Chapter 5 dating versus biblical courtship
”The film follows Kelly’s courtship with a young man named Ross, who, like the Wrights’ daughters, was homeschooled and raised to find a wife through courtship.
The Wrights invite Ross over for family dinners; they accompany him and Kelly, who teaches ballet, to a local production of .
Kelly disliked dating in her teens and was even more wary of secular relationships after her parents’ marriage collapsed.“During this time I thought a lot about marriage and recognizing a pattern among people I grew up with, which was to date and have fun and get divorced if your marriage didn’t work out as planned,” Kelly tells me on the phone. I wanted my marriage to be meaningful and set an example for other people in the community.”Courtship gives her a sense of security.
As Kelly’s spiritual father, Ron has made it his duty to oversee her courtship.
They also learn that marriages can only be happy and successful when arranged by God (and vetted by the family patriarch), and that kissing and hand-holding are “treasures” to be saved for marriage.“The stuff you’re doing now matters to your husband,” Dawn tells her 9-year-old daughter Annika, a not-so-subtle reminder that God, like Santa Claus, is always watching.
And if God doesn’t like what He sees, He may not bless her with a kind and loving husband.
But Ross quietly demurs, cancels dates, and ultimately cuts off their courtship—through Ron, of course.
While some viewers may be surprised that they cared about this unusual relationship at all, most will likely be frustrated that they cared so little.
Would you be comfortable with a homosexual elder that wasn’t practicing?
Both girls keep working notebooks about courtship and marriage. It’s just who we are.”This kind of ideology is alien to many Americans who aren’t religious or socially conservative, let alone to the progressive, largely secular demographic of New Yorkers who attend the Tribeca Film Festival every year.
Annika narrates hers like a storybook, showing scribbled drawings of “me and my husband courting, me and my husband getting married, me and my husband on our honeymoon.”Her older sister, Savannah, fantasizes about a Civil War-themed wedding, with her future husband in a Confederate uniform.“When you are born a girl, it doesn’t matter whether you give her all the guns and G. Joes in the world, she’s still going to dream about her wedding day,” Dawn says in the film. Christian conservatives like the Wrights are often written off as crazy, uneducated hicks by educated, white, upper-middle-class urbanites, who are much more tolerant of other orthodox religions.
Kelly is more poised, but being “popular” is certainly not a priority for her.
She doesn’t seem to have many friends her age, nor does she socialize with anyone outside of the Wrights’ insular Christian community.