Dating and labels
Over the past year, I’ve ultimately come to the conclusion that the “labels” expressed in relationships are utterly meaningless. Dating, boyfriend, girlfriend, and whatever else you want to talk about. Given a Scriptural view, the only “states” that are possible are: single, betrothed/engaged, amd married.
What I’ve found discussing relationships with [mostly] “blue pill” Christians is that labels seem more important to women. The only exception is if the man implicitly or explicitly believes that he is lucky to be with a woman or thinks she is out of his league. Then he will want to resort to a label such as “this is *my* girlfriend.” It’s born out of neediness, and often those relationships will just end up in failure and oneitis.
Women, in general, are more concerned about appearance and status than men are. Hence, if there is a potential budding relationship that may be headed toward engagement or marriage and the woman is actually attracted to a man then she will want the label of girlfriend. If, however, a woman is humoring a man she will hang around him and spend time with him — usually as an orbiter for her emotions — and when asked about if they’re together deny the whole thing. Obviously, this trend follows along with the “watch what they do, not what they say” although in this case what they say is what they are doing: if they like you they want to associate with you in a label (“girlfriend”) or non-label (“no, we’re just friends” or “ewww, no way”).
The reason why I’m analyzing labels here is because it’s important to men. If men explicitly deny that labels exist — which they should — then it forces women to be serious about the relationship if whether it is headed toward engagement and marriage. This has been discussed in the ‘sphere before, but the label of “girlfriend” is one of pseudo-commitment. The woman gets the benefit of the relationship — dates, dinner, access to money on some level, emotional support, and the like — in exchange for what? No sex for the man? Of course not, as we are Christians.
Moving toward the Truth
I think the truth is much harder to handle for most men simply because we are ingrained with so many false mindsets about what to expect in relationships.
Even the view of the pseudo-relationship in dating and girlfriends and boyfriends takes the wrong attitude toward relationships for men. Relationships are not born out of exchange nor are they born out of performance but desire. They are born out of the desire to give freely of yourself unconditionally. If I ever think that I need to impress someone in a relationship, or if I need to do something so that they like me, or if I’m doing something either or me or them other than to bless them then I’m in the wrong mindset.
Likewise, there’s also the typical albeit false wisdom of:
- Women control the sex card
- Men control the commitment card
From what we know of “alpha” men — or rather masculine men whether evil or good — we know that they both control the commitment card and the sex card. In the cases of celebrities, women will often throw themselves as a man for sex even though they are supposed to “hold” that card.
That’s why I now solely think in terms of the fact that men are to hold all of the cards in the relationship. Boys who start on the road to become men must begin to understand that they hold both cards in the relationship because if they don’t they will be controlled by them. Men who are controlled by sex put sex as an idol in their life. This is the true nature of authority. If you’re not in control of your own desires then they will master you.
Genesis 4:5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, [e]will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
This is also one of the primary ways to understand headship. Technically, the “sex card” is held by both the husband and the wife:
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.
And the authority of the sex card is only pro-sex. It is never anti-sex except when mutually agreed for prayer. Knowing that you have authority changes the way you act.
Authority is pervasive
When I discussed change the mindset change the man, the real core of changing a man’s mindset is that it filters down into his heart and out of his heart comes an attitude and from his attidude comes his actions. What this means is that knowing that you have authority and understanding the responsibility that you have for the authority will change your entire demeanor and attitude. Attraction becomes no longer a thing that you need to worry about. The mastery over yourself and identity in Christ frees us from being needy and self serving and develops us into being leaders not followers. Confidence overflows.
It’s crazy how much of the initiation of sex comes down to simple dominance, confidence, and taking action. See reddit’s: ladies how do you like for a guy to initiate sex. Of course, there’s a couple incorrect ones there (choreplay, asking questions, etc.), but as a whole women like dominance in a man. If we understand that:
(1) Heart -> (2) attitude -> (3) actions
Then we also understand that dominance and confidence manifest in actions. What is of the heart? The heart is what drives us: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The heart being the center of our thoughts and emotions. Our thoughts and emotions should be driven by the Truth. God’s Word and our personal relationship with Him. Thus, this leads to the following sequence, much like we understand the sequence in behavioral cycles:
(1) Our hearts are composed of the thoughts and actions built on foundational truths: the authority of headship for husbands and those who want to be husbands.
(2) The knowledge of the truth that we have power and that we need to be responsible for it shifts our attitudes. I don’t need to perform for anyone, much less women. I don’t need sex. Nothing is above God. Women are taken off the pedastal.
(3) From these attitudes they manifest into actions. We cannot be manipulated by women or their vaginas (crass, I know). We act with confidence and dominance in the knowledge that we are given authority by God to use responsibly. Not to sin, not to tempt, but for the purpose of His will in marriage.
It’s a self reinforcing process. And ultimately, this is what “love” truly is. It’s born of the mature Christian, and innately part of understanding masculinity as a whole. This is the glossed over part of 1 Corinthians 13:
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.
Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. And the way to grow in becoming a man of God is to abide in the Truth. Agape love is ultimately the love which transcends performance and is rooted solely in desire. And as we know, performance based mindsets pale to the power of desire. I find it really interesting how “attraction” is literally built in along the way to becoming a man of God. It’s the precursor to the hierarchy of responsibility that comes overall in marriage, and with dominion as a whole.
I take the lead in my relationships with women now. I “act” as an authority figure and see how they respond. If they respond positively I may ask them out if they meet other preferences. If they don’t respond positively and/or ignore you then you stay away from them. I don’t care what you call it. Amused mastery, outcome independence, confidence, or whatever. It’s authority straight up. Obviously, you are not their authority when you’re getting to know them, so you shouldn’t be angry if they respond neutrally or negatively. They’re not the ones you want in your marriage if that’s the case as they won’t be willing to respect you or submit to you. Move on.
However, the ones who do respond positively are potential candidates for marriage after going through other vetting. The most important thing is that they are willing to what God says, especially in the Scriptures. And that they are willing to walk in them, no matter how they might feel about them. Everything else is gravy.
Ultimately, marriage is best viewed through the lens of authority: it is a headship-submission relationship based in love and respect. The Scriptures only speak to three things in the marriage relationship: authority, sex (based in authority), and roles/responsibilities of husband-wife and families (also based in authority). The authority is rooted not in the husband, but in God who has given authority to earthly structures included in His Church and in His families. This is the way you must understand it as a man. If you understand it in this way, you will begin to act masculine. Think in those terms.
The funny thing about authority is that it’s pervasive in life. I’m going to follow up this post with another on a clearer understanding of authority.
Back to labels
At the end of the day, in terms of labels I am willing to humor women with the label of girlfriend and boyfriend. It’s something that they like and not necessarily contrary to the Scriptures. But if you do humor them you must understand the fundamental truths that underlie the fakeness of the labels.
It should be communicated that there is no pseudo-commitment involved unless there is actually an engagement. This will force women to seriously consider if the relationship is important to them and if they are willing to move towards engagement and marriage. It will also speed the process along.
Indeed, engagement now in reality pseudo-commitment because we don’t live in a culture that has dowry, bride gifts, and other exchanges of possessions or material goods. One party and unilaterally break agreement without any reprocussions leaving the other high and dry. For example, the woman can just keep the engagement ring if she breaks off the engagement instead of having to give it back.
There’s a reason that there is the phrase “settling into a relationship” and it means that the unknown or urgency of a potential relationship is put off. In particular, the boyfriend-girlfriend experience mitigates the seriousness of commitment that engagement and marriage have. It is assumed that relationships are moving toward that, but the false sense of security is there. If you’ve ever wondered why people are girlfriend and boyfriend for 3+, 5+, and I’ve known some that are even 10+ years before getting married. You know why now.
It’s not as “bad” as cohabitation, but I believe it is up there in the depreciation of what commitment means.
The main point I am trying to make with this section is this: The uncomfortability that both men and women will feel from not being in a “committed” boyfriend-girlfriend relationship will drive them to actually consider engagement and marriage much more quickly. Boyfriend-girlfriend is a form of pseudo-commitment that benefits neither party and often delays engagement and marriage and getting serious about learning about each other and if they are ready for engagement or marriage.
Relationships that aren’t headed toward engagement or marriage don’t need to be defined by labels like boyfriend or girlfriend. A potential relationship whether you have labels or not should always be moving forward and have a time frame. There should be goals set and expectations in that regard. If there’s not, you may be getting shafted by some form of complacency, pseudo-commitment, or comfort at your own peril.
This ended up way longer than I wanted. Thoughts and comments appreciated.