Why We’re Glad Joshua Harris is Rethinking His Dating Advice

Harris was only 21 years old when he wrote IKDG. Now the author is rethinking his dating advice.

Stories of damaging consequences affecting many people who encountered IKDG served to highlight the book’s shortfalls, according to Harris who addressed his reevaluation during a recent Tedx event. (You can watch the entire talk below.) “My eyes have really been open,” shared Harris. “I didn’t leave room for the idea that dating could be a healthy way of learning what you’re looking for in a long-term relationship. That it could be a part of growing personally.”

 

It’s been twenty years since Joshua Harris wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye (IKDG), a book offering Christians a new approach to dating and romance. Namely, replacing dating with friendship-based courtship. The book exploded in popularity within Evangelicalism and rapidly climbed the bestseller lists. Harris was only 21 years old when he wrote IKDG. Now the author is rethinking his dating advice.

Stories of damaging consequences affecting many people who encountered IKDG served to highlight the book’s shortfalls, according to Harris who addressed his reevaluation during a recent Tedx event. (You can watch the entire talk below.)

“My eyes have really been open,” shared Harris. “I didn’t leave room for the idea that dating could be a healthy way of learning what you’re looking for in a long-term relationship. That it could be a part of growing personally.”

I’ll admit here that I couldn’t make it past the first chapter of IKDG. That could be because I didn’t attempt to read the book until I was in my early twenties. While I respect Harris’ pushback against society’s harmful hook-up culture, IKDG’s overall concept seemed impractical to me. As a young woman working virtually non-stop for a non-profit in Washington, D.C. I just didn’t have time for an interview-style, no-strings-attached coffee meeting, which I’d argue is an unhelpful result of IKDG culture. Instead, I found intentional casual dating a healthier approach.

Please note the purpose of this post is not to analyze the merits of IKDG. Obviously, I cannot in good faith step into that discussion, not having read the book in its entirety. My only intent here is to highlight why Harris’ admission that he overlooked the benefits of dating is significant.

The best dating and romance advice I found during singlehood came from the experienced evangelical women around me. One of those mentors was (and still is) Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, the author of Marriage Matters: Perspectives on the Private and Public Importance of Marriage and chair of the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s board of directors.

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