Don’t put her needs above yours

Dalrock’s latest post on man up and share your feelings quotes from the post her needs above yours. I want to focus on the title of the post, as that’s where it all starts and goes off the bandwagon. It is false, according to the Scripture.

The model from the Law was:

Mark 12:30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The new commandment that Jesus gave was:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.

Christians are exhorted to “love one another as [Jesus] has loved us […] By this all men will know your are my [Jesus’] disciples.” The requirement, of course, is that we are disciples of Jesus. Those who are disciples of Jesus are, by nature, endeavoring to hold themselves to the commands and teachings of Jesus. Hence, disciples of Jesus are becoming more like Jesus, so they can love others like Jesus did, so that all men will know we are disciples of Jesus.

As I outlined previously in how do I know if we should get married analysis and numerous times before, the Scriptures actually state that a husband is to love his wife as his own body. They do not say to put the wife’s needs above yours. This is stated not just once, not just twice, but three different times in Ephesians 5.

Ephesians 5:25 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 [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies (x1).He who loves his own wife loves himself ; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body (x2). 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself (x3), and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.

It is in this respect that Paul’s exhortation from Ephesians is given. Paul expands upon Jesus’ teaching with the analogy of the Christ:Church::Husbands:Wives. A husband must first hold himself to the standard of Christ, then treat her as he is treating himself.

A husband putting his wife’s needs above his own needs is putting her on a pedestal making her an idol.

The reason for this is quite simple and logical. How can you care for another person well if you are not in a place to which to care for others effectively? A husband who cares for himself well has a high standard with which to care for his wife. A husband who neglects his own needs has no standard to treat her well because he is coming from a place of neglect.

A person who does not take care of their own needs but is focused on the needs of another is codependent. Ever see someone run themselves ragged over prioritizing someone else without taking care of themselves? Yeah, me too. It’s pretty ugly and never ends well.

Yet that’s what so many pastors, preachers, and other Christians keep telling husbands — to prioritize their wife over themselves. That is NOT what the Scripture says.

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Complementarians make husbands into neutered dogs

Lost Patrol commented on Tim Willard’s ‘lending strength’ segment which is the thrust of ‘servant leadership’ in my previous post.

This a good post, with a valid prescription that will be very hard for most people to fill these days.

The feminine primary social order is so ingrained in daily life that its terminology flows with ease.

  • In a partnership like marriage, it’s important to be able to pursue dreams and callings together.
  • we could be partners and supporters, in chasing after our dreams
  • being willing to change with each other
  • She hadn’t been kind to herself in years. She needed someone who would be an example of God’s kindness to her.

It goes on in this vein. All this is femme-speak. It’s as though only women answered for the couples referenced. 50/50 partners in dreams and callings, et al.

Tim Willard describes nothing more than the human version of a good dog, always standing by to respond to the pack leader. He adds the usual disclaimer that if anything is wrong in a marriage it is because the man has drifted from God. It’s all become very predictable.

I was thinking about this last night before he made the comment, and the analogy I thought of was this:

A neutered dog.

Responsibility without authority is slavery, although it doesn’t seem to actually fit the situation exactly.

The head — the husband —  stripped of his authority is neutered. Additionally, he’s just tagging along with her doing what she wants. Helping her out on her whim. He’s just her dog.

Complementarians make husbands into neutered dogs.

It’s no wonder that complementarian marriages are imploding. What wife would want to be married to a neutered dog?

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How do I know if we should get married analysis

How do I know if we should get married is a post from Boundless a couple weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to get to it, especially since I’m getting married soon.

The article is pretty short, so I’m gonna quote the whole thing.

I could see the worry on my friend’s face. He had been dating his girlfriend for six months and didn’t know if he should start planning a proposal or a breakup. It was a ripe time to choose.

I know others who have faced similar situations, so I asked my married friends on Facebook how they knew they should marry their spouse. Here are their answers.

Friendship. The most common answer I heard from couples was that they married a friend — someone they enjoyed spending time with and with whom communication came easily. A few even ended up dating and marrying someone who started off as just a good friend.

Of her relationship with her husband, Bethany says, “I felt like it was easy to be myself. Like really me.” David describes something similar: “When I met my wife, there were times I thought, ‘Oh, wow! I’ve been waiting for this and feel so free to be me now!’ Marla says when she met her husband, “I felt like I had met my new best friend, but also like I had known him all my life.”

A strong friendship can be a good indicator of marital success.

Compatible goals. In a partnership like marriage, it’s important to be able to pursue dreams and callings together. In Genesis 2:18-22, God gives Adam a wife as a “helper fit for him.” The first man and woman helped each other work toward God’s purpose for them in the garden.

Of her relationship with her husband, Glory says, “We felt like we could grow together, and we felt like we could be partners and supporters, in chasing after our dreams.” Summer says, “We talked A LOT about goals … what we wanted out of life, finances, kids … and what we envisioned about the future.”

Having compatible goals doesn’t mean you won’t have to adjust after marriage. Julie explains, “I’ve found that having the same goals and ideals and being willing to change with each other instead of separately has been key.” And sanctification is a primary goal Christians should share. Teri says, “Marry someone who makes you better than you are, someone who challenges you to be like Christ. A good marriage is not about finding the right person. It’s about being the right person.”

As we change and grow over time, a marriage focused on God can sustain the relationship through trials and hard times.

What you’re looking for. A really good catch may not make a really good match. It’s good to know what you are looking for in a relationship. David points out that discerning the right person to marry “requires knowing and discerning yourself.”

Making a list of what you want in a spouse can help you see how someone measures up when other signs aren’t as conclusive. Bethany said she made a list of her non-negotiables early on and checked her suitors against it. When her husband came along, he embodied many things on her list, giving her assurance that he was a good fit.

While it’s wise to know what you’re looking for, be prepared to have your assumptions challenged. Casey, who considers herself to be very independent, said she felt like she didn’t need marriage. But when she saw how kind her now-husband was, she realized what she needed. She hadn’t been kind to herself in years. She needed someone who would be an example of God’s kindness to her.

Character under pressure. We are all flawed. Julie says some advice from her grandma was a game-changer for her: “They will all drive you crazy!” she said. “You just have to pick the person who annoys you the least.” Realizing that no one is perfect (and your future spouse will annoy you at times), choose someone whose good character shines under pressure.

As you face adversity or conflict together, note how your boyfriend or girlfriend responds. Bethany says that in her marriage, “we love well and fight well. We respect each other even when we are mad.” That respect can be seen before you ever tie the knot.

Michael suggests marrying someone you know will have your back. Life will get hard, circumstances will change, but knowing that person will be on your side is important. Summer remembers how her boyfriend-now-husband took off work to support her at hospital visits after she received a cancer diagnosis. How the person serves you when you’re down can be a good indicator of the type of spouse he or she would be.

The Secret to a Lasting Marriage

A few nights ago, I was at a woman’s 50th birthday party. I talked to a couple, probably both around 60, that were flirting and laughing and stealing kisses from each other. I was afraid to even ask, because I so rarely see long-term marriages like that, but I finally did. “How long have you been together?”

“Thirty-seven years,” they replied. I asked what their secret was. The wife leaned way close to me and almost whispered, “I know this will sound corny, but the key is having God at the center of the relationship.”

I can’t give my friend a definitive answer about whether or not he should marry his girlfriend. Each of us has to choose for ourselves. But considering if your significant other fits the four criteria above is a good place to start.

The points that people come up with are:

  • Friendship
  • Compatible goals
  • What you’re looking for
  • Character under pressure
  • Having God at the center

These seem pretty common. I think that if you poll random Christians from any random Church you’ll come up with a similar list. There’s will probably also be the awkward chuckling man or woman that says “compromise” is also a key to marriage. The only Scripture thrown out from Christians about marriage in this is Genesis 2.

Sadly, that’s the case of what the Church has become. It’s been vague allusions to spirituality without any substance. And you wonder why the Church has upwards of 40-50% divorce rate like the world. No one wants to stand on what God says about marriage.

Then you have articles like what women need from men from Tim Willard. Never really heard of the man before today, but based on what I know of sales on Amazon he’s selling dozens of books a day. His emphasis in bold.

Offering Our Strength

At the heart of offering our strength is the concept of serving. Christ himself “came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” Later on in the New Testament Paul reminds men:

“The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing.

“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.” (Eph. 5:22-28)

But it’s one thing to say we should offer our strength to women, quite another to live that out. So, what does it mean to offer our strength to our wives or girlfriends?

Offering our strength can mean cleaning the kitchen, doing the floors, and making the bed without being asked. It can mean hanging that painting, again, and again, and again. In short, we can and should serve our wives and girlfriends with our physical strength.

Offering our strength can mean protecting her heart: from other women, during times of pain, by encouraging her in her unique endeavors (like blogging, gardening, tri-athloning, cooking, yoga, whatever). We serve our wives and girlfriends by offering our emotional strength.

Offering our strength can mean initiating times of prayer, times of fasting, family devotions, caroling around the Christmas tree, or being the one who sets the tone before Sunday worship by being, yourself, ready in your heart for worship, firing up the waffle-maker, making the coffee, creating a bit of heaven in your house to foster the beauty of the Sabbath. We serve our wives and girlfriends by offering our spiritual strength. 

Too often, however, we attempt to gain strength from our wives and girlfriends by trying to prove something. And that “proving” can often manifest itself in the form of dominance. Leading in a marriage or dating relationship does not equal waving your “I’m a man” Thor-hammer. Rather, it begins with relational fullness with God.

If we, as men, have drifted from God, then our marriages and dating relationships will reflect it. We will struggle with the lies that accompany the false self: perversions of sex, power, dominance, nonchalance—everything the popular culture equates to manliness.

To his credit, he has somewhat of the right mindset, but is still falling back into the trap of “servant leadership.” This is a mash up of roles and responsibilities that leave men more confused than when they started.

To review:

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject 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 [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.

Roles:

  • Husband is the head
  • Wife follows, as the body

Responsibilities:

  • Husband loves through sanctification, loves his wife as himself x3, and nourishes and cherishes
  • Wife submits and respects in everything, as to the Lord

Split division of responsibilities is important because it defines how the relationship normally functions effectively and in line with godly principles. If a spouse wants to go above and beyond — which is certainly a good thing in some cases — then they have the choice to do so. For example, a husband does not have to help out with the [wifely] chores of the household to lend ‘physical strength’ especially if he is already taking care of [manly] chores of the household like yard work, maintenance, trash, and so on.

Telling a husband he needs to pick up additional work that is tasked to the wife to “serve” her is nothing but slavery and certainly not sanctification. Indeed, masculine immaturity is placing responsibility before roles, but it is also taking up responsibilities that are not yours to handle. This is one thing Tim is confusing, and is part of the false narrative of servant leadership.

Dominance is what women want from their men. They want them to be masculine. A man who knows who he is and knows what he wants in a relationship. Women hate men who are wishy washy and put them on a pedestal. Both Christian and non-Christian women want their man to be dominant and assertive. It’s not necessarily about the actions themselves, but how the actions stem from the identity of the man in question.

The role of the head in marriage is imbued with authority from God. Men don’t need permission to wield their authority to love, to sanctify through directing her on the path of righteousness, and to treat her as he treats himself. But a man must first know his role and his value in Christ. As he holds himself to the high standard that God has placed in him, he blesses her through loving her as he does himself.

28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies (x1). He who loves his own wife loves himself ; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body (x2). 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself (x3), and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.

The Scriptures clearly does not say to place her (the wife) before himself (the husband) because that would be idolatry. This is different from other parts of Scripture where Christians are to hold other [Christians] in higher esteem than themselves. The covenant of marriage is different from the way general Christians related to each other because the roles and responsibilities of each are different. This is the nature of a hierarchical relationship such as marriage as opposed to being a member of the body of Christ relating to one another.

This is the true difference between the false servant leadership peddled by much of Christianity today versus what the Scriptures teach.

  • False — the husband “serves” the wife as the head in marriage, especially taking over and helping her with many of her responsibilities. In this case, the husband becomes the wife’s helpmate.
  • True — the husband is the head and holds himself to the standard of Christ. The example he sets and tasks he entrusts his wife as his helpmate help her become more like Christ.

Is it any wonder why husbands who are counseled under “servant leadership” are increasingly divorced? The Church for decades has conned them into inverting the sex roles under the guise of serving as the authority in marriage.

Instead, what the should be teaching is that it is up to the husband to set the standard in marriage — the high standard of Christ. He may even end up helping the wife if she needs assistance in her tasks as helpmate, but it actually under the mantle of cherishing and nourishing her as opposed to the slavery of servant leadership: responsibility with no authority.

Therefore, going back to the first part of this article, how should a man or woman know if she should get married? The answer is simple.

A man should get married if you find a wife who is willing to walk in the roles and responsibilities of a wife as outlined in Scripture.

  • Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject 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. […] 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.
  • Col 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
  • Titus 2:4 so that they may [b]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
  • 1 Pet 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:3 The husband must [a]fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and [b]come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
  • Proverbs 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife
  • Proverbs 27:15-16 A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike. Trying to keep her in check is like stopping a wind storm or grabbing oil with your right hand.
  • Proverbs 25:24 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
  • Proverbs 12:4 A wife with strength of character is the crown of her husband, but the wife who disgraces him is like bone cancer.
  • Proverbs 11:22 A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.
  • Proverbs 14:1 A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
  • And of course Proverbs 31 which is too long to quote and so on.

And of course a woman should only marry a man if she finds a husband that is willing to walk in the roles and responsibilities of marriage.

I’m not going to list them all out, as this is a men’s blog, but they are in similar passages as the above verses.

Following God’s plan for marriage is the one way to know if you are ready for marriage.  This is the firm foundation on which a marriage is on the Rock of Jesus.

Things like the fruit of the Spirit are obviously other key components of the Christian walk that assist in carrying out these roles and responsibilities. However, if you want to have a blessed marriage you need to focus on God’s Truths. No ifs, ands, or buts.

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Another divorce

I’m finally back from a very busy period.

There’s been another “high profile divorce” as Proverbs 31 ministries Lysa TerKeurst has apparently divorced her husband with numerous commentaries (the comments are always the most interesting part of course).

It’s pretty short so I’ll quote the whole thing:

No person’s rejection of me can ever exempt me from God’s love for me.

“A Gut-Honest Look at Love.” That was the title of my first blog post of this year. Based on 1 Corinthians 13, I wrote, “Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world, love is what I have the opportunity to give.”

This perspective on love has been a lifeline during the most painful season and decision of my adult life. I so wish we were sitting face-to-face so you could see my tears and hear the deep grief in my voice as I share this with you. My husband, life partner and father of my children, Art TerKeurst, has been repeatedly unfaithful to me with a woman he met online, bringing an end to our marriage of almost 25 years. For the past couple of years, his life has sadly been defined by his affection for this other woman and substance abuse. I don’t share this to harm or embarrass him, but to help explain why I have decided to separate from him and pursue a divorce. God has now revealed to me that I have done all I can do and I must release him to the Savior.

Anyone who knows me and Proverbs 31 Ministries knows how seriously I take marriage. I’ve always encouraged women to fight for their marriages and to do everything possible to save them when they come under threat. So, for the past couple of years I have been in the hardest battle of my life trying to save my marriage.

When I first found out about Art’s infidelity 18 months ago, I made the decision not to divorce him. I had just finished fasting and praying for 28 days and really felt led by the Lord that I was to love Art in my reaction to this shocking news and trust God for every step moving forward. I was still committed to doing everything I could think of to make our story one of restoration, even in the face of the worst kind of betrayal imaginable. I prayed continually. I sought counsel from family and other wise friends. And Art and I even made repeated trips across the country together for intensive counseling especially designed for marriages in crisis. But sadly, though I have repeatedly forgiven and accepted him back, he has continued to abuse substances, be unfaithful, and refused to be truthful to me and our family.

I believe I have the capacity to love Art and to forgive him, but his steadfast refusal to end the infidelity has led me to make the hardest decision of my life. After much prayer and consultation with wise, biblically-minded people, I have decided that Art has abandoned our marriage. Yet, the Lord has been so faithful to help me at every step of this very painful journey and has now assured me I’ve done all I can do.

I am brokenhearted beyond what I can express. But I am more committed than ever to trusting God, His promises, and His plans, whatever they are from here.

As many of you who have followed our ministry know, I’ve never shied away from sharing how God has gotten me through tough seasons and even grown me through my struggles. Thankfully, my story has been one of learning that I’m not defined by my circumstances. I’m Lysa, a beloved child of the one true God. My true identity doesn’t shift or fall apart under life’s strains, failures, my own imperfections, setbacks or heartaches. While people—even God’s people—change, I’m so glad I serve a God who doesn’t. I love this verse in Malachi 3:6—“I the Lord do not change; therefore you, children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

So what does all of this mean for Proverbs 31 Ministries and for me? Well, for over 20 years I’ve had a calling supported by my family for equipping women to deepen their relationship with God, study His Word, and to share their stories for God’s glory. Though my heart is so heavy that I’ve certainly pondered giving up, I’m determined not to let darkness win here. Therefore, after a season of rest and continued Biblical and professional counseling, I will continue to do ministry with an even deeper belief in the goodness of our God and a greater empathy for the deep heartbreak that happens to us all in this broken world.

Many people think Proverbs 31 is a picture of a perfect woman; but the Proverbs 31 woman is, at her core, someone who seeks the Lord in everything she does and trusts Him wholeheartedly with her life. Our mission is to meet women where they are in the real, hard places we all experience, and to intersect God’s Word right there. We are simply a group of women sold out to saying yes to God—and He truly does the rest.

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” That’s what the Psalmist wrote long ago (Psalm 27:13) and it beautifully reflects what I’m holding on to in the midst of the deep grief my children and I are now walking through. We have some amazing counselors and pastoral leaders who are committed to helping us pursue healing and learn how to move forward.

What can you do for us? I’d simply ask you to pray. Pray for my precious children and grandchildren. Pray for me. Pray for our team at Proverbs 31. And yes, please, please pray for Art.

I love you all. Most of all, I love the Lord, who first loved me.

This situation is a less clear cut case than an example such as Jenny Ericksen who frivorced her husband. There’s also numerous angles to this, so I’m going to try to hash them all out point by point.

First, I’m always perturbed that when people encounter these types of situations they almost never quote directly from the Scriptures that are relevant to their particular situation. Lysa’s post quotes from Psalms 27, 1 Corinthians 11, and Malachi 3, but doesn’t quote from actual verses that may apply to the situation such as Matthew 18, Matthew 19/Mark 10/Luke 16, 1 Corinthians 7, and 1 Peter 3.

Quotations from this passage may illuminate how the person actually feels and thinks about the situation rather than just giving their platitudes about hope and moving on.

Second, Lysa alleges that Art is clearly in the wrong here but there are a lack of clarify details about Lysa’s involvement in the matter. For example, had Lysa denied Art sex throughout the marriage and/or been too focused on her “career/ministry”, which tempted him to go outside of the marriage? While Lysa alleges that Art’s chose adultery and substance abuse, we have not heard his side of the story to know if these accusations are true.

I’ve seen this termed as “victim blaming” in the comments, but it is clear from 1 Corinthians 7 that her behavior may/could have tempted him on the wrong path. That’s not victim blaming, but simply reality.

Third, much has been written on the topic of divorce. In general, I think 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Peter 3 apply best to this particular situation:

1 Corinthians 7:10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not [d]leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not [e]divorce his wife.

12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not [f]divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not [g]send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through [h]her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called [i]us [j]to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.

In general, via 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 Lysa should not have pursued a “divorce” but instead “separation.” However, if she is still open to reconciliation that is the ideal, but she is to remain single if she does not reconcile.

Rather, it is clear by both Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 that those who are not obedient to the teachings of the Church should be treated as unbelievers. Therefore, via 1 Corinthians 7:12-15 and 1 Peter 3:1-6 the “best” option would have been for Lysa to remain with her husband as long as he does not want a divorce and to allow the Lord to work through her righteous behavior to potentially win her husband back to God.

I personally do not fault her for choosing a divorce/separation option, but she also did not make it clear from her post that she was still open to reconciliation and will not remarry. Again, this is the part where clarifying your actions along with Scripture would have been important which would leave less open to negative interpretation.

Fourth, I find it dubious that she is going to take a season for a time, and then prepare to re-enter the ministry with Proverbs 31.

This is not simply because she is a woman leading a Christian ministry. Even if women were permitted in leadership positions in ministry, 1 Timothy 3 clearly speaks that elders and deacons must run their households well. Although she may have done all that she could in order to have a godly marriage, things out the control of a leader can disqualify them from ministry. Being above reproach is a harsh requirement, but it is necessary.

One of the comments from the second article I linked by a ‘Michelle’ seems to likely represent what is going on in Lysa’s statement:

Even IF everything Lysa wrote is a true and accurate representation of what has actually happened in her marriage, is it really a good idea to publicly flog the man who is the father of your kids for the sake of maintaining the moral high ground?

Her public statement felt like little more than a thinly veiled attempt to maintain her status, credibility and public approval as a leader in the Christian community, one that has brought with it a lot of fame, prestige, glamour and wealth.

I get that those are hard things to give up, but I find it a little disconcerting that Lysa seems to be desperately clinging to the carefully crafted persona that she’s created under the claim that “the Lord has now assured me I’ve done all I can do.” Where is the humility here?

A quick look at her public schedule reveals that she has a long lineup of speaking engagements planned long into the future. I’m sure she feels that maintaining the moral high ground is the only way she can save face and keep all those checks rolling in, but at what expense?

No marriage is perfect, and when things go wrong, even if one person has been unfaithful or done wrong, both parties usually share at least some culpability. A celebrity lifestyle–even a Christian one– can easily take its toll on even the healthiest marriage. When your life is filled with adoring fans, sycophantic assistants who tell you what you want to hear, and frequent (first-class) travel, it is easy to lose touch with reality, even when you are supposedly doing it in the name of Jesus.

I’m not saying Lysa is to blame–there is no justification for adultery–but in light of her willingness to publicly throw her husband under the bus in order to preserve her own image, I do think the best thing she can do right now is step out of the spotlight and re-assess. If she truly is being counseled by wise, biblically-minded people, hopefully they are giving her the same advice.

Obviously, this may not be Lysa’s heart, but her statement wasn’t that clear either. Any Christian husband with a wife caught in such a position should also step down from ministry, even if none of it was his fault. Likewise, so too Lysa should step down as well, even if none of it was her fault.

A more compelling story of the power of God to show mercy and compassion would be for her to step down and focus her efforts on reconciliation in her marriage and not her ministry.

In conclusion, numerous points of her story are lacking in clarifying details. It is possible that she could be fully faultless, but she could also have sinned gravely against him as well. Usually the Truth is somewhere in between.

Based on the Scriptures, she has chosen a viable route (if she remains single else she reconciles), albeit there was a better high road which was to stay with him and use the Lord to work through her to win him to Christ.

Finally, she should not continue her ministry for multiple reasons, and focus her efforts on reconciling with her husband. Props to her for having the willingness and attitude to reconcile with her husband for a couple years after she learned of his sin against her. As Christians, we’d like to see that attitude continue.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 97 Comments

Successful marriage and good marriage

Jason’s comment on one of Dalrock’s recent posts is worth critically analyzing because it has a lot of assumptions packed into it about the definition of a “good marriage.” There’s a lot that is wrong with the current evangelical Christianity to be sure, and there is also a lot of cultural thinking.

My parents were not practicing Christians. Culturally, yes. We were a ‘Christmas and Easter’ type of family. My parents were not ‘hostile’ to Christianity or the church in general. They were ‘married’ in a church. We never attended church except for those two holidays.

They met in 1964, after eight months of dating, they got married in 1965 and had a very, very solid marriage. A loving, helpful, uplifting and working as a “team” marriage.

So when Pastors and busy-body church-folk tell me that you have to have ‘Jesus’ in order to have a “good” marriage…….I sometimes wince and think “well, that’s not really true”

Plenty of Christians I have met have been married several times, been through messy divorces, or their marriage is a “yo go girl” wife and brow beaten husband……

Remember too, even in the early days of the church……even the ‘pagan’ Romans, many had good marriages and they loved each other without “Jesus”. For the most part, evangelical-protestant Christianity somehow made marriage “their” invention with zero proof and most of the sheeple in the church have just swallowed it and accepted this.

Generally speaking, one could say this is not an uncommon scenario for those who lived in the US in say 1700-1950s or so. The case where one needs to make a distinction is on a few points.

  • God created man and marriage to reflect Himself.
  • When you follow God’s prescriptions such as with proper roles and responsibilities, you will generally have a “successful” marriage. For example, the husband is the head and loves his wife, and the wife submits and respects her husband. Such a marriage will rarely divorce and generally be happy, despite the faith or lack thereof of said participants.
  • The pastors are indeed correct that you cannot have a “good” marriage without Jesus/God. To have a good marriage, you need to please God. Having correct roles and responsibilities in marriage may make a marriage have earthly success, but such a marriage does not please God.

The better term for what Jason is discussing above is “successful marriage” and mainly in terms of worldly success. If we define a successful marriage as one that does not divorce and is generally happy like most. A successful marriage it not necessarily a good marriage. A good marriage pleases God, and pleasing God requires faith.

Mark 10:17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the [a]assurance of things [b]hoped for, the [c]conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old [d]gained approval. 3 By faith we understand that the [e]worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying [f]about his gifts, and through [g]faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Jason commits a few fallacies that are common.

One can have much worldly success following Biblical principles, but still not know God or please Him (like his parents). As we know, the only way to God is through the sacrifice of Jesus. Without the sacrifice of Jesus and God’s grace and mercy working through us, we can do nothing good. The worldly successful of a marriage doesn’t make it good.

This is true not just of marriage, but of other things such as financial success. The Scriptures espouse hard work, being diligent with the little things and the big things, being responsible, going above and beyond to please our superiors, generous, and giving. All of these things help to contribute to financial success. However, these things don’t make a man good.

Likewise, an example of an unsuccessful/sinful marriage between Christians does not prove that a marriage with Christians is not good. It only proves that Christians still sin. A successful marriage without God still leads to hell too.

A good marriage is made up of Christians, following God’s prescriptions of roles and responsibilities, so that it reflects the mystery of Jesus and the Church. For Christians, success in marriage is only secondary to aiming to please God first. And that makes all the difference.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 12 Comments

Biblical prescriptions with no Bible

I previously wrote about a review of Danny Silk’s Defining the Relationship marriage book, and gave it a pretty bad review. Namely, because it did not discuss one time in the Scriptures of the roles and relationships in marriage such as Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, Titus 2, 1 Peter 3, and so on.

Likewise, there are articles like this on sex — which admittedly I’ve read before but never wrote a post about — which have tons of references to pop culture and famous people, but no references to the Bible on the particular topic.

Back in 2013, provoked by Elizabeth Smart’s story Christians filled the Internet with discussions about sex—particularly abstinence education—so much that the Atlantic posted a summary of these debates in “Why Some Evangelicals Are Trying to Stop Obsessing Over Pre-Marital Sex.”

Although these conversations are evidence that Christians are forming a more candid, holistic and theologically sound discourse about sex, an area that still needs more attention is the far-reaching effects of abstinence rhetoric on marriage.

While the movement is great at detailing— and exaggerating—the benefits of saving sex for marriage, it is dishonest about the challenges abstinence presents to couples who eventually tie the knot.

Jessica Ciencin Henriquez recently detailed how the abstinence movement affected her sex life and marriage in a revealing article titled, “My Virginity Mistake.” Henriquez relays how she pledged herself to Jesus at a purity ceremony at age 14, remained a virgin until she married six years later, and wound up divorced after she and her husband could not make things work in the bedroom.

Looking back, Henriquez states if she had not insisted on waiting for sex until marriage, she could have prevented her divorce. The provocative subtitle of her article reads, “I took an abstinence pledge hoping it would ensure a strong marriage. Instead, it led to a quick divorce.”

Henriquez’s story is important because it highlights an issue the abstinence movement rarely acknowledges: sexual incompatibility within marriage. While this issue may seem irrelevant, it is actually fundamental to traditional Christian beliefs about sex. The fact that sexual compatibility does not matter to Christians when choosing a spouse makes the shocking and countercultural statement that sex is not our God. It indicates that we are willing to make a commitment to someone with whom we may be sexually incompatible, with whom we may never have good sex, because the purpose of marriage is not pleasure, but formation.

Our discourse about sex, however, tends to tell another story, a story that elevates sex to an inordinate degree. The abstinence movement, relying primarily on anecdotes, promises the young unmarrieds that if they save sex for marriage, they will have what Claire and Eli call “reward sex.” In other words, sex will be everything they’ve dreamed it would be—electric, erotic, or, as Elisabeth Elliot, who helped initiate the movement with her book Passion and Purity, writes “unspeakably worth the wait.” Not only are these promises incorrect, but they imply that the purpose of abstinence is good sex, not obedience to God and the cultivation of virtue.

This discourse is not confined to the unmarried, however. Once couples say “I do,” for the rest of their lives, they are expected to have good sex and a lot of it. Christian publications are brimming with instructions on these two contradictory principles: sexual compatibility doesn’t matter when selecting a spouse, but after marriage, couples are treated as if having good sex is part-and-parcel of the call to be a Christian. If you aren’t having good sex, you are expected to go to your local Christian bookstore and choose from a variety of titles—ranging from the classic The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly LaHaye to the more recent Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman.

In addition to misrepresenting the role of sex in a Christian’s life, this discourse also smacks of an inferiority complex that wants to compete with mainstream culture’s view of sex rather than modeling a rightly ordered sexual ethic to the world. For example, teachings on the Song of Solomon can range from using the book as a modern-day sex manual to a tool of manipulation to get women to acquiesce to inflated views of sex, such as a well-known pastor controversially enjoining women to perform oral sex because “Jesus Christ commands you to do so.” These sort of teachings on sex indicate the spurious claim many Christians accept: that the call to be a married Christian includes within it an obligation to become a sex god or goddess.

Although Christians have recently been more honest about the realities of sex, such as Jake and Melissa Kircher, who admit sex is not what it appears in the movies, a celebrity pastor’s recent appearance on The Viewdemonstrates that Christians still contend with Hollywood’s version of sex. Barbara Walters opens the segment with an alarming announcement: “It is a gospel you probably thought you would never hear from a man of the church: that the Lord wants married couples to have great sex, to have it often and even experiment in the bedroom.”

While this discourse elevates sex so that it becomes an idol, it also ignores a real problem Henriquez addresses and that is likely to surface in Christian marriages because of our insistence on abstinence. What if, contrary to Elliot’s experience, a couple’s wedding night doesn’t seem “worth the wait”?

The Kirchers have astutely suggested couples should expect to be sexually incompatible at first, but what should we say to couples who spend years, or even decades, trying to have good sex without success? How should we respond if a woman, like Henriquez, who obediently saved herself for marriage, finds herself feeling betrayed by the very principle she thought would give her a life of good sex and a happy marriage?

Although sex is indeed God’s gift to us, Christians are not directly commanded by God to have great sex. Couples may find themselves incompatible in the bedroom, and they should not be bombarded with pressure from the Christian community to start having good sex and lots of it. Instead, they should find support and comfort—support that sex is not the only thing that makes a good marriage, and comfort that historically all Christians have been called by God to suffer through numerous trials.

Christians are, and should be, hopeful people. After all, we believe in the resurrection of the dead, heaven and miracles. Some couples may find themselves miraculously gifted with good sex well after their vows, and books such as the LaHayes’ and Leman’s have helped a lot of people in this area. But in this world we will certainly have trouble. The world and all who dwell in it are imperfect. Sex, too, is bound up with the world’s imperfection. Some couples may spend their whole lives struggling with their physical relationship, and it is deceptive to teach that all Christians will, or are somehow biblically required to, have good sex.

Sexual incompatibility, therefore, is a cross that some couples bear, and Christian communities could lighten this burden if we made an effort to put sex in its rightful place. If sex were viewed as a gift that, like everything else in this world, is marred by sin, it may be easier for couples to accept that bad sex is neither a reason for divorce nor an excuse to stop investing in a marriage. As with other trials, bad sex is an opportunity to rejoice in suffering (1 Peter 4:13) and to be further conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

Ultimately, putting sex in its proper place will encourage us to order God’s gifts in the same way that church tradition teaches the ordering of love. All things, including sex, must be loved to the degree that is proper to the thing in question, with nothing superseding the love of God.

16 paragraphs and no reference to 1 Corinthians 7. Just some vague references to 1 Peter 4 and Romans 8 taken out of context.

Of course, had the author actually read 1 Corinthians 7, she would have found out some common themes that I’ve discussed here before.

1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband must [a]fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and [b]come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command. 7 [c]Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

Sex is not just for the ‘self’ but indeed the role and responsibility is to fulfill the other’s need to sex so as not to deprive the other through temptation. Basically, one of the responsibilities of marriage is to fulfill the other spouse’s need for sex, whether the husband or the wife wants sex more.

This can only be ‘stopped’ for short periods to pray MUTUALLY by both parties, and then sex is back on the table again. One spouse cannot say to ‘stop’ if they don’t want to because the goal is not selfishness but to love the other person.

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.

Indeed, the only reason given in the NT to marry is to those who burn with passion.

One would think that those who burn with passion and get married would have “great sex,” especially with lots of practice. If they’re burning with passion, they’re going to have lots of sex. Of course, it’s not guaranteed there will be “great sex,” but if the each spouse is focusing on the needs of the other, then it will definitely improve significantly over the course of time.

Then you have garbage like “sexual incompatibility” which is just a “lack of practice” and “lack of focusing on the other’s needs” and/or “lack of attraction.” In other words, selfishness.

Of course, all of this is nothing really new. The problem is that Christian organizations allow this type of stuff be run when they only take a synthesis of popular culture as a Biblical fact rather than what the actual Bible says. This is, by an large, a trend of cherry picking irrelevant verses to support a cultural facade and ignoring the verses that actually speak wisdom and Truth to the actual situation.

This is the first thing I look for when I read “Christian” articles and books to see if they actually conform to what the Bible states is the Truth. Not surprisingly, most don’t pass the grade.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 19 Comments

Men lead, women follow

Donal has a post up on overt and covert in regard to mating tendencies.

I have been doing some thinking lately how the whole process of actively trying to “woo” someone. There are two main models which are proposed, one of them the more widely accepted model and the other more common around the manosphere. They are:

  • Men are the pursuers and Women are the pursued
  • Men display and Women choose

I would like to examine these two models, because I am wondering if they are necessarily mutually exclusive. One way of reconciling these two is the following:

Men Display –> Women Choose –> Men Pursue –> Women are Pursued

All of the potential models involve men starting the process. Not really a surprise, I guess. Now to get to the title of the post.

Overall, I think what Roissy and whoever else states hints at the truth, but the actual Truth is as the Scriptures teach: men lead, women follow.

  • Men lead through initiation via their own leadership style among other factors (overtly displayed consciously or unconsciously through various social mediums).
  • Women choose whether to follow/submit or not.

In general, I do not believe that men pursue or that women are pursued in the strictest sense of the word. What follows is male investment and female re-evaluation.

  • Men invest non fungible resources — time, energy, money — and evaluate to consider whether their investment is good or not. If it is good, men will continue. If it seems bad or gets worse, a man may choose to disengage.
  • Women re-evaluate the investment to see if it is good or not. If it is not up to her “standards” whatever they are, she may depart. Women tend to have multiple avenues of re-evaluation of investment: all in (hell yes), satisfied, wishy-washy/looking for other options, I’m out, and hell no and maybe more.

A woman’s “response” or “re-evaluation” is neither covert in the sense that you typically cannot tell exactly from her actions. Rather, it typically is not in her actions but rather her attitude. A woman who thinks a man leading her is a good choice will be respectful and submit to him joyfully and enthusiastically for the most part, as long as her sensibilities are not offended. A woman who is more wishy washy will be contentious over the smallest details.

On a macro level, women tend to respond to a good investment with good investments of their own (e.g. reciprocal behavior). This is why 1 Peter 3 is so difficult for women because it forces her into a position of having to Trust that God will change the heart of a man through respect and chaste behavior and a quiet and gentle spirit — not nagging and harsh words and contentious behavior.

Also worth noting is a woman who is willing to invest more non-fungible resources than the man in the relationship is either very enthusiastic or desperate.

This is why it is important to look at the whole sum of a woman. It’s generally not enough to believe what she says. You need critically analyze her tone of voice and body language. It’s not enough to look at her actions. You need to see her body language and attitude she takes about going to do things. Women can also say one thing and do another. While actions are not the be all end all, it’s more important to evaluate actions over words. The chain of command is as follows.

                [Covert]        versus       [Overt]
[The Heart > Attitude] > [Actions > Words]

The heart and attitude are generally more “covert” in nature whereas actions and words tend to be more “overt.” Women’s ‘cattiness’ and ‘gossip’ is generally predicated on taking specific actions and words that mean one thing taken at face value, but mean the totally opposite thing based on the way or meaning in which it was said.

Men tend to be more straight forward with things regarding the heart, attitude, actions, and words. There are some exceptions (like one-itis), but usually most men will be able to tell if the woman following them is a good investment or not. Pulling the trigger to disengage if a woman is not what they want is another issue altogether.

Both men and women have the potential to “get lazy” in the relationship, which leads to dissatisfaction and usually poor behavior from the other.

To summarize:

  • Men lead, women follow
  • Men invest and evaluate their investment, women re-evaluate a man’s investment and follower status
  • Heart > attitude > actions > words
  • Heart and attitude are generally covert whereas actions and words are overt.
  • The closer to the heart, the more the actions reveal the Truth of what the other person believes.

Also, men are expected to read the extent of a woman’s evaluation of him. If he is ‘over invested’ that usually means her attraction will plummet. This is one of the more interesting attraction triggers that I may go into later.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 6 Comments

Mother’s Day in review

Little late to the party, but the previous Mother’s day my pastor actually just walked the congregation through the Scriptures.

It was the first time I’ve seen that happen, ever, so I was impressed. Took a few notes on what was taught too.

Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord

  • Be concerned about not just “rules” but the heart of the child.
  • Help them to understand why they are obedient, so that when they get to high school and college they will make better choices.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

  • Heart > rules.
  • Also, you can’t expect children to be in school for 8+ hours a day and then be able to teach your children at home in the 1-2 hours aside from dinner and homework.
  • Strong case for having a wife/mother stay at home so she can teach her children godly and family values.
  • God is more concerned about character than career.
  • Sacrifices are worth it.

Titus 2:1-5 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in [a]perseverance.3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may [b]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

  • Re-emphasis on family > career
  • Reverent/not malicious gossips – Kindness is important​ when things are not going well
  • Submission — Order not two headed, not politically correct but that’s what God’s Word teaches
  • 50/50 statistical divorce makes men and women think long and hard
  • God’s Word is dishonored if you act in a non-Christian manner

1 Peter 3:1-6 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.

  • Chaste and respectful behavior matters to win husbands. “There’s hope, don’t nag.” It’s possible even when it doesn’t feel like it
  • A gentle and quiet spirit shows you’re sold out for Jesus to do it His way… Confidence in trusting Jesus
  • Culture tells us to demand our rights, assert ourselves, and to yell and nag. This is not the answer.
  • Can’t be good enough or religious enough to be holy. Only by trusting in Jesus and being obedient.

Proverbs 31:10-31 –Didn’t get time to go over this part of the passage.

As I mentioned earlier, I was quite shocked and impressed. However, my fiance said she had heard similar sermons before, but all I know is it’s not common.

Never did I think I would hear Titus 2 and 1 Peter 3 instruction on Mother’s day, but I can’t say never anymore.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 2 Comments

Questionable strategy

There was recently a boundless post on Am I too strong? which is written by a woman.

Have you ever been told that you’re too strong to date? Or, have you wondered why you’re successful in several areas of life, but, at the same time, dateless?

A couple of years ago I came across the post On Daughters and Dating: How to Intimidate Suitors by Jen Wilkin on The Gospel Coalition. Wilkin’s underlying message is for parents. She encourages them to raise their girls to be confident Christian women, which in turn easily and naturally helps them ward off unwanted attention and advances.

Anyway, regardless of anything about the article, I think the comments are better. I’m only taking comments from the women, as it seems like there are some disparate comments from the men. Some of the men “laud” the strong women while some question the distinction of “strong” in faith versus strong of the world and how many times it means of the world.

Commenter 1: I love this! I tend to be pretty independent, not because I don’t need a man but because I don’t have one. I was talking to my brother and asking if maybe I was too intimidating, he told me that I need to just keep doing my thing and if a guy is intimidated, he’s not the right one. I’m 31 and single, I would like to be married but for now I’m traveling, serving the church, mentoring, growing, learning, competing on my horse…

Commenter 2: I can relate… even if the words were not well-chosen, I know what you mean. I’ve watched as my more “swoony” friends have dated and been proposed to and married. I’m just not the type of girl who’s needy or flirty… and in a way, I think that makes me more intimidating. It’s just going to take a special, courageous guy to initiate a relationship with me. It’s almost as if guys have been conditioned to wait for a girl to initiate a relationship. It’s very frustrating for those who want to be pursued.
Commenter 3: [Name], I like how you described it. I’m not “swoony” or flirty either, and that’s been to my dating detriment, but it’s also helpful in weeding out the “slouchy pants” guys. 🙂 I can’t wait to be flirty with my forever person. Thanks for commenting. Best wishes to

Essentially, what it seems to boil down for women who have commented that they are single for a while is that they’re basically uninterested in seeming interested in men that they may like. This is not some random anecdote from the ‘sphere but is a pretty common phenomena throughout the Church.

Indeed, two other commenters even suggests that not showing interest is probably not the best strategy.

Commenter 4: On the other hand, being “flirty/swoony” is a way that women can communicate that they are interested in being pursued.  I’m not saying you should do this in an over-the-top way or a way that dishonors God, but a guy is going to pursue a woman he thinks is interested in him too more so than a woman who is subtly (or even overtly) communicating disinterest in being pursued.

Commenter 5: Yeah. Men tend to approach women more when they’re flirty or seem interested because of the decreased rate of rejection. Plus, why would you not want to try to get to know someone who is interested in you.

Seems to be a common theme from the single women in the comments. They don’t want to communicate any interest at all even if it would potentially increase their chances. They also seem to think it’s somehow weeding out men that aren’t good enough.

Not the strategy I would choose, but hopefully it works for them.

When you’re single for so long and waiting and continuing to ‘weed out’ so-called ‘weak men’ who you don’t want to be with it may be a good idea to actually reevaluate your strategy. Obviously, these women probably don’t know and maybe don’t want to hear about how their increasing age and decreasing beauty is working against them, so it may pay to change their strategy a bit.

Many commenters here, at Donal’s, Dalrock’s and Scott’s continue to suggest that single Christian women learn how to flirt, be outgoing, and improve their communication skills so they can increase their chances. It seems like this advice is also needed out in the “real world” as well.

Since this post was written in queue, there are more comments. This is an honest comment from a man who illustrates the non-blog way that men view women:

Being totally honest here, it depends on what I perceive your value to be.

If you are the only 10/10 I ever expect to enter the doors of my church, I really enjoy being around you and your life is rich with spiritual fruit, I may make more effort to scale the wall to win your hand in marriage.  On the other hand, if you are only borderline and you put up resistance (or your father does), I may conclude it isn’t meant to be.

If I view a lady as borderline and I interact with her, it means I am vaguely open to the possibility of a relationship and want to give it a chance to see if I grow to like her over time.  A lady therefore needs to make a realistic assessment on whether I see her as a 10/10 or a borderline lady: – the danger is that she will put up walls, wrongly assuming I view her as a 10/10.

If a lady has absolutely no interest in marriage to me now or ever, I am unlikely to appreciate being lead on.  On the other hand, if a lady thinks she may one day come to like me, but wants me to work harder to win her over, she has to make sure her response communicates that, because my default interpretation of resistance in a lady is “I’m not interested in you, not now, not ever”.

For instance, a lady might say, “You seem like a nice guy, but I don’t know you all that well and I’ve got temporary difficulties in life that would make me struggle to give due attention to a relationship at this precise moment”, before following it up with a group-date invitation (or two, or three) a little while later to see if I rise to the bait.

In a nutshell, to use a gambling term, it is all about a lady knowing her hand.  Granted, there are no guarantees in life, so a strong hand may not ultimately result in the desired outcome, but a lady who regularly overplays her hand is unlikely to reach her end goal.

When it comes to whether or not I like “feisty” ladies, it all depends.  A godly man will always want to build his future family according to God’s blueprint and so a man will look at women to see if they demonstrate the potential to be obedient to him as required by Ephesians 5:22-24.  If a lady is feisty for Christ and her spiritual fruits indicate this, then that is a fantastic thing!  On the other hand, if she is “feisty” as in someone who is always argumentative about matters there is no value in arguing about, I will conclude she will not be a useful “asset” to me and ultimately draining of my energy.

A lady therefore needs to show me that she has sound judgement regarding when to be “feisty” and when not to be “feisty”.  Ecclesiastes 3:7: – “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak”.

The more beautiful and feminine a woman is, the longer leash they get from a man. The same is true of an attractive jerk. That’s just the way it is folks. Attractive people get a great benefit of the doubt.

That doesn’t mean you should take advantage of attractiveness to act like a witch or dbag, but you should see the importance of attractiveness if you desire to be married.

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The questionability of eros

“Eros” as a Greek term isn’t found anywhere in the Scriptures.

Every time I hear a Christian refer to how love in marriage is “eros” I somewhat get the inkling feeling that it’s questionable.

Now, I suppose you could tie this somewhat back to my previous post, especially the discussion on yoga in the comments. Calisthenics and various stretches and other movements are not necessarily “pagan” by nature, but when you codify a system of movements in celebration or a ritual of a pantheon of gods it may be questionable. The arguments in the commentary have somewhat begun to sway me to the “avoid yoga” side of the argument.

“Eros” in particular is based on a Greek god and cult. It has ties to illicit love, homosexuality, and the idolization of attraction and sex. Just like chivalry or “courtly love” is based in the idolization of romance, eros is about the idolization of sex with or without marriage.

The Scriptures tie the morality of sex to marriage, and thus justify the wholeness of passion within the bounds of the marital bed. Everything outside of that concept is sin. While Christians have tried to redefine “eros” as meaning sex within marriage (and that this is true), redefining a pagan concept as Christian is dubious.

Similar veins of thought:

  • Redefining game within a Christian context is also dubious.
  • Why I don’t respect women.
  • “Marriage” by the Supreme Court is not just “one man and one woman” anymore, but when Christians talk about marriage we automatically assume that it is “one man and one woman” even though we know that is not what the law of the land says currently.

My overall conclusion is that the lines and terminology should be used as how they were defined by the Scripture.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 30 Comments