Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: The Boys - Part 8

In our latest installment of "The Boys of Botkin", we get to hear the Botkin Sisters' male friends views on pitfalls in guy-girl relationships.  After transcribing the quotations, I am extremely doubtful that any of the guys (including their married brother Ben) have actually had a relationship with a woman.

Overarching Theme: Girls are TERRIFYING!  I'm so afraid!
Jack, inventor, says ...
Guys appreciate a girl who is emotionally stable and exhibits self-control. We can have actual friendships with girls who don't jump to conclusions and misconstrue small acts of kindness as signs of love and devotion. Presumptuous girls can create situations that are painful for us, but we are also concerned about their feelings. As frustrating as it can be to receive unwanted attention, it's far worse to be the cause of a disastrous heartbreak, even when it's no fault of your own.
It can feel like you're walking on eggshells when we're trying to be brothers in Christ to unpredictably hot-headed girls, never knowing whether the slightest word or gesture might start an emotional roller-coaster and misery for our sisters in Christ. Our gratitude for the more self-possessed girls who refused to indulge in every dreamy  whim cannot be overstated. (pg. 194)

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11 - Part Four

We're down to the last two "stories" from Chapter 11!  The first story illustrates why Emo-Pur (Emotional Purity) is a giant waste of time and energy for everyone involved.

Candie is only 16, and knows that she and Jacob aren't ready to get married; but since they're officially just friends, they feel free to become as close as they like. Down inside, she knows this friendship trying to spin out of control - he's becoming more important to her than anything else in the world. He's always in her thoughts (and constantly popping up in her chat window); he's starting to monopolize her time and her focus, even coming between her and her parents. It's turning into a re-run of her friendship with Jonathan last year, which ended in her never being allowed to see him again - but she just can't stop...(pg.192)

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11-Part Three

If the scenario that the Botkin Sisters are laying out in this bit is common in home schooled young adults, people need to rethink how they are raising their daughters.  The "girls" in this section manage to be both wimpy and overly rigid at the same time.  Let's go....

"Lauren is 22, and wondering how to handle the continual over-friendliness of Marshall, and his hints about someday making something happen, when she knows he's not ready and hasn't talked to her father about a relationship. She doesn't want to end our friendship, but also doesn't want to hurt to get too involved in something that may never happen... (pg. 192)."
  • Apparently, Lauren isn't worried about wasting time on non-existent problems.  
    • Marshall is interested in Lauren - at least kind of - and mentions it occasionally.  
    • Lauren, on the other hand, has meticulously determined Marshall's lack of readiness.
    • She's also worried because Marshall - who doesn't want a relationship right now - has NOT talked to Lauren's dad about starting a relationship.  It makes no sense at all for Marshall to ask Lauren's dad about a courtship right now.
    • The problem here is NOT Marshall.....
"There are such things as scoundrels and rakes; there are young men who genuinely don't know the right channels; there are good boys who aren't ready to get married yet; there are guys who are more interested in fun than commitment; and there are nice guys were just way too friendly with girls. How do we handle them?
Girls often come to us distraught over problems like, "He keeps telling me he really cares about me, but I know he hasn't talked to my dad..." "He's too friendly and I don't know what to do about it..." "He asked me for a date, but I'm committed to courtship!" "He keeps sending me gushy Facebook messages!" "He's not marriage material yet but I hate to push someone away who likes me so much..." "He stopped me in the store and asked me for my name and phone number..." "He follows me everywhere and asked me really personal questions!" "He is just so sensitive and sweet and affectionate towards me - I know he's pushing his boundaries, but I'm starting to fall for him anyway..."(pg. 196 )"
  • The Botkin Sisters have an entire podcast on the topic brought up in the first paragraph.  I do not recommend it; it's terrifying for multiple reasons.
  • The book takes multiple pages to come up with "answers" for each situation, but I think I can do it in much less.
    • "He hasn't talked to Dad."  If that's important to you, load him up with Pop's contact information.  If the guy doesn't call, move on.
    • "He's too friendly."  Is that really a problem?  If you don't like his friendliness, ignore him.  Cold-shoulder him.  Avoid him like the plague.  That will usually do the trick.
    • "Asked for a date; I want courtship." Explain the difference to him. Who knows?  He might be OK with that or he may move on.  Either way, you've made your expectations known.
    • "Stopped in a store for name and number."  I've never had that happen, but a "Who the (insert swear word of your choice) are you?!?" should stop that dead.
    • "Follows me everywhere" That sounds like a stalker.  Reach out to your local police to find out what you need to do.
    • "He's pushing his boundaries."  Chica, God did not make you responsible for him stepping over his boundaries.  Is he stepping over YOUR boundaries?  If he is, tell him to stop.  If not, stop worrying about it and enjoy the relationship.
These are the sort of situations that can be uncomfortable to deal with, but they don't have to get truly sticky unless we let them. We often have more power to direct this sort of situation than we realize. Young men have told us time and time again: girls are really the ones who set the tone for the interaction. (pg. 196)
  • This is true.  Women have power in relationships!  The vast majority of guys will respect boundaries you set - either by backing away from the boundary or leaving the relationship.
  • I never thought I'd agree with the Botkin Sisters on something, but this is decent advice.
In the case of Lauren and Marshall, Lauren is feeling overwhelmed with confusion over how to handle Marshall's clear interest, knowing that he's not marriage material yet, and hasn't approached to father. The solution, however, is very simple. Lauren simply needs to do three things:

Talk to her parents about the situation, and let them know her true thoughts and feelings regarding Marshall. Our parents can  help keep us accountable if our own hearts are swaying.  Our fathers are also our secret weapons in the area of dealing with guys. They are the strength that we don't have - they are the ones who can force the issues for us, the ones who can find out what a young man's intentions are towards us, the ones who can make sure no one leads us on. What if Marshall was only playing with her while he waited for something better to come along? (pg. 198)
  • Oh, good.  The world has righted itself again.  You can talk to your parents, or your friends or whoever - but this isn't an actual romantic relationship and putting this much time and energy into it is messed up.
  • Teaching your daughters that they can't determine a guy's intention and that they are too weak to do anything about issues that come up is sick, sick, sick, sick.  
  • Reality check:
    • Do you think these problems are going to disappear when you marry?  Issues will arise with your spouse; you need to know what your spouse's intentions are and you sure as hell better be able to figure out if you are being led on by your spouse!
    • What happens when you interact with the real world?  Even if you plan on being a SAHM, you will need to interact with men who are not your husband on a regular basis.  Being a push-over who can't read body language or actions is NOT going to work.
  • Notice how warped the Botkin Sisters view of men is; Marshall, who has done nothing wrong by most courtship standards, is dangled out as a potential playboy.  
"Interact with Marshall as a sister and not a girlfriend, as if nothing is going on... Because nothing is, right? Are pure and sisterly conduct can remind young men with their own should be.

Resist the urge to keep a candle burning for him in her heart just in case. We don't know who God intends for us to marry; we don't know who God intends for them to marry. What's important is that we keep our hearts open to what God wants. And that's going to be a lot harder if we already filled that spot with a certain someone. (pg. 198)"

  • The first step to treating Marshall as a brother-in-Christ or simply as a friend is to stop obsessing over this relationship.  Truly, Marshall is not the person with a problem here.
  • Yeah, it would be hard to find the person God wants Lauren to marry if Lauren is so focused on not getting into a relationship with Marshall that she's not looking at anyone else....
We're rolling through Chapter 11!  One more chunk of Botkin "Wisdom" then another session with the Boys.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11 - Part 2

Welcome to the dangers of online relationships per the Botkin Sisters!  Let's dive in because there is a LOT to cover here:

Jessie is 18, sweet, naive, and longing for love and attention, but too shy to talk to the boys she knows. Online is easier. So is Omar, a wonderful charming new cyber friend. Within months, he's convinced her that no one could ever love her like he does that he's even urging her to "escape" from her home, and has bought her plane ticket to the city where he lives... (pg. 192).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 11 - Part 1

Ahh.  Now we launch into all the fun of reading about how Anna Sofia and Elizabeth have judging all their  friends failed (or not so failed) relationships.

I'm sure I'm going to say this a lot, but I find it crass that two young women who have had a grand total of a single rumored courtship between the two of them expect us to listen to them about how to have a healthy relationship with men.

Actually, I'm being overly optimistic.  We're going to hear about how all of their "friends" have shitty relationships.

Bluntly, I learned most of what I know about relationships from listening to adults discuss the positives and negatives of ongoing relationships going on around them.  I also watched the adults around me to see how people treated each other and which relationships I wanted to emulate some day.

"Ashley, 24, has known since she was 17 the Bradley was The One. All these years she's clung to every possible reason to hope, cherishes every friendly gesture... and now she's really from his announcement that he's just become engaged to one of her friends... (pg. 191)"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: The Boys - Part 7

For people who have been reading along with Botkin Sisters through this series what I will say next will surprise no one. The Botkin Sisters  manage to find guys who are willing to talk about how girls should talk to each other about guys when no guys are around.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I find the idea of receiving moral advice on how I'm supposed to interact with other young women condescending.  Equally disturbing is the idea that all moral information has to be filtered through men. Heck, in this case the moral orbiters are not men but half-grown boys.
Ugh.  Here we go:

James, producer, says... Girls up and wonder why guys won't take the lead in approaching girls or simply initiating conversation. The truth is, that many guys I know are unwilling subject themselves to the gossip that they know will occur if they have a conversation with a girl. " Did you see Tommy talking to Sue? I wonder if he's interested in marrying her?" Worse yet are the mothers to try to play matchmaker. "So... When are you going to get married? What about Ruth? She's a nice girl. I saw you talking to her this afternoon. Are you guys courting?" It's not fun walking into a room and feeling like a fresh hunk of meat thrown into a shark tank, just waiting for the circle and women to attack. (pg. 181)