External locus of control and internal locus of control

Jack’s article was on Start Small to Build Internal Locus of Control was a bit interesting to me.

In general, an internal locus of control does correlate well to most successful behaviors, but I think this may be a bit short sighted in terms of being a Christian.

In particular, consider evangelism. Our mission as Christians is the Great Commission — “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations” — which is a goal oriented one that greatly benefits from an internal locus of control. Paul was a good example of this as a tireless worker for the gospel. However, Paul also understood that despite the fact that God is responsible for the outcomes of making it grow.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

This is why in relationships, including those between men and women including marriage, the big thing to focus on is to do what is pleasing to God at all times. You can control your behavior and your behavior can certainly influence the other person, but God is going to be the one responsible for working in their heart over time.

Going back to the main topic like this, I think it’s important to focus on being process oriented versus results oriented which I have discussed before.

In particular, being process oriented is an internal locus of control where you are most concerned about how you acted and you are not concerned about her reactions. Results should generally be an external locus of control that God is responsible with, though also understanding that how our obedience to Him can be have the effect of influence them toward the gospel, respect, submission, or any other Biblical quality.

This is why I say things like in Attitudes and marriage that I don’t fear my wife and I’ve counted the cost of getting married. Even if she leaves me I would feel hurt, but it wouldn’t impede me from doing what is right and serving God. If we fear any external circumstances and allow them to impede righteous behavior, we already enter a state where it’s most likely the case that the process has gone bad and the result follows. Yeah, sometimes the process is right and the result doesn’t come, but God calls us to be good and faithful servants even when we don’t understand why the results aren’t there.  

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Disparities in college education might explain much of the gap in marriage

In Why do most societies have 90-95% marriage rates (at some points) I noted some of the various points such men having higher status as some of the reasons why the assortive mating has dropped.

One of the most recent IFS blog articles on What the Latest Current Population Survey Tells Us About the Future of Fertility has a good chart confirming this. Basically at least up until the 1950s, women married consistently at a 95% rate. However, as the free love and sexual revolutions generations started kicking off in the 1960s and 1970s it has been trending down over time.

I’ve theorized on several articles that it could reach the 20-30% range with the latest generations giving the delays in marriage and overall dropping patterns.

Several articles have started talking about the men in college gap. One from WSJ is more of an interview piece (though behind a paywall), but the IFS blog on Boys Are Falling Farther and Farther Behind Their Sisters: Should We Care? attempts to tackle it too.

There is a growing gender gap in higher education. According to the latest figures from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center: as of spring 2021, women accounted for 59.5% of students attending colleges and universities nationwide. Among four-year private colleges, women now account for 61% of all students. Both figures represent new records. Douglas Shapiro, executive director of research at the National Student Clearinghouse, told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month that if current trends continue, within a few years there will be two women graduating from college for every one man.

Well, so what? In 1970, men accounted for 58% of students attending colleges and universities, and there was no great outcry back then about the gender imbalance. Why should we be concerned now that the pendulum has swung in the other direction?

I think there are good reasons for concern, which can be summed up in three words: “educational assortative mating.” Educational assortative mating means that if a woman has earned a four-year degree and she is looking for a husband, she will usually choose a man whose educational achievement is equal to or greater than her own. Fifty years ago, if a man earned a four-year degree and was looking for a woman to marry, he might have many qualifications in mind for his future wife; but educational attainment was not one of them. In that era, college-educated men were happy to marry women who had never attended college. In our era, college-educated women are hoping to marry college-educated men. And there are not enough college-educated men to go around.

The article continues to go deeper into cultural changes against masculinity and pro femininity that have pushed those trends that way over time from 58% of men in 1970 to 41% of men in 2021. However, the author really doesn’t take it far enough as others have done in which the educational system is biased against men and there is an informal/formal war on boys in many cases.

The gap though between men and women stands at 59% – 41% = 18% populational gap between men and women in higher education. Given that women are hypergamous, it wouldn’t be too far off to say that a lot of women aren’t too happy with marrying down. Education is one of those as both a status symbol and for earning potential as college graduates (who don’t choose liberal arts degrees) have much higher earning potential than their non-college graduate peers. 

Women’s overall physical attractiveness was positively correlated with all six of the good investment abilities, in four cases significantly so—income potential, good earning capacity, college graduate, and older then self.

I suspect the 18% gap is a large portion of the 20-30% unmarried we’ll see as if hypergamy isn’t satisfied women will not want to marry, and the rest at the moment seems to be centered around the sub-cultures in various lower income areas. There’s been much speculation (and correct, I think) that marriage is mostly a middle to upper-middle to upper class construct nowadays. Of course, cohabitation takes up some of that percentage but not all of it.

Of course, this also correlates with the fact that The Ideal Husband? A Man in Possession of a Good Income .

As Figure 1 illustrates, for men, as income increases, the probability of marriage also increases such that men in the highest income category are about 57 percentage points more likely to marry than men in the lowest income category. The same is not true for women. High income men are more likely than low income men to marry, while income is unrelated to marriage for women. Given that marriage involves choice on both the man and the woman’s part, these results suggest that women are more likely to choose to marry men with good financial prospects, while a woman’s financial prospects are less important to men when choosing a marriage partner.

Not only are high-income men more likely to marry, they are more likely to stay married, too. Figure 2 shows the probability of divorce for those who have been married at least once, and reveals that for men the probability of divorce declines as income rises, such that men in the highest income category are about 37 percentage points less likely to divorce than men in the lowest income category. For women the probability of divorce increases as income rises, perhaps mostly due to reverse causality and the fact that divorced women are more likely to have to support themselves financially. For men, the results suggest that women are more likely to divorce low income men than high income men.

We already knew this though. Men that are more wealthy are more likely to marry, and if a man loses his job or earns less than a woman she is more likely to divorce. In the case of women divorcing, it’s the hypergamous impulse that drives it but she can generally support herself as well and doesn’t need her husband.

Ironically, all of these IFS blogs are by different authors, but they are connected.

Overall, for men who want to be married, being college educated and/or having good income prospects (if non-college educated) are usually looked at highly by women. However, they are not the only things that women are looking for attraction-wise at least — the rest of PSAL in PSALMs and masculinity.

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Sexual authority is only for sex and not against sex

I’ve seen this often from complementarians and egalitarians but was just reminded of it from Full Metal Patriarch’s post on Doug Wilson’s quaduple-speak.

He quotes from Doug’s book:

Yes, she must have sex whenever you want it. And you must refrain whenever she wants to refrain. You have authority over her body, but never forget that she also has authority over your body.”

Fidelity, pp. 109-110

Let’s actually read the passage, shall we?

1 Corinthians 7:3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

The intent of the passage starts in verse 3 where each spouse to fulfill their marital duty to the other. Thus, verse 4 speaks that each spouse should rightfully give their spouse sex when they desire it. Verse 5 continues along this theme of not depriving each other except for a special situation where both agree to it for spiritual purposes.

It’s an absolutely contradictory reading of the passage to suggest that husbandly authority over the wife’s body and the wifely authority over the husband’s body means that that she should have sex with you but her authority over your body means she can stop you from that. The whole passage including each verse is about fulfilling the marital duty not refraining from it, and refraining from it is only by mutual consent and prayer. The authority is indicated to have sex, but there is no authority to not have sex.

It’s no better than the egalitarian cherry pickers saying that Eph 5:21 “and [church members should] submit to one another in Christ” also applies to the marriage verses. It’s just bad exegesis of the text.

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Reflecting on effective leadership for those in the Church as well as husbands

I typically go over the various Biblical marital roles and responsibilities when discussing what to strive for since they are mandated by God for our benefit in marriage.

However, one thing that I don’t often talk about are the distinct traits that make one both a good leader in the Church as well as the home.

I included these in the book because I think they are good for all men to strive for in their life even when single to prepare them for leadership roles in the Church if any, and they are helpful prior to getting a wife too as they build both attractive and relationship sustaining traits.

1 Timothy 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, skillful in teaching, 3 not overindulging in wine, not a bully, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.

8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not insincere, not prone to drink much wine, not greedy for money, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 These men must also first be tested; then have them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

In these we have this list, of which I only am adding 1 time for those that overlap.

  • Above reproach / Be tested to be above reproach
  • One wife
  • Temperate
  • Self-Controlled
  • Respectable
  • Hospitable
  • Skilled at teaching
  • Doesn’t overindulge in alcohol
  • Not a bully but gentle
  • Not contentious
  • Free from the love of money <— big one for American Pa$tor$
  • Manages his own household well
  • Children are kept under control
  • Not a new convert
  • Good reputation with those outside of the Church
  • Man of dignity
  • Sincere
  • Holding to the faith with a clear conscience

It’s a full laundry list of things. Those who strive to do all of these things are generally very mature and effective within the faith and Church already with others, so obtaining a leadership position is generally all but a formality.

Although some of these can only be done with a wife and kids (e.g. husband of one wife, manage children well), most of these can be done absent of a wife and kids, and they are much like 2 Peter 1 in an effective way to practice to be stronger and more mature in the faith.

Some of these expressed in action are attractive to the opposite sex, though most I would say tend to sustain relationships effectively.

He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity

NASB may not do this passage as much credit as some other translations which say “rules his household well.”

Imagine if elders, deacons, and men’s groups actually talked about how to rule their own households well. If you even mention that to most people in the Church today their heads would explode.

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Geriatric pregnancy

One of the funnier topics I saw the other day on facebook was that some of the older millennial women were complaining and offended about when their doctors used the term “geriatric pregnancy” when they went in to get checkups.

The definition of geriatric pregnancy is having a pregnancy at or anytime you are 35 or older. Of course, this is most of these women’ 1st or 2nd kid (and probably last), and a bunch of them are more at risk for birth defects because of their age as well as various complications. 

But they’re “soooo offended” by the term they can’t look to see past the fact that delaying children is indeed not normal and increases risks for everything. Some of the same women were posting about their difficulties conceiving as well in prior posts.

It really just doesn’t register with people that all actions have consequences.

Oh, forgot to add the IFS discussion on this topic.

https://ifstudies.org/blog/fertility-rates-delayed-marriage-and-infertility

I (Dr. McIlhaney) wrote in a 1998 book, “Gonorrhea and chlamydia are spreading like wildfire among young people in the United States. They are the most rapidly increasing cause of infertility in the United States.” I also noted, “Of women who are infertile, one-third have that problem because of damage to their fallopian tubes from one of these two sexually transmitted diseases.” (Damage to the fallopian tubes may prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg, or it may prevent a fertilized egg from traveling to the uterus and being implanted there.) Back then, statistics clearly showed that if the woman was experiencing infertility, such damage, caused by STDs, was the most likely reason.

The CDC confirms that the risk of STD-caused fallopian tube damage remains today—but now, it is only the second most common cause for a woman’s fertility problems. Problems of ovulation have taken over the top spot among reasons women struggle to become pregnant. Such problems can be caused by a fairly common disease called Polycystic Ovarian Disease (or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).

However, the social trends already noted also have biological implications. Today the median age of first marriage for women is over 28 years of age. The “median” age of first marriage means that half of all women marry for the first time when even older—with many not attempting pregnancy until well after age 30. Though we were concerned 20 years ago about delayed attempts at conception, those delays generally were not as long as they are today.

Delays in marriage until later in life do not simply reduce the number of years available for (marital) childbearing. They may make it more difficult to conceive in the first place.

Studies show that fertility begins dropping from age 30 on. More significant decline sets in later in the 30s. Many women’s ovarian responsiveness moves into the zone of what is now called POI (primary ovarian insufficiency), or “premature ovarian failure.” As POI develops, women have less chance of becoming pregnant without new reproductive technologies (which may be expensive, if they are even available for her). If her ovaries have become even more unresponsive, she will often not have an ovum (egg) that is fertile, or at times, she may have no ovum at all—and therefore, no chance of becoming pregnant without assistance.

So, STD-damaged fallopian tubes are no longer the number one cause of female infertility today. Among women, the number one issue preventing pregnancy is ovulation related. These problems of ovulation are overwhelmingly due to the delayed age at which women are attempting to become pregnant.

Sexual promiscuity promoted via feminism and delayed marriages for improving your career have consequences. Often disastrous ones in terms of infertility. No shortage of women struggling with it on my FB friends as well. Some have gone the route of IVF to varying success. 

Can’t buck God without paying the consequences.

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Forgiveness and conflict resolution effect on sexual satisfaction in marriage

Institute for family studies continues to put out some gems here and there. One of the common ones most cited I usually cite is their pre-marital sex and marriage stability one which does some more analysis on the Heritage study like Social Pathologist’s posts.

For forgiveness, our results indicate that wives’ forgiveness showed no significant impact on their sexual satisfaction. However, we found that husbands who are more forgiving tend to report that they are more sexually satisfied, as illustrated by Figure 1 below. 

Reading the chart from left to right, we see that husband’s sexual satisfaction varies depending on how forgiving husbands tend to be. In this chart, husband’s predicted sexual satisfaction at varying levels of husband’s forgiveness is represented by the blue bars. Specifically, we observed that husbands with high levels of forgiveness tended to have greater than average sexual satisfaction, where the average level of sexual satisfaction is at zero. In contrast, we observed that husbands with low levels of forgiveness tended to have lower than average sexual satisfaction.

Of note, greater conflict resolution quality was connected to greater sexual satisfaction for both husbands and wives. This finding for husbands is represented above with the orange bars and below for wives with the green bars. 

The narrative is the same for both husbands and wives: individuals with high levels of conflict resolution quality tend to have above average levels of sexual satisfaction, while individuals with low levels of conflict resolution quality tend to have below average levels of sexual satisfaction.

This one in particular yields some good insights. 

Obviously, conflict resolution generally depends on how well a person can think outside of themselves and understand the other person. In particular, for Christians this also means choosing to put on the fruit of the Spirit in the midst of hard circumstances rather than default to conflict, anger, and strife.

Husband forgiveness and conflict resolution ability are both positively correlated with sexual satisfaction. This seems to relate back to some of the Biblical commands, aside from the fruit of the Spirit:

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not become bitter against them.

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Indeed, husbands shouldn’t become bitter toward their wives which hinders forgiveness. Those husbands that can understand that the wife is different and weaker will tend to have a better time forgiving her and working things out since she is not like you.

Conflict resolution makes sense in that if the couple are fighting they’re not likely to be having sex or satisfied with having sex as much. Negative emotions are typically a turn off.

Ironically, only wife conflict resolution relates to sexual satisfaction while forgiveness does not. I suspect there may be several reasons for this. This probably follows along the old saying “it is better to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.” In other words, men who are assertively doing things and acting as the leader have much more leeway for forgiveness from their wives than men who are timid and asking for permission.

This seems a bit counterintuitive, but the former assertive man would be more attractive and hence her forgiveness — even if it’s a lot or a little — would be less correlated with her desire to have sex with him. Whereas the undecisive man who is asking for permission all the time and screwing things up — even if it’s a lot or little — does not get the benefit of the doubt in terms of sex. He’s always going to be trying to seek approval of his wife for things, so her forgiveness matters little in terms of sexual satisfaction as she’s not going to be wanting to have sex with him anyway.

It seems in either case, forgiveness is not correlated with the good or the bad which is why it seems to be a wash in this case.

All this is to say, obey God’s marital roles and responsibilities as they’re not just about pleasing God, but they typically help with sexual satisfaction too.

Although many studies have examined the association between religion and sexuality, the majority of these studies have focused on nonmarital sex. Unfortunately, despite the fact that a satisfying sexual relationship plays a critical role in married couples’ relationship quality and stability, the associations between religiosity and marital sexual satisfaction are not well understood. Thus, to examine the association between religiosity and couples’ reports of married sexual satisfaction, the authors of this study used dyadic data from a nationally representative sample of married couples (N = 1,368) between the ages of 18 and 45. They used both joint and individual measures of religiosity as well as examining the relationship mechanisms that might link religiosity and sexual satisfaction. In the models, individual-level reports of marital sanctification were positively associated with wives’ and husbands’ reports of sexual satisfaction. Furthermore, joint religious activities done in the home were positively associated with husbands’ reports of sexual satisfaction. Marital commitment, relationship maintenance behaviors, and spousal time fully mediated these associations for husbands, while commitment partially mediated the association for wives.

Furthermore, Joint religiosity and married couples’ sexual satisfaction in the abstract above that is linked in the IFS post seems to indicate that doing religious activities in the home increases sexual satisfaction. This lends some good credence to Deuteronomy 6 as well as the NT Biblical marital roles and responsibilities.

In particular, the man acting as the leader and setting an example to follow (commitment, maintenance behaviors, spousal time) fully associated with improved sexual satisfaction. Whereas on the other hand, commitment only partially mediates the association for wives.

Genesis 3:16b Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.

I think the partially mediated commitment makes sense in that a wife can choose to follow or not (rebellious and discontent vs fighting against those) is the duality of the choice wives make everyday. For the wives that do, it’s correlated. For the wives that don’t, it’s not.

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Complementarian “agreement as godliness” is the same concept as liberal tolerance

A very interesting connection popped into my head the other day as I was discussing motivations and desires of wives in the marriage and how it relates to submission.

Relational archetypes and more insight into the false godliness of complementarianism theology has a quote I want to build on:

Complementarianism claims that the husband and wife discuss everything and then the husband’s vote is a tie break [if there is disagreement]. What happens in practice is everything is all well and good as long as the husband is making decisions that the wife likes, but when he doesn’t she emotionally manipulates him until she gets her way. Ironically, this is pretty much similar to how things run in egalitarian and most non-feminist but egalitarian relationships and marriages. The only time you have women in charge explicitly is when the woman/wife actually literally says she wears the pants.

On the surface there is the claim that these things are happening, but under the surface they are all the same: disrespect and manipulation tactics are coming a man’s way if he wants something that she disagrees with. That’s why I still think the lines are in the same place. When push comes to shove, the wife is in control or exerts tactics to make sure she gets what she wants.

One aspect I’ve noticed is that the more a husband and wife agree on most everything in the case of complementarianism or other non-feminists structures the more ambiguous it looks to us. However, many of the complementarians will take this as a sign of godliness — “wow, their marriage is so great because they’re in agreement on everything.” If we remember back to CBMW’s definition of headship, their interpretation of Scripture is the husband and wife should agree on everything and if they disagree then the husband gets the tie break.

However, this is not a sign of godliness but just two people getting along well usually by personality and underlying dynamic. When push comes to shove and the husband decides something that his wife doesn’t like, we’ll see how godly she is with her respect and submission. The wives who pass this test of godliness today are definitely in the minority.

Moreover, this incorrect assumption of “godliness by agreement” gives the layperson husband and wives (and even pastors I believe) the wrong impression and makes it much more difficult to have real godliness when there is actually a disagreement. For instance, “we had such a godly marriage until this came up” — no, not really. You agreed with each other a bunch because you have similar personalities and there was no conflict. When conflict came, your real character and ability to honor God was revealed. And it wasn’t pretty.

True headship does not require consulting on every directive because authority is able to be delegated in the Scripture and can be by a husband. For example, if a wife has expertise in a certain area a husband might delegate that to her and also if there are minor decisions like day to day life style he can say I trust your judgment on them.

What is interesting about the concept of agreement as godliness is that that it probably has its roots in liberal/feminist philosophies of tolerance. Liberal tolerance is that we accept everyone for who they are and everyone needs to get along. This is one of the highest forms of “moral” good according to them exemplified in multi-culturalism.

The exception, in this case, being much like the complementarians’ begrudging husband tiebreaker vote, they take it a step further and if you’re not “tolerant” (e.g. not in agreement with their moral code) then it’s their way or the highway. They’ll mock you, cancel you, vandalize your property, dox you, or whatever else. This is a default to being Gentiles understanding of authority.

Matthew 20:25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Complementarians are so scared of husband authority that they try to marry liberal/feminist philosophies with the Bible instead of believe what Jesus teaches in verses 26-28. Either that or they warp the verses to the ubiquitous “servant leadership” where in practice the husband is a slave to his wife’s feelings of happiness or dissatisfaction.

Imagine Abraham when God told him to go to Canaan: “Well God, I actually like it in Ur way better and don’t want to wander around for dozens of years. I don’t agree with your decision, but since you have the tiebreaker vote I’ll go.”

Or the disciples to Jesus: “Jesus, I don’t like the way you’re doing ministry. I’m too scared to go out with you on the road to minister to other people. But since you have the tiebreak, I guess I’ll try to do it for you.

You’d get laughed out of the room and rightly so. But somehow complementarians endorse this with wives in marriage.

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Female hypoagency is ubiquitous

One of the common denominators across a wide spectrum including feminists, egalitarians, complementarians, “Christian” dating and marital advice, “Christian” counseling and even the federal headship crew is female hypo-agency.

Full metal Patriarch did a good job at pointing this out with If your husband is a godly man, submission will be easy! in the Christian dating/marital advice crowd.

This almost always follows the variations of “If a man does, then women…”

Feminists use this in terms of their call against victim blaming. Well, if men would only stop raping, while excusing women for their poor choices such as getting blackout drunk. Men shouldn’t rape, but I highly doubt that the men who rape actually care about their moral state or not doing harm to women.

Feminists and egalitarians use this to argue against Biblical headship, but twist it to push women in authority. “If only men wouldn’t abuse their authority…” which turns into men shouldn’t have authority at all.

This is common in complementarian denial of actual headship in practice though displaying lip service to it. The Christian husband can’t be trusted to wield authority in a right way, thus they concede that the husband has a tiebreak vote if he and his wife disagree. “If only we could trust the husband to use authority in a right way… then the wife could submit to him.”

Federal headship is the weird but common case where basically Christians of varying feminist and patriarchal backgrounds claim that the wife is a reflection of the husband. If the wife doesn’t want to have sex with her husband then her husband is doing something wrong. If a wife doesn’t want to obey her husband then the husband is doing something wrong. “If only the man would obey God in everything, then the wife would want to submit to him.”

All of this stems from the underlying assumption of “men bad, women good” where women end up in a faultless or moral compass situation.

This is also why any Christian woman’s Bible study on submission almost inevitably ends up as 90-100% talking about what the men should be doing.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

The importance of Ephesians 5 cannot be overstated. Wives have their own role, separate and independent of what the husband is doing, to be accountable to God for and to carry out with all of her ability.

Likewise, husbands have the duty to love their wife for the purpose of sanctification (and not her feelings). This means to point out areas of sin where she should repent and do right instead. This follows the example of Christ, the second Adam, to lead His Church to be reconciled to God rather than the first Adam who followed his wife instead of God.

Conversations on these topics must always be vigilant that they don’t trend toward female hypoagency. Both men and women are responsible for their own roles to play in relationships, even if the other person is doing right or doing wrong.

 

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Paul’s idealism and pragmatism with more wisdom

One of the things that has always stuck with me that I’m not sure I mentioned on this blog before at least is Paul’s idealism with singleness contrasted with the more pragmatic approach he takes later in the pastoral letters. One could argue that scholars believe that the pastoral letters aren’t necessarily written by Paul, but at least if they weren’t then the early Church would still recognize the validity of Paul’s recommendations contrasted with more pragmatic approaches for certain populations.

For example,

1 Corinthians 7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

Paul’s idealistic mandate is for people to remain single to serve the Lord wholeheartedly if possible. On the other hand,

1 Timothy 5:3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

Paul recognizes that although it’s ideal for younger widows to remain single to serve the Lord, that’s not what is occurring in reality. These widows would make the pledge to stay single to serve the Lord, but then want to marry and break that pledge. Even those that did not break the pledge were becoming busybody gossips if they were on the support lists.

Proverbs 16:27 (NLB) Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.

I believe this is also why in Titus that younger women are counseled to focus their behavior on loving their husband and children and be busy with their homes.

Titus 2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

In any case, I think there is room for both idealism and pragmatism in the Christian approach especially as it concerns behavior. We want people to strive for the ideal, but we have to understand that at least certain populations need their own specific guidelines to help them become more spiritually mature. It may not look for the same for everyone.

Women in particular seem vulnerable and 1 Peter 3 calls wives the weaker vessel, so we must be ready to protect them when necessary even when they don’t want it or call it sexist. If they decide to rebel against it then that’s on their own head, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t understand that they won’t necessarily have the capacity like many men.

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Online dating lessons summarized

Aaron Renn’s blog had several posts where users shared their experiences after his article on online dating. I’m going to group them with the commonalities of the ones that had success and the ones that didn’t.

As people know, I didn’t have success either with about 200+ messages, 5 replies, 3 multi-replies, and 1 date. Facially I’m probably about a 5 I would guess. Slightly below average height. Definitely not in the top looks or anything. However, I probably had deficiencies with my profile as well compared to some of the other men we’ll look at.

Online dating success story

Successfully married:

  • Mid 30s, not overweight or out of shape
  • Pictures were of activities that he liked to do
  • Cast a wide net — messaged all available women he found attractive
  • Any received messages try to get to dates with small amounts of messaging
  • Owns a house, business, and farm
  • Had expectations of other personal details.

Failure but lessons:

  • Late 20s at the time. Below average height and a little overweight, but high income for age and owned own house.
  • Faith based sites generally better because of more women
  • Premium sites slightly better because more people are serious (lifetime fee premium possibly best?).
  • Non-religious sites messages are fired off into the ether never to return. Most of his responses coming from women that he found barely attractive to message (e.g. his profile was of probably only slightly above average attractiveness).
  • Catholic Match and Ave Maria singles were good as a Catholic. Phoned a few and met two in person.
  • “A little more mature at the time, may have married someone he met online”

How to make the most of online dating

Successfully married:

  • Early 40s, 5’6″, 185 stocky muscular (not flabby – big difference).
  • Own business, has all hair, never married, no children, large southeast metro area
  • Little success on match.com, OKcupid, plenty of fish, coffee meets bagel
  • Bumble (where women message first) was very good. Swipe right on all 40 profiles per day and wait for them to write. 25 matches/wk and half write. Those half are interested. Could convert to 4-6 dates per week, but 3-5 first dates to improve quality was norm. 1-2 get a second date.
  • Biggest change from little to lots of interest: quality pictures. When traveling Europe paid to get stylish and casual photos for a business website, which he used for dating profile. Photos implied financially successful without boat and sport car cliches.
  • Profile written slightly obnoxiously to refer to him as the prize. Selective/worthy to join my club type. Made fun of women who like to shop at Target. Only described as Christian looking for a relationship without any other religious references.
  • Almost all women who wrote were 28-42. Most were cute, but somehow the algorithm was ‘convinced’ he ‘deserved’ cute women.
  • Half say what’s up or mention the obnoxious profile. Those who reference profile tend to have more personality in person. Establish some points of interest and then after 12-15 messages go on a date if more interest.
  • Not relevant to go into detail about what you really want or what your interests are. Few paragraphs about why if you want to read the link.
  • Knows how to talk to people and make them feel comfortable which is what men need to learn how to do to be successful on dates and helpful for all aspects of life even in marriage.
  • Action points: get good photos, writing should show humor and self confidence, teasing is a plus, take the written parts seriously. Don’t go into hyper detail about your relationship with God or views on theology generally as you can do that later. Start with Bumble.

My experience with online dating

Failure:

  • Did fairly well with attracting women growing up in high school and college. “Funny enough, smart enough, tall enough and physically attractive enough that was reasonably happy with the prospects able to attract but usually screwed it up once there was interest (e.g. male feminist).”
  • First 50% of the post is analyzing about how the algorithms work.
  • 28 months went on 6 dates after 70,000 profile views, 60,000 unattractive ones, 800 likes, 75 matches from 800 likes (~10%), 33-34 conversations, 6 dates.
  • Saw a great looking girl on the app and liked her. Didn’t hear back. Saw her at a party, and she liked him in person since he was comfortable, laughing, and in many ways the life of the party. Didn’t work out cause he did some research and she seemed like a cultural Christian.
  • “in a global marketplace you need to be the top of the very, very top. In a local marketplace you just need to be the top of WHOEVER ELSE IS AROUND.”

Others:

  • Met on e-harmony 2007-2008. Hardest part was figuring out who was “above my station” and “below my station” (in attractiveness I guess?) and marketing self toward that.
  • Another knows several who met online but not through dating platforms. Mainly specific interest groups.

Overall, it appears that if you want to go the online dating route that you:

  • Get professional photos
  • At least be in the “top 20%” in a couple categories (e.g. own house, business) if you have some relative negatives like being shorter on average.
  • Cater profile to be Christian but also funny and confident and successful (e.g. tick off traits that appeal to hypergamy).
  • Cast a wide net, and try to convert any message/interest into dates rapidly.
  • Be a bit more selective on the 2nd dates.

I’m not sure my profile would have done any better with some of these things, but maybe it would have. If you’re still interested in online dating, give some of these things a shot.

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