Monday, 15 February 2010

I Kissed Dating Goodbye- Joshua Harris Book Review

I was given this book a couple years ago and read it once then. Now I've read it again, and shall review it with it fresh in my mind! Joshua Harris is an American pastor and author, and this book is perhaps the most well known.

The book cover contains a suave looking gentlemen and the title is written in a classy gold font. The whole design has a slight aged feel, the desaturation of colours and the use of earthy sepia tones, make this extremely interesting to look at, and the design is one that is timeless.

Here is a chapter by chapter summary and what I have learnt from it. You can skip to the end for an overall insight.

Chapter 1: So This is Love?
The book starts off with an anecdote from Joshua Harris and his own personal love life. From this, we can see that he has hurt others as well as himself in the past, and through this book, reveals the path he took to restore himself, as well as giving insight to how we can mend or change our attitude towards relationships and dating.

Chapter 2: The Little Relationship Principle
Joshua Harris outlines this chapter with a simple story of his appearance on TV and develops through a question asked on there, and later reveals his relationship principle: The joy of intimacy is the result of commitment.

I completely agree with many of the things already said. What are we trying to achieve through dating? What is the goal of dating if not marriage? Sex? Self gratification? Validation? And what happens once that's over... or you no longer get what you were "after"? Do you move on to the next? The modern day norm of dating seems odd... and it is evident from the people today that so much hurt has come from the dating standards shown on TV, magazines and posters everywhere.

But if we refocus our intentions and see men and women NOT as objects of sexual gratification, but the bond between us and them meaningful, deep and genuine, something REAL can occur.WT

Chapter 3: The Seven Habits of Defective Dating

This chapter outlines seven habits that are found in defective relationships. This is one of my favourite chapters, as it is a great reminder that love is sometimes blind, and we have to be more objective than delusional in a relationship. Also, another thing is that we mustn't forget about the other relationships we have already, such as family and friends.

It is important to note that not everyone will encounter these but they are things to look out for, and if these points are familiar to you, to try and solve these problems.

These seven habits are pretty much for dating relationships in general, so anyone can relate to and be reminded of these pitfalls!

Chapter 4: Counterculture Romance

Since the last chapter focussed on the principles of defective dating; this chapter follows on to provide some application methods to prevent these pitfalls that could arise in a relationship. I think these things that are suggested can be implicated easily during child development and really requires control not to be influenced by the media, and really acting out against it!

Chapter 5: Looking Up "Love" In God's Dictionary
This chapter outlines "Love" in the context of Christianity, and how God's unconditional love for us is so great that he sent his only son to die for us. Putting this into a relationship context, we must not be "selfish" and take take take from a relationship but think about how this relationship might affect the other person, and the hurts that could arise.

I think that a big problem today is selfishness, whether in relationships or not. The world screams as us to think about ourselves, and the idea of "survival of the fittest". Me Me Me! For life in general, I am reminded not to just think of myself, but of the people around me!

Chapter 6: The Right thing at the Wrong Time is the Wrong Thing
Patience is the key, and to enjoy the gift of singleness. Many people look to start relationships and spend their time hunting their other half, when they could better use their time to serve God or otherwise.

This chapter was slightly waffle-y although it gave some good insight into waiting until you are ready to commit, and was presented in a clear way.

Chapter 7: The Direction of Purity
How do we stay "pure"? We must set standards that are WAYY above the world's. We must not let ourselves be tempted. It is easy to succumb step by step but if we remove ourselves from even these minute possibilities, we are able to remain in truth. This is very difficult to do, but we must keep this in mind, and at least be aware when we situations become temptations.

Chapter 8: A Cleansed Past: The Room
Joshua Harris shares a dream he has had, which is similar to what many people would've heard before about the "Sin Room". What would you feel if all your sins and everything you've done was written in a room? Wouldn't you be ashamed?

This chapter tells us that our sins have been forgiven due to Jesus' death on the cross, which means we can start again and rebuild our relationship with God. Personally, it is a great reminder to me that yes, I have sinned, but what am I going to do about it? Having this faith in God and Jesus means we can start again, in relationships and everything we do.

Chapter 9: Starting With a Clean Slate
Jesus, having died for our sins, means we can start with a clean slate. This chapter focuses on aspects we can do to keep in a state of purity, and what we should focus on instead, such as family, accountability and pleasing God.

I think it is important to strip yourself of everything that clouds you, and then rebuild from there, as it means you start anew and can bring everything that's important into your life and instead of removing bad bits bit by bit, you can get rid of it all straight away. Anyway, this chapter was helpful, but it mainly focuses on attitudes.

Chapter 10: Just Friends in a Just Do it World
This chapter talks about how we can keep a healthy friendship with people of the opposite sex and be aware when it perhaps crosses the line into intimacy. It is a grey area that we need to be careful of, and must use the help and support of friends and family.

I found this chapter a great reminder how sometimes we are unaware but people around us can tell by looking at a relationship. It also warns of intimacy not through physical aspects but also can be mentally and in other forms.

Chapter 11: Guard Your Heart
Our heart often wanders from what our mind tells it to do, and sometimes it feels like it has a mind of its own! Well, we must guard our hearts and make sure that we protect ourselves from the sinfulness it can bring. This chapter is helpful in identifying ways to do so, and is set out in a great format, and small sections separating all the ideas we need to look out for.

Chapter 12: Redeeming the Time
Before we enter into a relationship, we are Single!! It may sound patronising, but we must make good use of our time as single people, and not waste time chasing for our future spouses, when we can do much more with the time we're given as singles. It reminded me of the work I am set out to do, and the potential I can fulfil, and really do not need to obsess or over think about relationships until I am ready!

Chapter 13: Ready for the Sack but Not for the Sacrifice
Many people see marriage as this happy eternal bliss, but it isn't. There are many problems that occur in marriage: anger, fighting, jealousy... all these can affect the marriage! We must learn to be aware the reality of marriage and make sacrifices for each other! Whilst thinking about marriage is fine, we must also consider the "fine print", the pain and the sacrifice that comes with it!

Chapter 14: What Matters at Fifty?
Looking past appearances, it is important to see the person within. When they are 50, appearances no longer matter. So instead of judging your future spouse by their looks, start seeing their character.

This chapter helpfully outlines different areas we should not only be aware of but can also actively improve in our lives to make ourselves better spouses for the future!

Chapter 15: Principled Romance
What should we do once we HAVE found that special someone and feels mature to pursue the relationship? How do we take it the next step further? The chapter talks about methods of advancing the relationship healthily, and ways to build the relationship up for marriage.

I found this chapter perhaps one of the most useful. As good as it is to prepare yourself, this penultimate chapter helps you to actually act when you HAVE found someone you consider to be your future spouse!

Chapter 16: Someday I'll have a Story To Tell
This ending chapter tells the story of Josh Harris' parents love story, and sums up the book quite nicely in conclusion... and leaves us with a few questions to think about.

There is also an epilogue of the second book from Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl.

This book is excellent in discussing topics related to dating, and written in a way that is easy to understand. Each chapter talks about something different, and with each chapter, it is separated into sub chapters, lists, and outlines that really help! The personal experiences and anecdotes used by Joshua Harris makes this book genuine and you can feel real passion in his writing.

The whole book flows really well, from the beginning (identifying the problems) right to the end (solving the problems, preparing yourself, and action points once you are ready). My favourite chapters are Seven Habits of Defective Dating and Principled Romance, both of which have been most inspiring and eye-opening.

Although the book is written from a Christian perspective, the problems discussed can occur in any relationship, and the advice given can also be applied to any relationship. I would recommend this book to everyone of any age of both genders who wants a new, refreshing perspective on dating relationships!


  1. You might enjoy my blog where I also critique Josh Harris's book:
    "I Kissed Dating Goodbye: Wisdom or Foolishness?"

    Unfortunately Josh Harris is quick to point out the defects of dating but won't admit the problems and defects with his approach. Even at his own church he acknowledged a number of problems but doesn't share them on his website.


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