Tiffani Knowles on Dating, Marriage, and What I Wish I’d Known at 15

I feel like suing Joshua Harris for wrecking my love life. Why, do you ask?

I remember 1997 like it was yesterday. This new book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye had just been published and it was all the rage on Christian radio. I had already committed to sexual purity after going to a Ron Luce event called Acquire the Fire and I wanted to know if and how I should date — God’s way.

These are the words of famed author Joshua Harris: “Relationships with the opposite sex can no longer be about having a good time or learning what I want in a relationship. They’re not to be about getting but giving. Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God has loved us. To lay down our desires and do what’s in his or her best interest.”

Today, Harris denies every word. Not only has he reneged the merits of non-dating but he has divorced the wife he courted (the subject of his second book Boy Meets Girl) and has also disavowed his Christian faith.

Tiffani Knowles is the managing editor and founder of NEWD Magazine. | Courtesy of Tiffani Knowles

It is important to note that, at the time, Harris’s book got a lot more supportive press from the evangelical radio personalities than its counterpart I Gave Dating a Chance written by Jeramy Clark a few years later. And by the time the new millennium rolled around, I had already been significantly indoctrinated by Harris and his teachings around “holy courtship.” But, you know what, that was just what the church wanted — to reinforce my goody-two-shoes reputation.

I remember devouring the book as a ninth-grader living in Miami, Florida, surrounded by images of sex, drugs and reggaeton.

I was not a lovesick teen but I did have some celebrity crushes…Tiger Woods, Jerry O’Connell, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

I just knew that channeling my affection toward anyone other than an on-screen beau could lead me down a path of heartbreak and destruction, per Joshua Harris.

So, I refused to date. Settling instead for an intense, no-nonsense, marriage-only mentality. Now, you tell me. What 17-year-old living in the developed world was ready to share in my mentality without being freaked? No, not one. Thus, you can imagine the crushing blow I was delivered after my first male relationship was met with an “I told you that I was going away to school and I wasn’t sure about us” break-up line. And, that was just the beginning.

I became a steady failure at “holy courtship.” For all intents and purposes, I was trying to, as Harris encouraged, echoing Proverbs 4:23, “guard my heart.” Yet, I was getting broken over and over again after each twenty-something male was coming head to head with my Harris-fortified intensity about relationships.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Tiffani Knowles