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)
  • Realistic outline of the story - Jacob and Candie have a totally normal infatuation/crush relationship.  
  • In the Botkin telling, Candie has no personal volition in life.  The idea of Jacob is permeating her life.  The relationship apparently has the ability to spin itself out of control - but Candie's simply stuck along for the ride.
  • Chat windows can be turned off if Candie really didn't want to talk to Jacob.  Since the line between Jacob and Candie is open, I think it's safe to assume they are both interested.
  • Again, the Botkin Sisters manage to malign Jacob by implying that he's coming between Candie and her parents.  Yet, when I was 16, I did not have a giant crush most of the year AND still had a turbulent relationship with my parents.  Me thinks that Jacob is not the problem here - either in the relationship or in Candie's relationship with her folks.
  • Oh, Lord.  Unless Jonathan from last year was a dangerous guy, putting a life-time ban on Candie interacting with him is just stupid.  It's obviously done nothing to prevent the same thing with Jacob.
Candie and Jacob aren't the only young people that had good friendships spiral out of control and crash horribly. Many wonderful, solid friendships between young people and their families have been destroyed when "just friends" relationships got out of hand and needs to be shut down. In Candie's case, she thought the fact that they weren't in an official relationship, and weren't old enough to be, made it safe for her to be as friendly and available as she liked. It was a "safe: and "sisterly" relationship, right? Well, officially, yes, but Candie's heart was open to it becoming much more than that, and apparently Jacob wasn't under very good control either. What eventually became clear as they wanted to play the almost-dating game, but by the just-friends rules ("It's safe / This isn't serious / We're just kids, so we don't have to be as careful"). (pg. 202)
  • First, Candie and Jacob's relationship hasn't crashed yet.  I would argue that neither did Johnathon and Candie's relationship until parents with way too much time on their hands began creating life-time bans.
  • Speaking of CP/QF parents, the Botkin sisters paint parents who have no creativity or planning.  Johnathon and Candie had a crush so no one in either family can ever interact again?  Jacob and Candie's older and younger siblings are never going to be able to hang out with the opposite family?  Here's another idea: Don't bring Candie on the family outings.  The other option would be not overreacting and let her crushes play out, but that feels too sane for this crowd.
  • Let's call this like it is: Candie's not very interested in Emo-Pure - and she'll be thankful for that in the long run.
Candie was getting false feelings of security and safety from these external things and her artificial relationship status. But she wasn't being honest with herself about the status of her heart, kidding herself that "he was safe " or "the relationship with safe" when her heart wasn't safe. Her goal wasn't to maintain the friendship at a sisterly level, because down inside she was enjoying becoming more and more special to him in a different way. She was relishing each little act that brought them emotionally  (and eventually romantically) closer together. Rather than making a deliberate effort to obey God in each step of this relationship, she followed her own desires and feelings as they let her down the slippery slope. (pg 202)
  • I do think the Botkin Sisters need to read some C.S. Lewis.  He states that you can keep your heart perfectly safe as long as you don't mind having a dead heart.  The Botkin Sisters are advocating a method of interaction perfect for smothering hearts to death.
  • Remember, the Botkin Sisters explained in the first chapter that God created women for the sole purpose of attaching to men and helping them conquer the world. The ease with which Candie falls in love is part of the design of women, not a flaw.  Pretending that God designed women to fall for men - but that women shouldn't actually do that - makes no sense whatsoever.
Kate is 27 and "just friends" with Eric - but she's his very best friend, and has been eagerly there for him for three years now, secretly hoping that he was just working up the courage to take things to the next step. Until he confided to her and one of their heart-to-heart talks, "I don't see myself in a relationship anytime soon..."(pg. 192)
  • Ouch.  I've known girls -and guys - who ended up in this situation or something similar.  Like the couple who has been dating exclusively for 9 years and one of the two people clearly wants to get married but the other person is dragging their feet.  It's a messy situation.
  • Personally, I gave potential love interests about 3 months to make a move or respond to my interest before moving on to greener pastures.  
  • My family preaches that if you were old enough to get married (which was loosely defined as mid-twenties or after finishing career training or college), don't spend more than 2 years waiting for the other person to be ready to move on to the next stage of the relationship if you are ready to move on.  Some people are too indecisive to make decisions; others won't break the relationship off.   Better to make a  rather painful break at 26 and start looking for a better match than making a very painful break-up at 34.
  • My parents/aunts/uncles etc., also taught us not make any career sacrifices for a romantic relationship unless you had "a ring and a date" (e.g. you were engaged and had a wedding date set).  There was also an unspoken expectation that the wedding date was within 6-12 months unless you had a really good reason to postpone it to 18-24 months.
Kate knew that she and Eric were technically only friends, but was sure, because of what a good friend she had been, that Eric was moving towards more than that. Unfortunately, he wasn't. When he said "just friends" he meant it.

Kate wasn't being honest with herself about the situation. For three years, she had actually been playing the "let-him-know-what-a-great-wife-I-would-be" game, but according to the "just friends" rules. She wasn't chasing him - she was just a friend! But with her every encouraging phone call, every offer to help him with a project, every effort to be available to him, every best friend gesture, she thought she was putting another deposit in their future (marriage) relationship bank. By the time her mind caught up with reality, she had already been married to him in her mind for three years.  And once she realized that they would probably never share a future together, she saw that with each of those loaded acts she had been investing in our own future pain (pg 202-203)
  • I do think the Botkin Sisters are being unduly hard on Kate by implying that Eric was never thinking of her as a potential wife.  I doubt Eric stopped the conversation cold after saying he wasn't going to be able to start a courtship soon.  
    • How long is "soon"?  
    • Is Eric interested in a courtship with Kate?  
    • What is preventing it from happening now?  Eric might not be financially able to support a wife and child within the next two years - but if he's working on his career, he might be able to do it in three years.
  • The Botkin Sisters are critiquing the scenario when the real problem is in the system.  In this world, Kate has exactly one relationship and career option: get married preferably to a good man.  Bitching about how Kate decided to play the game misses the fact that she's playing a game that is rigged against her.  She's got no career, no personal income, and likely few prospects who match her exact religious belief system.  Hanging on to Eric for 3 years is crazy in the real world; in CP/QF land, her choice makes a lot of sense.
The situation was not inevitable. Kate could have focused on the way things actually were, not the way she wanted them to be. She could have kept her heart moving ahead of Eric - then she wouldn't have had to endure the agony of waiting for him to catch up. She didn't have to give him anything that she would regret if you married someone else. And she would have been thinking about how to be a real friend to Eric. He actually did not need a free-standing help meet, robbing him of the incentive to go out and find a real one. And he did not actually need a female best friend in place of a wife, his family, or godly male friends (pg 203)
  • Ah, again, we see the cold, sick hand of Geoffrey Botkin.  Eric wasn't getting married because he was too lazy to find a girl when he had Kate - a girl who sounds like a good help meet. Clearly, this relationship was bound to fail because all young men are waiting to find a girl to defraud.  It's a good thing the Botkin Sisters have Geoffrey to keep them safe; he'll find each of them good, upstanding boys to marry so they can be the "wives and mommies" he said they were raised to be in one of his podcasts.  He'll make sure his girls marry young like he's been praying for (and public speaking about) for two decades.  Oh, wait....no.  He won't.  

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I know this is straight out of When Harry Met Sally, but I sort of do think that whole "men and women can't be friends" thing has some merit. I don't mean that they can't be friends AT ALL.... I mean best friends.
    All the guy friends I had told me that men aren't friends with women ... they hang out with women they want to date/sleep with/whatever. And it honestly seemed pretty true.
    So no, I don't think this BFF thing is real.
    I think if men and women (generally) are BFF's either one of them wants to date the other, one of them is gay (or both), or one (or both) of them are using the other as an emotional crutch.

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