Revisiting the Christian marriage market

There’s been some additional good material over at Scott’s post still aside from my post on Make it happen.

Elspeth comments:

4) Out in the *real world*, there are very few men who are overly impressed by virginity. I can see how (after 5+ years of reading “no hymen, no diamond”) one could get that impression, but it’s skewed. That includes men in the church. Look around at the number of men who marry women they have slept with, or knocked up, or whatever, BEFORE the wedding. This includes sincere Christian men. I don’t subscribe to the “no true Christian” trope because all Christians have weaknesses.

5) Just thought I would throw that in. In a self-selecting barrage of commentary, and after a long period of time reading said commentary (especially if you’ve been dating from this pool as well), it’s easy to have a skewed perception of things. It’s one of the reasons I am so, so big on sticking our necks out there and developing connections with a wide variety of people. Good, decent, Christian people come from various walks of life.

6) I am not saying you are idolizing your virginity. I believe you understand full well that at 32, you are at a “disadvantage” compared to a 22 year old who may or may not be a virgin. It’s just the reality of things and you don’t strike me as someone out of touch with reality. Fortunately, it only takes one good fit to find someone with whom you can build a life. I believe you will find him, and FWIW, I have met quite a few women who have several babies from their 30’s. I think a lot of the difficulties are overstated because they include women -the majority- who have been on birth control, promiscuous, are unhealthy, etc. All things which are ubiquitous and have effects on fertility.

ys comments:

1) Yes, traditional types are having trouble getting married now, including traditional women. Is it because of fears of divorce? Likely, not. I know a man in Christ (not myself) who was acquainted with a small number of traditional women. Who did he marry? The single mom. Wait, forgot to mention: The California Beach Blonde single mom who is a 9. Yeah, that matters. People here, and in other parts of the manosphere, can opine about what “should be.” End of the day, how many of the ones who say “AWALT” would turn down the 9 who was interested? Would any of them babble, “No Hymen, no Diamond?” Likely not. This is our weakness, as men. We know for women that they make rules for beta, and break them for alpha. Most men, make rules for 5’s and 6’s (be traditional, no college, virgin, etc.) but when the 9 or 10 comes along and wants to settle down, who cares what her N is?

2) Yes, the young traditional men, as in, the ones actually following God and doing what His Word says (no pre-marriage sex) do seem to be having more trouble settling down. I know several men like this IRL, and I wonder to myself if the sex drive is there, or what’s up. I think their parents detested the post 1960’s dating system, but didn’t really set up anything to replace it. Further complicating matters is the need to be financially set upon marriage. That was easy for my parents’ and grandparents’ generations (Dad had mortgage-paying job in manufacturing at age 18, Grandpa, while never wealthy, didn’t even have a high school diploma, but had five kids and a young marriage). All of these factors increase the challenge for today’s young people, no doubt.

3) It is hard to make a consensus of what the manosphere truly believes. The reasons for this seem to be: the manosphere is a mix of true Christians, PUAs, and those who would use the Bible as a club to teach submission to husbands but don’t really believe it otherwise (good grief that last line sounds feminist, but it is true unfortunately).

Generally speaking, these observations are easy to understand.

  • Age and attraction matters. Men will “compromise” on a lot of different things if a woman is young and attractive.

This includes things like virginity, single mom status, character flaws, wishy-washy faith, and so on. Compromising on such things are not a good thing. It almost always comes back to bite people in the long run.

  • The only reason given in the NT to marry is attraction. 1 Corinthians 7:8 Now to the unmarried and widows I say this: It is good for them to remain unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Obviously, attraction is not the only thing, but it is a significant part of why all people — not just Christians — want to marry. If only Christians could just accept this, it would make things a lot easier. No kidding a husband and wife want to be “turned on” with each other.

  • Virginity matters, but not as much as attraction and/or a strong Christian faith.

Whether this is right or wrong I’m not going to speculate. I’m just talking about what “is.”

All things being equal, a man would rather marry a virgin than someone who has slept around a lot. There are a few instances where men are deceived by worldly standards and want their wife to have experience, but I typically have not seen this among Christians.

I’ve also noticed that many of my friends including myself would [have] rather married a devoted Christian with N > 0 than a lukewarm Christian who is a virgin. This is especially true if said pre-marital sex happened before a woman was a Christian, and she has shown a pattern of good behavior and works since becoming a Christian without further slip ups.

On the other side of the coin, you have those who will marry those who will sleep around or single moms. This is to their own detriment that they did not consider virginity important in conjunction with the Christian faith and pursued attraction above all else.

This is something that adds value, but given our culture there are various reasons why someone may not be marrying a virgin.

  • Incentives matter. Everything you see in the so-called “market” is driven by incentives. I listed quite a few of the negative and few positive incentives in my previous post make it happen.

What drives men and women toward marriage are a lot of different things such as biology (sex drive), masculinity/femininity, procreation, companionship, helpmeet, and so on. There are also a lot of things driving people away from marriage negatively like divorce, courts, child support, blowing up marriages, obesity, and so on.

It should be no surprise that marriage rates are declining. In fact, I think they would be declining even without no-fault divorce, screwed up courts, and so on. Over-exposure and the tyranny of choice drive that. People tend not to be as satisfied with their choices if they know there are ‘better options’ even if they can’t obtain such a better option.

  • The more qualifications, the harder it is. It’s simple mathematics.

This should be fairly obvious, but it seems like it’s not. The “true” Christians will have more stringent qualifications on who they marry for good reason. They want someone who is dedicated to their faith in both growing in Jesus and good character. They also want someone who is attractive to them. Such Christians will have a much more difficult time finding someone who is strong in their faith AND simultaneously attractive to them.

Some compromise the wrong way (attraction > faith + character). Some compromise the right way (faith + character > attraction). And some get both… Usually the 8-10s will get both nowadays. The rest will not.

Overall, age and attractiveness are the primary factors that tend to drive male sexuality and hence also marriage. Other factors may include companionship/helpmeet, respect/love (for men and women), wanting to have a family, virginity, and other such things. Age obviously plays a role in attractiveness due to beauty but also in fertility. Worldly things like status and money can be a factor as well.

This is the reason why it is important for women to cultivate their beauty, femininity, and have a mind for marriage at a younger age. It’s a huge leg up in finding suitable candidates that they’re also attracted to. Virginity is more of an “add on bonus” when everything is said and done for most of the population, even serious Christians depending on the circumstance. All things being equal, it is preferable.

Older Christian women who want to marry need to cultivate their beauty and femininity as much as possible as well as a kind, household oriented, and servant hearted demeanor. Age and beauty are not on their side so they may need to compromise in other areas but not faith or character.

Conclusion: Women your physical beauty will get you in the door, and your personality and spirituality will make him want to keep you. While the latter is the most important, you cannot neglect the former if you want to get married.

Conclusion: Men your masculine personality and confidence will get you in the door, and your ability to lead her spiritually will make her want to keep you. While the latter is the most important, you cannot neglect the former if you want to get married.

To go back to to the analogy I used in my first ever post on this blog, attraction matters as it gets your foot in the door. If you can’t get a foot in the door, you likely aren’t going to get married. Women won’t be asked out. Men won’t be accepted for dates or relationships.

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6 Responses to Revisiting the Christian marriage market

  1. donalgraeme says:

    Solid writing. I cannot see anything that I disagree with, at least after a first read.

  2. Augustinian Ubermensche says:

    I was in a relationship with a “traditional Christian” woman who was a solid 8.5. I was in this relationship during my 3rd year of medical school (one of the hardest years) living 400 miles away from my family and did all the traditional stuff like pick her up from her parent’s house to go to dinner, meet regularly with an older couple in our church, get to know her family, have pastoral council throughout the whole process, challenge her to grow in her faith, and was all around “Mr. Right”, in spite of her struggles with certain mental health issues. I even met with her parents for lunch to ask their blessing in person. She accepted my proposal, including my $1800 ring that I got off of med school student loans. 3 months later she said she had lost “feelings” for me, even though I had always kept Christ at the center of our relationship and called off the engagement without wanting to meet together with a pastor for couple’s counseting. Now I am alone again in a dangerous inner city, 400 miles away from home, having taken an extra year in medical school to pick up a second degree, lost all our mutual friends, and left the church that I had come to call home to go back to a smaller church with no girls…And yet Mark Driscoll says “who the hell are you?!”… Fuck these bitches. These immature, emotional whores and their enablers in church leadership. Fuck ’em all.

  3. Incentives & Instincts matter. And life is harder on the left-side of the curve. It’s always the reality of the matter.

    But one of the biggest issues around the “traditional” Women is that they still live in a world that is dragging them in a complete separate direction and, being Women, they aren’t really broken away from the rest of the World. And almost none are really very interested in doing the actual work to change themselves. That’s part of the reason the Convert will, in many ways, be favored over the Raised Christian. One was given a massive blessing; the other *chose* to come to Christ on the back of their sin.

    Now, that massive blessing, because of the corruption of the Church, might actually be much more baggage than we want to admit. Even the traditional Churches being as steeped in Worldliness as the rest of the culture, the hard question to ask is “Are Men reacting, at the instinctive level, to Women demanding they sign up for just a different set of headaches?”. (And, frankly, possibly more.)

    Though it has to be noted that the effects of the corruption of the Church has destroyed the Network Effects that come from being within the Church. That’s actually the deeper dysfunction from the Marriage Market perspective. (One might view it, partially, as an intended result by various parties.) No one knows who’s looking, knows who to contact, who to talk to or even that you can talk to people about looking for a spouse. This is a problem even before all other considerations and whether you can trust the network of people you’re interacting with.

    Though the advice for a young Woman wanting to marry is still the same: you have to be pro-active and get over yourself.

  4. @ Augustinian Ubermensche

    I don’t mean it in a harsh way, but the bright side is better now than after a few years of marriage and now you know who your real friends are.

    This is also why attraction is important aside from Christ to a marriage. While it doesn’t fully eliminate the fact that a woman may want to leave a “serious relationship,” it is part of the incentivizing factors in keeping a relationship together.

    Keep pressing on. It’s still all about Christ and pleasing him.

  5. Pingback: Imbalanced market forces | Christianity and masculinity

  6. Robin Munn says:

    Reading Elspeth’s point #4, I noticed that she said, “Look around at the number of men who marry women they have slept with, or knocked up, or whatever, BEFORE the wedding.” (Emphasis added).

    That’s not quite the same thing as men not valuing virginity. A man who sleeps with his fiancée before the wedding, because they let their passions get away from them, may still value the fact that he’s the only man she’s ever slept with, i.e. she was a virgin before they met. By sleeping together before the wedding, they do lose something (the honeymoon isn’t as special, they have somewhat worse odds for divorce, etc.), but the odds of marital success are still quite a lot better for them (especially if they were both virgins before they started sleeping together) than for a couple where both had an N of (say) 3, but waited until their wedding to sleep with each other.

    I think that Elspeth is probably right that many men aren’t valuing virginity like they should, but the example she chose doesn’t actually demonstrate what she’s trying to demonstrate.

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