age?

Warning--Thing that will make me look shallow and mean ahead:  I am several light-years away from looking like what Sister Evangelina would call an "oil painting." We also know how vocal most of the fundie boys we follow are about the kind of female appearance they consider worthy of them. (I recall one blogger, back when I joined pre-Yuku, who said his devoted, submissive Christian wife would have to have a--and I quote him verbatim--"banging hot body." [Insert puking emoji here]).

If Kelly, who most folks would consider conventionally attractive, is still unattached as she pushes 40, what hope does courtship hold out for Ron and Dawn's two daughters? These two young girls face a future of sub-par homeschooling and no chance of higher education. They will have zero opportunities of getting out in the world, developing talents, and discovering people outside their insular culture, where they'd be far more likely to meet a wider variety of potential mates. What I'm saying is that interesting but ordinary-looking gals stand a greater chance of romantic success outside the umbrella of daddy's protection.

 

 

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JMarie
5 hours ago, Hane said:

What everybody else said.

I watched this last night and sat there hollering sporadic expletives, most of them including the word "stupid," at the screen.

These folks' lack of self-awareness is truly astounding. Kelly's "spiritual parents" have bought into a system while having absolutely no proof that it has ever worked. And Dawn's gleeful laugh over the fact that she's automatically absolved of all faults because they're all on the shoulders of her "spiritual leader" was just chilling. 

Kelly has the affect of a very naive 15-year-old, as does Ross.  I was floored by the sight of full-fledged adults ending a relationship over theological hair-splitting. It's heartbreaking to see people intentionally limiting themselves like this in the misguided certainty that there's a perfect way to live and to achieve a goal.

As the Grandmother in "Pippin" wisely says, "There's one thing that I'm sure of, mate: There's nothing to be sure of!"

(Am I alone in seeing at least a tad of homoerotic undertone in Ron's interaction with the potential suitors?)

Also, the kissing obsession drives me nuts. I learned the hard way that being a virgin at the altar was no guarantee  of security and emotional stability. Ron's insistence that he and Dawn ran into problems three years into their marriage because they had--gasp!--kissed other people in prior relationships was downright inane. I know plenty of people with abundant prior  sexual (and even marital) experience whose marriages are quite sound.

Does Kelly mention how she learned about the Michigan couple and the "services" they provide?  Do they mention any previous success stories?  Kelly's wasted ten very precious child-bearing years on this foolishness, and her chances of getting pregnant are oh so slim.  Heartbreaking when you consider that she teaches dance to little girls, yet will most likely never have one of her own.

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onlyme

When we were in a hyper courtship oriented church I always tried to steer my son away from considering any of the girls there. If a boy knows a girl really well and wants to go through that kind of humiliation to get her, then fine. But if you don't know the girl all that well, why would you sign up for something like that? There are plenty of nice girls out there that one can develop a normal relationship with without the dragon (her father, and I've heard that analogy spouted by courtship proponents, building on their fantasy of being related to fairy tales, which is ironic since most fairy tales are handed down by pagans and were altered to fit into Christian culture, I digress.) flaming at you all the time. There were many reasons I needed to get out of that culture, but none of them drove me off like courtship culture. It drives me nuts. I have seen many of these "spiritually arranged" marriages end up in misery and it's just heart breaking. 

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PsyD2013

Ron, Dawn and their daughters have a ministry called- Before the Kiss.  They sell Debi Pearl's Preparing to be a Helpmeet book.  The oldest daughter references her father as her hero.  Poor delusional teen, Kelly's lack of a courtship should be a sign for her to RUN.  

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CrazyCatLady

Their Facebook page has 100 followers... clearly they are very successful.

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louisa05
5 hours ago, JMarie said:

Does Kelly mention how she learned about the Michigan couple and the "services" they provide?  Do they mention any previous success stories?  Kelly's wasted ten very precious child-bearing years on this foolishness, and her chances of getting pregnant are oh so slim.  Heartbreaking when you consider that she teaches dance to little girls, yet will most likely never have one of her own.

She said she babysat for them as a college student, so I assume she probably met them through a church. This seemed to be a new endeavor for them as well--they were already sold on the whole courtship thing, but the deal of having an adult woman want them to run her courtship was new to them and all her idea. It was, however, according to him in the film, Ron's idea that she move in with them to accomplish it. 

 

 

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