Is communication overrated?

I’ve been mulling over this concept recently.

If you ask almost any modern Christian, the first thing they will say is critical to a marriage is good communication. They won’t say the God or things like Bible’s marital roles and responsibilities.

If the husband and wife were able to keep putting God first, especially the Biblical marital roles and responsibilities and the fruit of the Spirit, how would that look?

There’s a reason why the Biblical marital roles and responsibilities are the way they are. They are to keep us united in oneness, even though we are prone to walking with the flesh rather than the Spirit. If the husband and wife are each doing their God-given roles and responsibilities (husband headship, love, honor and wife respect, submission, affection, etc. and freely giving themselves sexually to one another and growing in the fruits of the Spirit), you’re going to have not only a godly marriage but likely a successful and happy one too.

God knows what He is doing, yet we always try to convince ourselves we know better than God and want to do it our own way.

If you’re doing your God-given roles and responsibilities, most of the work is already done. You only need “good communication” if you want to keep arguing or being contentious with your spouse that God’s way isn’t the best way.

(Now, I’m not discounting the fact that it’s a good idea to communicate back and forth about various topics, but this can easily be warped into selfish principles of “what’s in it for me” rather than God’s).

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Book release near end of the month

Haven’t posted a book update in a while, but it’s almost here! The table of contents has changed significantly from the previous update so that it flows a lot better.

Here’s the updated table of contents:


Title: The Biblical Masculinity Blueprint: A Christian Man’s Guide to Attraction, Relationships, and Marriage in a Messed-up World

Section 1: The Bible and Culture
Chapter 1: The Bible and Culture
Chapter 2: Shifts in Marriage and Society
Chapter 3: The Feminization of the Church

Section 2: The Bible on Marriage
Chapter 4: The Creation of Man, Woman, and Marriage
Chapter 5: Gender Differences and Marital Roles
Chapter 6: Marriage is Optional

Section 3: Biblical Masculinity
Chapter 7: What Does it Mean to Be a Man?
Chapter 8: Cultivating Masculine Leadership
Chapter 9: The Orientation of a Man toward a Woman
Chapter 10: Attraction
Chapter 11: Barriers to Attraction

Section 4: The Cultivation Process from Singleness to Relationships to Marriage and Spiritual and Practical Maturity
Chapter 12: A Five-Step Process for Growing in Relationship
Chapter 13: Expectation Pitfalls to Relationships
Chapter 14: Managing a Healthy Relationship
Chapter 15: Finding and Choosing a Wife: A Prospective Timeline

Section 5: Leading a Marriage
Chapter 16: Identify and Understand Your Responsibilities
Chapter 17: Understand Dysfunctional Patterns
Chapter 18: Understanding the Christian Approach to Influence and Solving Marital Issues
Chapter 19: Common Pitfalls to Marital Headship
Chapter 20: Common Pitfalls to Marital Interactions


Thoughts

Overall, I’m fairly happy with how it turned out.

I noticed several different topics in the book that probably should have required additional explanations, and there’s a lot of topics on this blog that I simply wasn’t able to cover in depth. There’s obviously a lot more that can be said about all these topics, but I think it’s a very solid overview that any Christian man can read and learn from and take into his own Church to discuss with others.

I never started this blog with the intention of writing a book, but I’m glad that I could share some of my journey into understanding the Bible and how modern Christians stray from the Bible’s marital roles and responsibilities with many of you. It’s been quite the life changing experience, and I’ve carried this over into a lot of men’s ministry work that I do.

Regarding personal details, I am including some on the book but some are changed. I am also going to set most of my social media accounts to private.

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How attraction works and common misconceptions

I or others may have discussed this a while ago, but I don’t recall discussing it in post format. The numbering scale is the typically discussed format (1-10), but it really doesn’t indicate how it works in real life.

1. Attraction distributions

For example’s sake, let’s start out with your average white man who is maybe 2o lbs overweight, average face, dresses in baggy clothes, shaves once a week, has good hygiene otherwise, doesn’t style his hair, is part of a Church but doesn’t really participate much, sees women he likes but takes a few weeks or month to work up the courage to ask her out, and traits like these.

Numerically, this dude is probably a “5” or so if you were basing the fact that he is your average male, but technically he’s below average in the eyes of most women at like a “3.”

If you recall, the OKCupid observations that women found about 80% of men unattractive. Obesity in general has made the left end of the scale (the 1-5 part of the 1-10 scale) higher in weight so you have a skew in distribution.

Source.

For attraction, women have a right skewed attraction curve where there is a smaller percentage of men who are attractive in that right tail while the majority tend to sit on the right side in the unattractive zone.

2. How attraction works

Generally speaking, a percentile based format best describes one’s attraction at any particular one time.

Let say if this average dude, who is probably around a “3” in the eyes of women, asked out 100 women who were evenly distributed from very unattractive (“1”) to very attractive (“10”) would get maybe a 5% date rate.

Most of these women who would accept would be around his attraction in the 1-3ish range. Hypergamy plays a factor and also the fact that women’s expectations can be far above their own objective attractiveness.

So this average dude has probably a 5% date rate, and most if not all of that 5% skews to the unattractive women.

3. How modifications in one’s looks, status, leadership, and other traits affect attraction

Let’s say this average dude with 5% date rate of mostly unattractive women starts to work out and starts a diet to lose weight. This takes place over the course of 6-9 months, but he sheds all 20 lbs of fat and gains about 10 lbs of muscle.

By simply shedding 20 lbs of fat and gaining 10 lbs of muscle, this guy probably moves up from a “3” in women’s eyes to a 4 and maybe 5 in some eyes. His date rate will probably increase from about 5% to maybe 10%. In effect, doubling his date rate. If he asked the 100 women evenly distributed, it will still mostly be 1-3s but maybe a 4 or 5.

Now, let’s say over the course of another month or two, our average guy gets advice from his male or female friends about style and how that fits with him. Gets some nice fitting clothes, starts to style his hair, and groom well. By doing this, his success rate may bump another 5% of so.

So now his success rate of asking 100 women ranging from very unattractive to very attractive is about 15%. Most of them are still probably in the 1-3 range, but there are a few in the 4-5 range now and perhaps an occasional 6.

Now, lets say this man gets serious with his faith. He starts evangelizing when the chance comes up with his friends. He has diligently studied the Scriptures and gotten involved with loving and serving others in the Church. He has taken up a leadership role in a Bible study. By doing this, he has become much more secure and confident who he is in Christ and been developing leadership skills. By doing this, his success rate jumps up another 5%.

So now his success rate of asking 100 women ranging from very unattractive to very attractive is about 20%. Most of them are still probably in the 1-3 range, but there are a some in the 4-5 range now and maybe a couple 6s and an occasional 7.

Now, let’s say this man is pretty serious about relationships. He’s studied the Scriptural marital roles and responsibilities. He also knows he needs to learn how to lead a relationship. He works on his emotional IQ, and his communication skills to lead conversations and not be awkward. He works on his eye contact, not fidgeting, and teasing women. By doing this, his success rate jumps up another 5%.

So now his success rate of asking 100 women ranging from very unattractive to very attractive is about 20%. Most of them are still probably in the 1-3 range, but there are a bunch in the 4-5 range, some, few 6s, and an couple 7s. Still no 8s though.

4. Other thoughts and misconceptions on traits or characteristics that affect attractiveness

  • It must be noted that some things can be strong disqualifiers. If our average man had extremely poor hygiene and smelled extremely bad, his success rate could literally drop to 0%. Things like really bad acne or skin conditions can be strong disqualifiers but that is not always the case. It could just decrease certain percentages by 1% or 5% or 10% or more depending on how bad things are.
  • Will the increases in say working out and losing weight, style, developing leadership skills, and developing social skills and not being awkward result always in 5% increases? No, of course not. This is simply an example. Initially, it may take 10 lbs of lost weight to increase 1% date rate, but as you start looking better and better it may take 7 lbs then 4 lbs of lost weight to gain another 1% each.
  • Let’s note that this example guy only gained about 10 lbs of muscle. If he had gained 30 lbs of muscle, he might have jumped another 5-10% because doing from a “toned” appearance to a “muscular appearance” will typically drastically increase success rate, especially with stylish clothes and hair. First impressions do play a big role.
  • If a man was black, asian, hispanic, indian, or another race, his success rate compared to being white will drop accordingly to some percentage. It is harder for minorities to date than white. To speculate, it could drop say 5% for black and hispanic and maybe 10% for asian and indian. Thus, minority races typically have to compensate by strongly developing other traits and accept they’re at a disadvantage.
  • This is the same with height. The taller you are the easier it will be (to some extent). Very short men have a very bad disadvantage.
  • Additionally, if our average man is an expert or really good at music and occasionally plays on his Church’s worship team, you can bet that his success rate would probably jump some percentage points because of local status/fame inside his own Church. The women outside the Church might not know about this, but this certain skill which is exposed to a particular population would give increased success rate.
  • Generally speaking, very few men have >40-50% success rate when asking out women unless they are extremely attractive (8-9+ male) or are actually famous. Contrary to popular belief, some women just don’t like some attractive men for one reason for another so actual success rates don’t actually go up anywhere near 60-100%, except if a random celebrity asks out a bunch of random women on a date. Maybe then you’d get extremely high date rates.

There’s more that go into it than this, but these are a solid overview of how other things may affect attractiveness and date rate.

5. Relationships

Of course, none of this actually takes into account many of the different things that it takes to be successful in relationships.

Sustaining relationships tend to be based more on disqualifiers and character more than attractiveness. Since we’ve already assumed we are attractive (for the most part) the other party and they’ve accepted us as someone who they potentially think are attractive enough to marry, then the relationship is about mainly character and understanding Biblical marital roles and responsibilities.

How can a Christian man show that he is one who is going to love her, honor her, and help her to become more like Christ in the marriage? How can a Christian wife show her that she is going to submit to him, respect him, be affectionate, and be her husband’s helper in marriage? This is what the relationship portion is like leading toward engagement and marriage, as God’s ideal for us in marriage is that we adhere to His standards.

Often it is the case that relationships tend to expose our character flaws or find out where we may not be a good fit for our spouse. If, for example, a woman is looking to do missionary work overseas and you’re called to minister here at your Church, this could be a place where there is not a proper fit.

On the other hand, if our spouse responds more with anger or bitterness and lacks respect or wanting to learn how to please us or understand us, we understand that they may be a poor choice because they’re walking away from the fruits of the Spirit and Biblical marital roles and responsibilities and choosing their own self interest and selfishness.

Overall, this is not some rocket science. Depending where you are in male attractiveness, you need to look at what things may increase your percentage rates accordingly and try to figure out and minimize or remove any disqualifiers.

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Headship is authority

One of the things I ran into recently was someone actually claiming that Grudem’s word study on kephale (Koine Greek “head”) actually said that Grudem claimed head did not mean authority. I can only assume they went into it with preconceived notions and read his work incorrectly.

As Grudem notes in his personal reflections on the topic:

On October 5, 1979, I was a third-year pro-fessor at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and I was surprised to see that Christianity Todayhad come out with an article written by my neigh-bors just six houses down the street, Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen (Berkeley taught New Testa-ment at Bethel Seminary and Alvera taught jour-nalism at Bethel College). Their article was titled, “Does male dominance tarnish our translations?” They argued that the Greek word kephalē (literally, “head”) often means “source” but never “authority,” so that “the husband is the head of the wife” (Eph 5:23; cf. also 1 Cor 11:3) means “the husband is the source of the wife” and does not have authority over his wife. I thought the argument was wrong, but I didn’t have the time or material at hand to answer it. Then, a little later, Dr. George Knight came to Bethel College to lecture, and I said to him in passing, “George, you really need to write an article answering Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen’s claim that ‘head’ means ‘source.’” “No,” said George, “you need to write it.” Little did I know that that encouragement would affect the next thirty years of my life.

Six years later, in 1985, I published a twenty one-page article in Trinity Journal, “Does kephalē Mean ‘Source’ or ‘Authority Over’? An Examination of 2,336 Examples”2 —examples which took me some time to look up in ancient Greek literature!

There were several responses from egalitarians to that twenty-one-page article. So, five years later, in 1990, I published a seventy-page article in Trinity Journal,3 responding to other studies on the meaning of kephalē and showing that there were now over fifty examples where it meant “someone in authority,” or “a leader,” but never an instance where someone is said to be the “head” of someone else and was not in the position of authority over that person. Never.

But there were still more responses, and more people disagreeing. So eleven years after that, in 2001, I published another article, forty-one pages in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, on “The Meaning of kephalē (“Head”): An Evaluation of New Evidence, Real and Alleged.”4

So that’s 132 pages of lexicographical research published in academic journals on one word in the Bible. And these articles spanned sixteen years of my life.

Why did I do this? Because it was a crucial word in a crucial verse in a crucial issue. Destroying the meaning “authority over” for kephalē is crucial to the egalitarian argument. If in fact the Bible says in Eph 5:23 that “the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church,” and if head means, as I am convinced it does, “person in position of authority,” then the egalitarian cause is lost. That is because that verse anchors the husband’s headship in the headship of Christ over the church, which is not something culturally variable (and 1 Cor 11:3 makes it parallel to the eternal headship of the Father with respect to the Son in the Trinity)**. So the egalitarians cannot lose this argument, because if they lose on the meaning of that word, then they have lost their fundamental argument with regard to manhood and womanhood in marriage.

As has been noted before, having a honest look at Scripture with egalitarians and feminists is usually useless. They don’t care about what the Scriptures say. They care about taking their preconceived cultural values and twisting Scripture to agree with them. Look no further than attempting to twist kephale, “submit to one another in the fear of Christ,” “there is no male or female… for you are one in Christ Jesus,” and other Scriptures in an attempt to annul male headship and authority over a wife.

Of course, as I have noted before, usually most of these people have cultural blinders on their view of authority. Usually a bad experience with a parent or other authority figure which has left them scarred and thus hating authority rather than understanding it comes from God and it is good when used correctly.

I ran through the differences in opinion myself until I understood correctly.

** Grudem is likely off about eternal headship. Father-Jesus headship was modeled by Jesus here on earth but is likely not eternal given God is one and such things like the Nicene Creed. This is one of the potential heresies that Christians were fighting against early in the Church.

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Masculinity and violence

I came across an interesting study.

To understand and ultimately prevent injury and behavioural health outcomes associated with masculinity, we assessed the influence of masculine discrepancy stress (stress that occurs when men perceive themselves as falling short of the traditional gender norms) on the propensity to engage in stereotypically masculine behaviours (eg, substance use, risk taking and violence) as a means of demonstrating masculinity.

So basically this study is investigating “masculine discrepancy stress” which they define to be a term that means when a man feels like he is falling short of traditional gender norms. High masculine discrepancy stress means that a man thinks he is not living up to traditional gender norms, while low masculine discrepancy stress means that a man thinks he is living up to traditional gender norms.

Six-hundred men from the USA were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) online data collection site to complete surveys assessing self-perceptions of gender role discrepancy and consequent discrepancy stress, substance use/abuse, driving while intoxicated (DWI) and violent assaults. Negative binomial regression analyses indicated significant interactive effects wherein men high on gender role discrepancy and attendant discrepancy stress reported significantly more assaults with a weapon (B=1.01; SE=0.63; IRR=2.74; p=0.05) and assaults causing injury (B=1.01; SE=0.51; IRR=2.74; p<0.05). There was no association of discrepancy stress to substance abuse, but there was a protective effect of gender role discrepancy for DWI among men low on discrepancy stress (B=−1.19, SE=0.48; IRR=0.30; p=0.01).

Their results found that men with high masculine discrepancy stress (e.g. men who felt they were falling a lot short of traditional gender norms) reported significantly more violence with weapons and causing injuries.

Also, men with low discrepancy stress were less likely to get a DWI.

These findings suggest that gender role discrepancy and associated discrepancy stress, in particular, represent important injury risk factors and that prevention of discrepancy stress may prevent acts of violence with the greatest consequences and costs to the victim, offender and society.

Of course, this can be interpreted in two different ways.

Those who believe that gender is primarily biological with some cultural influence will see this and say to themselves that this is par for the course. Men without male role models like in areas with high rates of single motherhood like ghettos are less masculine and more prone to violence. This fact is obvious. What we need is better male role models for these men to learn how to be masculine and self controlled rather than feeling like they’re inadequate and taking out their aggression on others.

However, those who believe that gender is primarily a social construct will say to themselves that this proves that ‘traditional gender norms’ are bad because men who fail to live up to them will take out their violence on others. Thus, we should “remove traditional gender norms” so that men don’t have to try to be like them so that they will commit less violence.

One of these has a proven track record of success and one doesn’t. Unfortunately, most of western civilization is choosing the one that doesn’t.

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Stumbling blocks

Most people are familiar with how Christians are to act. For example:

  • Christian husbands are supposed to act according to their own marital roles and responsibilities
  • Christian wives are supposed to act according to their own marital roles and responsibilities

This can be difficult for complementarians and egalitarians as they usually try to deliberately distort these.

However, what we don’t usually see is that there is another command throughout the Scripture that is supposed to be between any Christian, including husbands and wives:

  • We are responsible for how we influence others around us: towards Christ or as a stumbling block to them.

Obviously, Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 admonish the ‘stronger’ Christians to take into consideration the weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. If you know you can eat meat without being defiled but your brother thinks that it does defile, then don’t flaunt it before him and so possibly cause him to stumble in his faith.

Most often we see this with modesty and chastity and mixing Christianity with feminism. Yes, it’s true that each person is responsible for their own heart and eyes, but if we’re dressing immodestly or acting in an unchaste manner that is also the fault of the one who is doing that. Not the responsibility of the person who is to guard their own heart or eyes.

Feminism tells young women (mostly) that they can wear whatever they want… revealing clothes, short skirts, and so on and no one is supposed to judge them for it. That’s wrong. If the way you dress is influencing others towards temptation, that’s antithetical to acting in a Christian manner.

Usually in marriage we see this play out with sex. Yes, a spouse is not supposed to be involved with pornography or romance novels. But if the other spouse is denying them sex (against clear Biblical command) and that is influencing them toward being tempted by pornography or romance novels, they are also complicit in their sin. They will have to stand before God for that.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record on the blog, but it’s clear that Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you” means that He would not advocate putting stumbling blocks in front of other people so as to tempt them toward sin.

Yet, we always want “freedom” to do what we want, even at the cost of our fellow Christians being tempted and falling into to sin.

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The over-spiritualization of dating

I’ve mainly seen this from Evangelicals, although some from others as well. Christian men and women generally want to know or believe that:

  1. God “hand picked” their spouse for them
  2. You need confirmation from God before dating your spouse

Let’s look at these two concepts.

  • Regarding God “hand picking” their spouse I believe that’s false, but God allows or possibly gives opportunities for us to take action.

I’ve know a couple cases where “God” tells someone that someone is going to be their spouse and it happened. On the other hand, I’ve also known many more cases where “God” told someone that someone was going to be their spouse, and it didn’t happen which led to tons of heart break on both sides. Some people didn’t discern whether it was God or not (1 John 4).

We have free will. We can pick and choose who to ask out or decide to marry, even if God gives us hints that someone might be good (or even bad) for us for some Christians.

There is no “one” or soulmate or anything like that. Who you marry is your “one.” Soulmates are a myth as there is no marriage is heaven.

  • Regarding confirmation from God I believe that’s all false. I think there’s over-spiritualizing of the ‘asking out’ and ‘dating’ process, especially with the Evangelical crowd. It puts a large amount of impediments in your way before even going on a date.

Why do you need to pray to ‘get to know someone better’? Just ask them out (or accept a date) and see if they like you and get to know their personality and character. Pray and decide from there.

I did pray during the relationship and before engagement and marriage starting I decide she was a good girlfriend candidate because that’s when there’s at least some form of ‘commitment’ish behavior where you’re headed toward marriage and you want your potential spouse to be growing with you to be like Christ in action and character.

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Song of Songs alternative explanation

A year or so ago, I ran across a different interpretation of Song of Songs from a friend that seems to make the most sense given context of the passage. Forgot about making a post on it, but recently this came up. Here’s the executive summary:

Here’s a different story: A young, beautiful, Shulammite farm-girl is betrothed to her sweet-heart who is a shepherd. One day the King travels by with his retinue and eyes this young beauty. He orders her to be taken into his harem. She is taken against her will to the harem of Solomon’s wives and concubines. She is desperate not to be violated and to escape so that she can return to her betrothed. She manages to escape and asks the night watchmen if they have seen her betrothed looking for her. Before she can successfully return, she is recaptured but this time kept under lock and key. Solomon makes his inevitable advances but she diplomatically resists him despite his offers of wealth, power and fame. After a possible period of years, she is allowed to return to home where her brothers come out to meet her and question whether she has remained faithful to her betrothed. She tells them that despite the time she has been away (her young sister has now become a young woman) she has indeed remained faithful to the covenant with her betrothed. And thus ends a beautiful illustration of faithfulness which indicts Israel for its unfaithfulness towards God.

This is also from the page (and I didn’t quote all of the analysis), so click through if you want to read the whole thing. I quoted selected parts and I am not putting it in quotes since it compresses the side by side into something very unreadable.

SONG OF SOLOMON COMMENTARY SHOWING THAT IT IS NOT ABOUT HER LOVE FOR SOLOMON
Song 1:1 The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s. This was either written by Solomon, or about him.
Song 1:5 ¶ I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
Song 1:6 Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!
This Shulammite girl was tanned because she was not a usual member of the royal harem, but rather, worked outdoors in her family’s vineyard.
Song 1:7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions? This makes little sense if she is asking about Solomon–but it makes a lot of sense if she is talking about her shepherd-fiance.
Song 1:8 ¶ If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents. Where can her lover be found? Not in the Palace. Not in Jerusalem. But follow the shepherds’ track which leads to the shepherds’ tents and you’ll find her lover.
Song 1:9 ¶ I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots.
Song 1:10 Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels.
Song 1:11 ¶ We will make for you ornaments of gold, studded with silver.
Solomon attempts to lure her with precious jewelry.
Song 1:12 ¶ While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance.
Song 1:13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh that lies between my breasts.
Song 1:14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.
In the midst of Solomon’s seductions she remembers her shepherd lover and speaks of him in a way that recalls their time in the vineyard.
Song 1:15 ¶ Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.
Song 1:16 ¶ Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful. Our couch is green;
Song 1:17 the beams of our house are cedar; our rafters are pine…
Song 2:6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me!
Song 2:7 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.
Song 2:8 The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills.
Song 2:9 My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag. Behold, there he stands
behind our wall, gazing through the windows,
looking through the lattice…
She talks of the love between her and the shepherd she is betrothed to and remembers some of the special romantic moments they have shared. Note the rural terminology she uses to describe her love for her betrothed and note verses 9 and 17 as describing him as “young”.
Song 3:1 ¶ On my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not.
Song 3:2 I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not.
Song 3:3 The watchmen found me as they went about in the city. “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?”
Song 3:4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
Vs. 1 – Despite being taken by Solomon to be a member of his harem, she longs to return to her village where her betrothed shepherd lover awaits.

Vs. 2 – She suspects that her sweetheart has come to Jerusalem to find her and take her back. She arises in the night to look for him.

Vs. 3 – She is found by the night watchmen and asks them whether they have seen her shepherd lover. This is nonsensical if she is referring to Solomon because he was in his palace under the protection of other guards.

Vs. 4 – She and her fiance then find each other and they quickly flee back to her childhood village.

Song 3:6 ¶ What is that coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of a merchant?
Song 3:7 Behold, it is the litter of Solomon! Around it are sixty mighty men, some of the mighty men of Israel,
Song 3:8 all of them wearing swords and expert in war, each with his sword at his thigh, against terror by night.
Song 3:9 King Solomon made himself a carriage from the wood of Lebanon.
But Solomon soon realises that she has escaped and comes to her village in a royal carriage with armed soldiers to take her back by force.
Song 4:1 ¶ Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead…
Song 4:11 Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
After recapturing his harem trophy, Solomon cranks up the seduction with flattery (4:1-11).
Song 4:12 A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed…
Song 4:15 a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.
Song 4:16 Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow.
Solomon becomes frustrated that he can not consummate his latest harem kidnapping. To him she is a “locked garden”, a “sealed fountain” (4:12-16).
Song 5:2 ¶ I slept, but my heart was awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.”
Song 5:3 I had put off my garment; how could I put it on? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them?
Song 5:4 My beloved put his hand to the latch, and my heart was thrilled within me.
Song 5:5 I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the bolt.
Song 5:6 I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.
As the Shulammite slept she dreamt of her beloved once again rescuing her. In her dream (“I slept, but my heart was awake“) he betrothed comes to Jerusalem to take her back to their village, but alas it is only a dream – “I called him but he gave no answer.”
Song 5:7 The watchmen found me as they went about in the city; they beat me, they bruised me, they took away my veil, those watchmen of the walls. She can it no longer so she once again makes another escape attempt. But this time the Palace Guards are wise to her and capture her – “they bruised me, they took away my veil”. This makes absolutely no sense at all if it is talking about a willing wife of Solomon as the Palace Guards would not ordinarily be brutalising the King’s wife.
Song 5:8 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love.
Song 5:9 ¶ What is your beloved more than another beloved, O most beautiful among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us?
Song 5:10 ¶ My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.
Song 5:11 His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven.
Song 5:12 His eyes are like doves beside streams of water, bathed in milk, sitting beside a full pool.
Song 5:13 His cheeks are like beds of spices, mounds of sweet-smelling herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh.
Song 5:14 His arms are rods of gold, set with jewels. His body is polished ivory, bedecked with sapphires.
Song 5:15 His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars.
Song 5:16 His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
Song 6:1 ¶ Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?
Song 6:2 ¶ My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies.
Song 6:3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.
The other members of the King’s harem (“daughters of Jerusalem”) ask this Shulammite (“most beautiful among women”) what her beloved looks like? (5:9). This would be an absurd question if the beloved in question was Solomon, but it makes perfect sense if the Shulammite’s beloved is her childhood sweetheart, her betrothed, her shepherd-lover. Their other question about where to find her beloved one (6:1) is also nonsensical if her beloved is Solomon. Her answer is that he is grazing (sheep) among the lilies (6:3).

In any case, I only quoted about 50% of the analysis. If you look at the rest of Song of Songs (see the original analysis), the passage makes a TON more sense in this context.

  • Why is the Shulammite woman running away from Solomon’s harem to search the city for her ‘love’ when she would already know right where he is?
  • All of the passages that talk about the one whom the Shulammite woman loves are about a rural-ish probably shepherd rather than Solomon the known king of the country.
  • Why would the watchmen have to beat up the Shulammite women for trying to find her ‘love’ if it was Solomon when she knew he was in the palace… only if she was trying to find her original love and the watchmen had to bring her back to the harem.
  • Why would the harem not know what her ‘lover’ looks like unless he was not Solomon?

Therefore, the original context of Song of Songs from Solomon’s point of view is the fact that this woman was loyal to her beloved (a rural shepherd), even going so far to eschewing the temptation of being with the king of the nation (luring her with jewelry, flattery, taking her captive, etc.). To Solomon, she was “the one that got away.”

This is a picture of what God originally intended as the Shepherd of Israel… that the Shulammite (Israel) would stay loyal to Him even as she was tempted by the the surrounding nations to betray Him. This also parallels Israel wanting a king like the surrounding nations (and God gave them Saul) instead of staying loyal to God and following Him only.

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Christianity, chivalry, feminism, game, complementarianism, and egalitarianism

I want to take a deeper look into the Dalrock’s chart from the underlying assumptions of each of these and add in more analysis.

Let’s examine all of these in order.


Christianity’s biblical marital roles and responsibilities are based on God’s design.

To summarize them we have:

  • Husband’s headship, love, and honor
  • Wifely submission, respect, affection, and helper
  • Marital debt of each spouse to one another: freely give each other sex.
  • Marriage is the place for sex and what makes it holy
  • Marriage is a permanent covenant between a husband and a wife
  • Each spouse adheres to the marital roles and responsibilities out of desire: they want to please God and meet their spouse’s needs.
  • The fundamental goal of Christians is to follow Jesus. Husbands and wives both follow Jesus, but the wife has the added role to follow her husband.

If you want to delve deeper into them you can see Genesis 1-3, Prov 31, Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Cor 7, 1 Cor 11 and 14, Titus 2, 1 Peter 3, and others.

These are clear guidelines.


Chivalry is its own religion that has replaced Christianity for multiple tenets:

  • A man must win his wife through masculine virtue (just as a knight wins a lady’s hand)
  • A husband must earn his place in the marital bed (corollary of the above, even in marriage. This leads to choreplay and the slow cooker theory)
  • Romance is what makes sex holy (leads to divorce and adultery as ‘feelings’ change or a husband and wife idolizing the wife’s feelings as to what sex)
  • The implicit assumption through all of this is that the woman/wife is the head of the marriage, either by her husband perpetually trying to win her or by her feelings. This leads to an inversion of roles: a husband must respect his wife and her feelings as holy, while the wife’s feeling become the ‘love’ (not even agape love) that the husband receives.

Chivalry is essentially a covert reversal of roles within the relationship, and replaces desire with works (husband must continually to win his wife) which is the antithetical to the Christian faith.


Complementarianism is chivalry except attempting to Biblically justify it.

  • The husband and wife are equal, except the husband is the head. But “in practice” the husband is only a “tiebreaker” and not even that: servant leadership is touted that Jesus died sacrificially for the Church so the husband should die sacrificially for the wife (e.g. cater to her opinions and feelings) rather than the actual context of the passage which is Christ loved the Church sacrificially for the purpose of sanctification not to cater to his wife’s feelings.
  • A lack of sexual desire of a wife for her husband is seen as the husband being ungodly (e.g. romance is what makes sex holy).
  • A wife with a lack of sexual desire must be won through the husband doing more for her as he is not sacrificing enough (e.g. choreplay, meeting her emotional needs, etc.)
  • Pastors who tout complementarianism try to weasel out of telling wives to submit and husbands to be the head of the marriage. It is often the case that they say that it’s not the husband’s job or place should not be telling the wife she has to submit (even though it is, given the husband is tasked with helping his wife be sanctified).
  • Likewise, they never talk about the how the Scripture says that each spouse has a marital debt to each other, regardless of their feelings. Instead, you get weird dogma that a wife will want to freely give herself to her husband if he is acting godly.

As you can see, complementarianism is basically chivalry given another name but still disguised as Christian.

It must be stated that the original CBMW who ‘invented’ complementarianism probably had good intentions, but it has ended up as wife worship much like many different attempts throughout Christian history to ‘reform’ have failed. See Aaron Renn’s The History of the Church and Men (feminization of the Church).


Feminism is a clear offshoot of chivalry, except made more overt in nature.

  • Overt change: The claim of equality of the husband and wife, but clear overt role reversal: the wife is in charge as any male leadership is evil.
  • Overt change: The complete autonomy of the wife: she chooses whether or not she wants to have sex with her husband, divorce him, work when she wants, put her kids in daycare, etc. Yet, the husband must still sacrifice to make her happy so she can have it all.
  • Continued chivalry: A wife’s feelings are still the measuring stick of the relationship or marriage: if she will want to have sex with him or divorce him. If she’s not feeling it, either she just fell out of love and that’s the end or he’s doing something wrong.
  • Continued chivalry: romance and the associated feelings must still be earned through sacrifice and doing things for her to make her happy.

There are some places where feminism has overtly diverged from Christianity such as husband headship and wife submission. But much of the same principles of chivalry remain under such as the wife’s feeling being the barometer of the health of the marriage.

Feminism simply gives the wife more tools to punish the husband if her feelings aren’t into him anymore.


Egalitarianism is feminism, except attempting to Biblically justify it.

As you can see the parallels, you should not be surprised at this conclusion.

  • The claim of equality of the husband and wife, and clear denial of authority via passages such as ‘no male and female but you are one in Christ’ and ‘submit to one another in the fear of Christ’ are taken out of context. The husband as the head is clearly bad, so the leadership defaults to the wife.
  • As the wife is equal: she can decide what she wants to do in the marriage. She basically has autonomy to decide what she wants to do like in feminism. Where the husband and wife each want the same thing that’s “good.” But if she differs, she can and will do her own thing (though the husband can’t since he’s supposed to love her).
  • Like chivalry and feminism, a wife’s feelings are still the measuring stick of the relationship or marriage: if she will want to have sex with him. If she’s not feeling it, either she just fell out of love or he’s doing something wrong. The only difference is that they generally pay lip service to not divorcing.
  • Like chivalry and feminism, romance and the associated feelings must still be earned through sacrifice and doing things for her to make her happy.

Egalitarianism is a weird mix between chivalry and feminism and trying to Biblically justify it. The main difference between feminism and egalitarianism is that they need to at least give consideration to the Scripture (though they twist it in certain ways). However, they can’t get around some of it like no divorce but usually do it anyway in practice.


Game unfortunately is hard to discuss because there’s no agreed upon definition of what it is. However, Dalrock does a good job of defining how it works in relation to the above:

Game came about as a reaction to the practical reality created by chivalry and chivalry’s spawn feminism.  Game is a logical response to chivalry and feminism’s joint rebellion against Christian sexual morality.  Game is a reaction to the chivalrous and feminist lie that women are sexually attracted to masculine virtue, and that the way a man can seduce a woman (or otherwise please her) is to submit to her.  Game is a practical rejection of the obvious lie regarding what sexually arouses women.  Rejecting a lie is in itself virtuous, but the most learned practitioners of Game employ it to take full advantage of the feminist and (modern) Christian rejection of Christian sexual morality.

At the fundamental core, game is aimed at several different tenets of chivalry and feminism. Dalrock mentioned a couple here, but there are several.

  • Game rejects that women are attracted to masculine virtue, or, in other words, a man must work to be attractive to her. (e.g. the idea that a man must win her with a huge and elaborate engagement and other displays of behavior).
  • Game rejects that men must earn sex with women (e.g. the idea that a man must be romantic and do things such as taking her out on dates, giving her flowers, giving her compliments, giving her gifts, etc.).
  • Game rejects the implicit chivalrous and feminist role reversal that a woman is in charge (e.g. a subset of what most would call game is about ‘teasing’ and/or ‘negging’ to bring a woman down a notch and/or elevate your own position in her eyes. Note: I’m not arguing about the morality of such actions here).
  • Game aims help men understand that attraction is based on desire and not of works (e.g. men cannot do anything to make a woman like him more).
  • Game aims to show men that their goal should not be women as the pedestalization of women leads to relationship failure (e.g. outcome independence, mission not women, etc.).

As you can see, game rejects many of the principles of chivalry and feminism (and by extension complementarianism and egalitarianism) and supposedly agrees with Christianity on many principles which is why there are various and continued disagreements about it’s morality within the Christian community.


Final thoughts

Personally, I wouldn’t call chivalry a parody of Christianity like Dalrock. As I described in usurpers, in ancient Canaan the goddess ‘Asherah’ is synonymous with the goddess of heaven, and another name for her is ‘Qudesh’ or ‘holiness.’ Therefore,

Chivalry and its offshoots are basically another form of goddess worship.

There is a reason why we call inversion of roles the pedestalization of women. It’s literally place her on a pedestal, like those in Biblical times would place their idols on to worship. Serving a woman and her feelings is literally synonymous with being holy, according to the cult goddess offshoots chivalry, complementarianism, feminism, and egalitarianism.

It should be no surprise that Jezebel was one of the people who made Asherah worship much more prevalent. Jezebel usurped Ahab’s authority (and he went along with it, as do complementarians and egalitarians) to do much evil in Israel. Jezebel is one of the role models for feminism as well.

This is also why the so-called divorce rates of Christians are similar to the secular culture. When the Church is only peddling versions of cult goddess marriages and twisting the Scriptures to fit their whim, it shouldn’t be a surprise that marriages are going to fail at similar rates.

I’m pretty terrible with graphics, so I’m not going to try to attempt to do a chart like Dalrock’s. Any of you who have seen my MS paint skills need not see another one.

Christianity
        \/
Chivalry –> Complementarianism (attempt to justify chivalry biblically)
        \/
Feminism –> Egalitarianism (attempt to justify feminism biblically)
        \/
Game (works against chivalry, complementarianism, feminism, and egalitarianism)

Also, I am still of the opinion that ‘game’ is unneeded and that focus on the Bible marital roles and responsibilities with good fathering and mentoring/discipling are all that are needed. Everything is an offshoot of Christianity as God made everything.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 17 Comments

Don’t lose sight of the mission

A recent reddit post proves fairly instructive:

So I have been helping a friend grow his business for the past three years. His wife and my wife are both kind of loners so I introduced them to each other. They’ve become good friends and like to hang out.

Lately, my friend and his wife have been having some struggles and he has started getting flirty with my wife. I’m not particularly worried about it, but my wife has noticed it and asked me how I feel about it.

This morning I went to breakfast with my friend and while we were discussing marriage and RPC theology he ‘respectfully’ admits that he thinks my wife is hot..

Is it advisable to leave this a mute subject or should I keep the topic open for discussion? My instinct is to tell my wife that my buddy thinks she’s hot and have a laugh about it with her.. it seems like that would keep things feeling safe for her. I’m not worried about her.. I’m leading (finally) and she’s enjoying following. I just don’t want to unnecessarily make this an issue for my wife, my friend, or his wife..

Most of the comments are about how if you’re ‘alpha’ you should be secure but also let him know that he’s out of line, it’s bad manners, telling him to stop, and other types of mate guarding.

Unfortunately, these are very limited views of the situation just solely thinking in terms of intersexual dynamics. If we are to be Christ-oriented, we need to think about this in terms of God’s mission first.

Hence, my reply:

I do not agree with others that you have to be confrontational and/or mate guarding-ish behavior in this circumstance. It can be a good learning and teaching experience in a win-win type of scenario especially if you know he has good character and/or is a good learner otherwise .

Does his wife have any weight to lose or acts unattractive or not submissive to him or things like that?

One of the reasons why a man might be ‘attracted’ to another man’s wife is that she embodies things that he wants in a wife. A wife that is feminine, listens, and is submissive is an attractive prospect for many men… it does not necessarily have to be ‘physical attractiveness.’

Here’s what I would do in your situation:

  1. Tell your wife that yes he finds you hot for whatever reason. Don’t necessarily need to make it into a joke. I would avoid doing that.
  2. If his wife has stuff to learn, maybe your wife can exert some influence on his wife to start changing for the better (if she has things she can change to be more attractive or a better follower)
  3. Take him under your wing because you are already mentoring him and help to guide him that he can have a similar marriage to you.

It is possible that you can act to turn things around in a good way (with your wife’s help if she’s willing) to help another man have a better marriage.

Turns out my hunch was fairly correct as the OP commented that some of what I thought was going on was the case.

I’ve been watching the interactions closely. My wife doesn’t flirt back and treats him more like a brother that she doesn’t have to listen to. If there was touching, bumping, or inappropriate comments on his part I would have put an immediate stop to it, but nothing like that has happened yet. (Other than what he told me)

His wife was an attractive woman when they married but she’s gained about 60lbs while he stayed relatively fit.. she also picked up a good job, a feminist attitude, and withholds sex from him often.

I realize that this could potentially go the wrong way, but at this point my goal is to exhort him and encourage them as a couple to get back on track. He and his wife are both believers and are trying to follow Christ and figure out all of this. He is much younger than me, has always shown good character. and seeks out my input on a variety of things. It seems obvious that there’s a deficit in his own relationship .. but RPC is completely new to Him so there’s definite potential for a quick turnaround.

Since that is the case, this is actually a very good opportunity to share about Biblical marriage and how it is supposed to work in practice. They’re living out a good example of that, and a man he’s already mentoring pretty much wants to learn from him about it.

Yeah, that’s what I thought was going on. Don’t think it’s malicious, but he does see your marriage dynamic and the beauty of both of you following Christ and wants it for himself.

Hopefully both he and his wife are amenable to change and both you and your wife can help influence both of them at the same time!

If his wife is impressed as your relationship too, your wife can probably influence her by suggesting that losing weight to be more attractive, adopting godly attitudes (respect and submission and kindness), and things like that can influence her husband to be more loving toward her and vice versa.

Obviously, mentoring him on how to lead his wife and get his own stuff together will help too

The OP also clarifies that he was in the same position prior as well:

Side note: as little as a few months ago my wife was also a card carrying feminist.. My friend has seen the drastic change in our marriage dynamic since I got involved with RP/RPC. It’s been revolutionary for me, my marriage, my children .. everything is better than its ever been. It’s only natural for Him to find this desirable.. I know that if he can process and employ the Biblical principles of masculinity in his own life, he’ll see positive changes in his own relationship.

Things are not always as they seem and a surface level reaction like not trusting others or mate guarding is limited or even immature in response. It is almost always helpful to dig down to the root cause of the behavior because the issue is not necessarily the behavior but why they are responding in a particular way.

That’s why I’m generally wary of basic “RP” advice when problems come up. Pretty much ALL of the rest of the comments were about how this was a bad thing when in fact it’s actually probably a very good opportunity for Christian marriage witnessing and mentoring.

Remember: God’s mission first. Look for opportunities to share Christ. Don’t lose sight of the mission.

The reason why we emulate Christ and the Church with our marriage is that it’s a thing of beauty and that gives us opportunities to share Christ when other men want the same thing too.

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