Attraction and the roots of dysfunction in relationships

When discussing dysfunction of relationships in Dalrock’s most recent thread, the question of why attraction is important has come up.

Churchian deception on attraction

First, it bears noting that most supposedly Christian pastors and counselors are peddling lies about [sexual] attraction. For example, most of them say that a wife’s lack of sexual attraction for her husband is due to his lack of godliness. In other words, if a husband were “more godly” then a wife will be more attracted to him.

Obviously, we know this is empirically false. There are many such “bad boys” that women are [sexually] attractive to women and they often sleep with them. However, they also know they are bad for relationships. Christian women also fall prey to attempting to missionary date sometimes. Thus, we know that attraction may only be related to godliness but not the cause of it.

The unfortunate part of peddling this lie is the destructive idolatry that is set up within the marriage. If a “wife’s attraction to her husband” is the proving point of a “husband being godly” then that means “her feelings” are being made into the “idol of what is godly and not godly.”

Unfortunately, these lies are being peddled by most big Christian organizations and marriage counselors like Focus on the Family (FotF), Council of biblical manhood and womanhood (CBMW), and many prominent pastors. If you want to see what Christian marriage counselors look in Dalrock’s post above for links to their quotes.

This is basic level stuff. Let’s move on.

Created nature

I think the reason why Churchians believe that why godliness is THE indicator of attraction is because they believe that our base nature is evil. Many Christians have an instinctual fear that the desire for sex is evil, and I discussed some other reasons in Dalrock’s post.

I think that a lot of people are loath to admit that we have a created nature — Christians and even non-Christians — that affects us. It seems wrong to them that since we can think logically that our base nature — or shall we say instinctive nature — has any effect on what we do.

Attraction, like feelings, are based in instinctual nature and felt on a visceral level. If you see a really beautiful woman you feel desire for her in your gut. This cannot be negotiated with logic. It simply is. Obviously, you can choose what you want to do with it, but you can’t change it.

Christians want godliness to be [sexually] attractive because that means that we are making a “good and righteous” choice when we marry a Christian spouse. It’s very easy to be deluded into such a false thinking because it is an attractive lie. That’s the way we think it SHOULD be because we think that God would definitely not want us to be attracted to unbelievers. However, it goes against what we empirically observe in God’s creation which means it’s a lie.

Ignoring the base created nature is not just a fallacy that Christians fall into but secular thinking falls into as well. Feminism, after all, is based on the false notion that we are born equal in that women can do any of the same things as men.

Our base created nature is good because it is God’s creation. However, much of this is twisted because many Christians are under the false impression that this created nature is evil, much of which I think is because of the fall and its effects.

Many Christians think that “the fall is the root of all evil” and thus “anything that feels bad must be evil” not realizing that consciences can be distorted. Things that FEEL wrong can be righteous and things that FEEL right can be unrighteous. For example, sex outside of marriage feels right but indeed it is wrong. Likewise, many times in marriage and relationships responding kindly to anger from a spouse is right but because of temptation it feels wrong.

The same mistake is made by Christians asserting that godliness is associated directly with the attraction that a wife feels for her husband. Feelings are not a determination of what is godly and ungodly.

Why is attraction important

The reason why I spend so much time discussing attraction on this blog is that it is important in two respects.

  • Attraction is an important indicator for Christian men who desire to be married to achieve their goal. Marriage is obviously a good goal to strive for even though culturally it’s a sham with the laws slanted against men.

1 Timothy 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will [a]fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Now, it’s not THE indicator, but it is AN indicator. Attraction should not be made into an idol. However, it’s important to know if you’re attractive or not and what you can do about it because Christian men and women likely aren’t going to marry someone they are not attracted to in this day and age. That’s just a simple fact that is nearly universally true.

THE indicator would be preparation for the Biblical roles and responsibilities of being a husband and/or wife. For example, husbands should develop their capacity for dominion (Gen 1,2,3), leadership/headship and protector (Eph 5), love (Eph 5), not being embittered (Col 3), honoring women as coheirs in Christ (1 Pet 3), and being a provider (1 Tim 5), food, clothes and sex (Exo 21, 1 Cor 7).

  • Lack of attraction within marriages is typically an indicator of developing or deep rooted dysfunction.

I will use one of my responses in Dalrock’s thread to elucidate on this point:

Boxer nailed it (see above). The issue has little to do with the intrinsic value of godliness per se, but more about the woman’s perception of its value. When a woman has learned not to [appreciate] godly traits in a man, maybe she is not the type of woman to be with in the first place. If [we endlessly] cater to what a woman finds [naturally] attractive, where does it end? What happens when she is no longer “naturally” attracted to her husband? Wouldn’t that justify the EPL mindset?

No… you’re missing the point. You can’t change what women are attracted to, and it’s not godliness. However, you can preach Biblical roles and responsibilities to women/wives which will restore their attraction for their husbands.

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.

It’s natural for women to respectful and submissive — and thus be sexually attracted to — an authority. A husband walking in headship is the authority of the marriage and thus commands masculine power and status. For example, the common places in culture where women are naturally attracted to authority figures are clear with these being the first examples that come to mind.

  1. Teacher-student
  2. Boss-secretary
  3. Doctor-nurse
  4. Executive-employee

This should be manifested in two ways:

I. Wives who submit to their Biblical roles and responsibilities of submission and respect will naturally see their husband as increasingly attractive. The problem is that wives are NOT taught by older women to be respectful and submissive nor are they told from the pulpit to be respectful and submissive.

II. Men need to be taught that they don’t need their wife’s permission to act as the head of the marriage. They act as the head because they are commanded to by God in the Scriptures. This shift in mindset will make a man go from reactive to proactive and leading by example.

The problem is that our culture is feminized and this has led to the Church being infested with feminism. Preaching headship and love is cliche. Every church does that. If a Church is not directly opposed to feminism and preaching the hard word of submission and respect to wives then then issue will remain as it is and continue to get worse. Churches that cut their husbands off at the knees by continually beating them down will have the worst attraction problems in marriages.

A lack of sexual attraction in marriage is symptom of dysfunction not the cause. It’s an issue of usually both the husband and the wife not fulfilling proper Biblical roles and responsibilities. In some cases, it’s solely the wife being rebellious like in the examples in Dalrock’s post. Finally, no matter how “bad” a husband is leading the marriage, a wife can always submit and respect. See: 1 Peter 3.

Where to go from here

Ultimately, this poses the question on where to go after identifying the issues surrounding the lies of churchianity and how attraction can be an indicator along the way. The answer to this is based in discipleship as I have noted before on this blog. This response reveals some good thoughts.

“Godliness for all intents and purposes is the fruits of the Spirit.”

You’ve had some good doctrine in your last two posts, but here you’ve fallen victim to the very bad (or at least incomplete, in an effeminate way) doctrine you decry. God is not just Spirit, but also Father and Son.

The Creed begins “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth.”

Authority and power are godly as well, indeed the principle qualities which are, especially as pertains to a man seeking to lead a godly life, and thus to follow God’s example.

Oh, I agree. The reality is that even Timothy wasn’t like that because he was raised by a single mother and grandmother.

2 Timothy 1:5 [e]For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of [f]timidity, but of power and love and [g]discipline.

edit: thanks to commenter micha on Dalrock’s for letting us know that Timothy just had an unbelieving father. “Consider Acts 16:1, “He reached (also) Derbe and Lystra where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.”” [editors note:I suppose having a non-believing father or absent father or weak father figure is similar in all of those cases]

The fruits of the Spirit are not mutually exclusive with leadership, confidence, power, strength, and masculine traits…. the only problem is both culture and churchianity beat the masculinity, leadership, confidence, and the like out of men and all you’re left with are shells of men who simply exist by acting godly but without the power. You’re right… it’s not the **fullness** of godliness.

The key to discipleship is to raise men to be strong, confident, and masculine that walk in godliness. For that the Church needs to be directly opposed to feminism and have mentors who can teach men how to be men. The current crop of pastors is doing a terrible job by piling up the responsibility on men without telling them have the corresponding authority.

The church has caved to culture in order to be “relevant” which basically makes poor disciples. If the Church actually wants to be relevant and move in power it needs godly, strong, confident men and godly, feminine, kind women.

[End quote]

Obviously, the answer is to prepare both men and women for the roles and responsibilities for Biblical marriage if they want to be married and to tell those who are married to walk in Biblical roles and responsibilities.

If this was implemented, attraction would cease to be a factor for most marriages because there would be no lack of attraction and sex in marriage. However, this is counter to feminism and the independence/emancipation of women to do their own thing. So it’s not likely to be implemented anytime soon, except in potentially your own sphere of influence.

Conclusions

  • Attraction is not THE indicator, but it is a decent indicator of being able to attain goals for single men and an indicator of dysfunction for relationships and marriages.
  • For single men who want to be married attraction can be used as a one of many gauges of progress. Obviously, preparation for the roles and responsibilities of marriage is the ultimate indicator, but attraction is a decent — not great — indicator of how a man is acting with women: masculine versus unmasculine.
  • For married men attraction is not an indicator of godliness. However, it tends to be a good indicator of potential dysfunction resulting in neglect or ignorance of the roles and responsibilities of the husband and wife. Sometimes it both. Sometimes it’s only the wife. Rarely is it only the husband due the nature of submission and respect.
  • The Church needs to overtly oppose feminism.
  • The Church needs to focus on discipleship for men teaching them how to be men. The lack of this discipleship — often due to women initiated divorce and/or lack of strong father figures — has resulted in men who are not strong, confident, masculine leaders. If the Church wants these types of men they have to implement programs to raise them up.

If you have thoughts or questions on where to explore these concepts next post them in the comments.

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6 Responses to Attraction and the roots of dysfunction in relationships

  1. Robin Munn says:

    Quick comment to correct what’s probably a typo:

    You have a bolded bullet point starting out “Attraction within marriages is typically an indicator of developing or deep rooted dysfunction.”

    I think you mean to write “Lack of attaction within marriages is typically an indicator of developing or deep rooted dysfunction.”

  2. Pingback: Attraction and the roots of dysfunction in relationships – Manosphere.com

  3. donalgraeme says:

    I agree with most of what you said. Just one quick point needs addressing, however:

    If this was implemented, attraction would cease to be a factor because there would be no lack of attraction and sex in marriage.

    There will always be some who have issues being attractive. Perhaps because of health, or some other factor. But you would fix the sentence by adding “for most marriages” in between “factor” and “because.”

    There will always be those who lose out with the genetic lottery, but the situation would dramatically improve for most if the proper steps were taken.

  4. @ Donal

    Good point.

  5. gordax says:

    good post DS! this is one I gotta show my youth pastor.

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