The central tenet to Ron Luce’s courtship process seems to be that finding a spouse should be a process governed by our minds, not our hearts. We should make objective decisions NEVER clouded by emotions.
To that end, Ron preaches strongly against the idea of “falling in love.” He speaks about it in a derogatory manner and notes that the term “falling in love” is not in the Bible. (Newsflash: neither is the term “emotional virgin.”) He says that “falling in love” is the same thing as simple infatuation (i.e. a crush).
This statement is dishonest at best, and if it reflects the reality of his life then I feel sorry for him.
While I’d be the first to say that we should never abandon wisdom and objective thinking, to suggest that this is the ONLY criteria for selecting a mate makes the entire process sterile and impersonal. There is something mysterious that happens between a man and a woman when they fall in love that cannot be measured or documented. To deny these realities is ridiculous! If you don’t like the term “falling in love” you don’t have to use it – but it reflects a reality that goes deeper than finding someone who meets the demands of your checklist and then mentally deciding to love them.
In an effort to eradicate all emotion from the courtship process, Ron actually goes so far as to praise arranged marriages. He holds it up as a model to follow and suggests that interns “arrange their own marriages.” These slides were provided by a current intern and are from his 2011 relationship talk.
Since my childhood best friend was an Indian girl nearly forced into an arranged marriage two different times and I was the only white person at an Indian wedding just last week, I actually know a thing or two about the arranged marriage system in India.
First, Ron is right that the Indian ethic is “we grow to love each other.” I think that is a beautiful sentiment and something great we can learn from their culture.
But the rest of it is a naive idealization of an imperfect and flawed system. Like many Eastern cultures, arranged marriages have as much (or more) to do with the potential spouse’s income, job opportunities, and family background. Ron’s characterization of arranged marriages as free of emotional bias is stupendously naive – especially when parents are trying desperately to marry off their daugher before she is considered an old maid at the ripe age of 22. In arranged marriages, the emotional bias just comes from those arranging the marriage instead of the bride and groom.
For some reason, Ron is incredibly terrified of the idea that, at least in America, our emotions are involved in selecting our mate. (Which I find incredibly ironic, given how he so often manipulates his followers to make decisions based on emotions.)
I honestly don’t understand where this perspective comes from. If this is really so important, then Scripture is strangely silent about it.
In fact, I find this perspective so bizarre, that I don’t even know how to argue against it. Telling me that I shouldn’t have “fallen in love” with my husband before marriage is like telling me not to breathe air. I can’t help it. If I’m alive, its what I’m naturally doing. I just thank God I wasn’t afraid of it – because I would have missed out on of one of the most amazing, wonderful, exciting, breathtaking experiences in my entire life.