The failure of chivalry in Biblical marriage, works and desire, and the failure of game

To tack on to Dalrock and Cane in the most recent post, here’s my general analysis.

Chivalry, as virtuous as it may seem to some, is essentially pandering to women and/or your wife.

1 Cor 7:32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

This is the battle of every husband: the concerns of God versus the concerns of the wife. This can manifest in quite a few forms of idolatry:

  • Elevating a woman’s feelings/emotions above God’s commands (e.g. a wife’s sex drive is the measure of the godliness of a husband)
  • Working to try to please your wife over God’s commands (e.g. choreplay, trying to “fix” her emotions)
  • Putting her expectations over God’s commands (e.g. abdicating your role as leader)

The moment that pleasing your wife is elevated above any of which God has commanded is the point that which idolatry of the wife has started. This is also the point at which a husband is pigeon holes himself into being a slave to his wife: by her emotions, by works, or by her expectations.

This also is an illustration CS Lewis’ point in Dalrock’s post:

The love which is to be the source of all that is beautiful in life and manners must be the reward freely given by the lady, and only our superiors can reward. But a wife is not a superior.81 As the wife of another, above all as the wife of a great lord, she may be queen of beauty and of love, the distributor of favours, the inspiration of all knightly virtues, and the bridle of ‘villany’;82 but as your own wife, for whom you have bargained with her father, she sinks at once from lady into mere woman. How can a woman, whose duty is to obey you, be the midons whose grace is the goal of all striving and whose displeasure is the restraining influence upon all uncourtly vices? You may love her in a sense; but that is not love, says Andreas, any more than the love of father and son is amicitia.83 We must not suppose that the rules of love are most frivolous when they are most opposed to marriage. The more serious they are, the more they are opposed. As I have said before, where marriage does not depend upon the free will of the married, any theory which takes love for a noble form of experience must be a theory of adultery.

The elevation of love to a noble form of experience is placing it as equal and/or higher to the moral commands of God. Let us not forget that God constantly refers to Israel and Judah as adulterous when they turn away from his commands and to the idols and practices of the surrounding nations in the Old Testament.

Works and desire

Going back to a point I made several years ago now is the difference between works/performance and desire. The ideal is to desire God and His commands. Everything flows from this. The grace of God is what sanctifies us, but it changes us so that we desire to do good works.

When we try to “perform” or “work” we inevitably fail. As Christians, we know that works cannot save us: we cannot follow the Law good enough to achieve salvation.

Likewise, the same is with marriage. Working does not work. Biblical marriage is an image of Christ and the Church. The same standards apply to the husband and the wife. It is one of desire and not works.

  • You cannot work hard enough to placate your wife’s emotions (e.g. make her feel more attracted to you).
  • You cannot work hard enough that your wife will be pleased (e.g. do enough chores).
  • You cannot work hard enough that you will ever meet her expectations.

Falling into a pattern of works is falling into the temptation of sin. You are not trying to please her; you are trying to please the black hole that is unrestrained hypergamy. Your works will never be enough.

Part of the reason why works fail is fear. If you are working, there is a chance that you fail. If there is a chance that you fail, you will fear. If you fear man (or woman/wife in this case), you are not leading nor loving according to the Scriptures.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t try to please your wife? Certainly not. But it must come from desire and not working to try to please.

The failure of game

The failure of “game” is that you’re trying to work to make sure a woman/wife is attracted to you. If you are under the burden of performance, it is almost inevitable that you will slip up at some point or another and she will be ‘less attracted and leave you.’

While chivalry is the idolatry of romantic love, game is the idolatry of narcissism. Instead of feelings as the idol, the idol is switched with the love of self image. This is why most game proponents of game laud the dark triad traits as the best way to attract women.

This is not to say that a strong, muscular body is evil. It is attractive to women and does have its place if a man is looking for a wife. Letting it become an idol for either you and/or a wife is the main issue.

What is coming out of the heart is everything. A man can choose to workout, but a man under compulsion to workout because he needs to be attractive for himself or his wife is under a burden that only ends in failure.

Leadership/headship is imbued to a husband by the Creator. It needs no qualifications or justifications. It does not need to be earned or worked for. A husband does not need permission from his wife or from himself.  A husband needs only not let the temptations of the bad fruit of bad trees take him away from God’s commands. Because he is the head of the marriage, let him act as the head.

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18 Responses to The failure of chivalry in Biblical marriage, works and desire, and the failure of game

  1. White Guy says:

    Thanks DS. This is a very good point. For a while there my desire to get strong/big was out of fear that my wife wouldn’t find me ‘attractive enough’ to submit because I turned into a dough boy. This might be why the Lord decided to derail my lifting goals for a while (pulled a pec tendon off the bone back in November) and am slowly recovering from the surgical repair. In the mean time, pain has ‘focused’ me like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve seen the ‘bottom’ of my wife’s sinful nature through all of this, and it caused me to really focus on what I need to do to be the man God wants me to be.

  2. theasdgamer says:

    “The elevation of love to a noble form of experience is placing it as equal and/or higher to the moral commands of God.”

    I just knew that Jerome should never have included Canticles in the Bible. Pervert. lol

  3. SnapperTrx says:

    Good article, but I disagree with you on game. I don’t have time to write a proper response now, but will have to some time this week.

  4. The failure of “game” is that you’re trying to work to make sure a woman/wife is attracted to you.

    (Speaking just from my own understanding.) Game is not about making a woman attracted to you. Game is about managing the woman’s natural inclinations in order to get what you want from her.

    What is coming out of the heart is everything. ???

    A man can choose to workout, but a man under compulsion to workout because he needs to be attractive for himself … is under a burden that only ends in failure.

    Compulsively doing something is means that you have no control over you actions. Doing something that you know is beneficial, like working out or saving money for retirement, when you’d rather be on the couch or blowing it on a good time is just being smart.

  5. This is going to become another “What is Game?” thread, isn’t it?

  6. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    You cannot work hard enough to placate your wife’s emotions (e.g. make her feel more attracted to you).
    You cannot work hard enough that your wife will be pleased (e.g. do enough chores).
    You cannot work hard enough that you will ever meet her expectations….

    ….Leadership/headship is imbued to a husband by the Creator. It needs no qualifications or justifications. It does not need to be earned or worked for. A husband does not need permission from his wife or from himself. A husband needs only not let the temptations of the bad fruit of bad trees take him away from God’s commands. Because he is the head of the marriage, let him act as the head.

    Talk about burying the lead. You had me a little concerned at the work bullet points. The husband’s job is not placate/please/satisfy expectations or any other acts of wife worship. His job is to fear God and keep His commands, one of which is to lead his wife as her head, not her fantasy.

    If obedience and glory to Christ is not a man’s highest aim, he will fail at his purpose. If his wife is his chief end, she is his idol. It saddens me the amount if idolatry preached from so called Christian family and marriage ministries. It is as if God condemned Adam because he failed to heed his wife rather than he heeded her and not God. Real head scratcher that one is.

  7. Regaining Thumos says:

    To me, the fundamental reason why any male in the church would seriously advocate for concepts like chivalry is to sooth their own egos. They make up nonsense about what women’s sexuality is like so that they don’t have to face reality. For example, in terms of chivalry, it’s highly likely that they themselves act in this way because they believe that doing so make them more virtuous than other men. For them to admit that this premise is false would be too devastating for them. Another example would be physical fitness and muscle tone; the majority of churchian males probably would struggle with just one push-up. For them to admit that a Christian woman is just as attracted to muscles as any other woman and therefore working out would be beneficial if you want to find a wife, well they just couldn’t deal with that.

  8. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    Good stuff, DS.

    I mean, after all, did not the mic get dropped in Ecclesiastes 12:10-14?

    10The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

    11The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

    12And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

    13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

    14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

    I think Earl mentioned on one of Dalrock’s posts that if a woman has an issue with how a devout man chooses to order his household, she needs to take it up with The Almighty, not the husband.

    This is where the rubber meets the road, in my opinion – and is a grave concern of mine.  Do women even hunger and thirst for righteousness at all?  Are they given any incentive to?

    It seems that if they did, half of these discussions we have wouldn’t even be taking place.

    I recently ceased a very admittedly unhealthy practice.   I have Evernote Premium, and it’s where I clip all of the manospherian blog posts, as well as those from some of the like-minded sisters who have appeared in the blogrolls of note.

    I’d clip some of the more poignant posts (from the ladies) into a notebook called “Godly Red Pill Women insights”, and whenever I made the acquaintance of a new lady “friend”,  I’d give her share rights to the notebook, and shout her out when something new crossed my path.

    It was futile.  These chicks weren’t reading that stuff.  And the ones that were reading it, didn’t have the guts to tell me they didn’t agree with it unless I pressed them.  So I stopped.

    Now I don’t tell them anything.  Anything!  I just watch and listen, and if what I see and hear doesn’t suit me – I next them.

    I’m 52 years old and it’s absolutely astonishing to me how the women (in my dating age range 35+), who supposedly have been Christians all of their lives – don’t know SHIT about ANYTHING.

    I don’t have the time or patience.

    I can see why so many Christian men are going MGTOW.   I don’t think MGTOW is truly part of Father Yahweh’s perfect will or desire for men; especially those who would truly desire a family, but what the hell are these brothers gonna do?

    Who would sign up for something where the man is culpable for everything but has authority over nothing?   It’s goofy.

  9. @ LG

    Sure seems that way.

  10. FYI, to those who haven’t looked at my categorized list of posts, there are quite a few posts circa early 2014 on debate about game with a lot of different people chiming in.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/to-game-or-not-to-game/
    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/game-is-not-a-toolbox/
    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/red-pill-and-game/
    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/the-end-of-the-game-debate/
    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/the-game-alternative/

    My general contention is:

    2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral [g]excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

    If you read the Greek, the word for “moral excellence” is “arete” which properly means:

    G703 ἀρέτη aretē ar-et’-ay From the same as G730; properly manliness (valor), that is, excellence (intrinsic or attributed): – praise, virtue.

    Manliness/virtue/excellence.

    Like Cane says here in Dalrock’s post: https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/chivalry-and-biblical-marriage-cant-coexist/#comment-266340

    In the practical matter of getting a wife: I reject the idea that a man should strive for a woman and a woman should settle for a man. That is the chivalric way. Again, I have long argued that women should be the ones to “pick” first, but I didn’t put that idea together with chivalry. I’m against rescuing or convincing women.

    So pick a woman who goes after you. Do not chase a woman. I suggest a man pursues excellence, and see which woman follows him. If she is attractive to him in return, and she doesn’t have overly dangerous baggage, marry her. The rest is details (some are important details) and prudential judgments according to the circumstances.

    As far as the discussion about my thoughts on romantic love: Nowhere have I said or suggested that romance and feelings are anathema or should be wholly rejected. Everything in its place.

    I too suggest a man pursues excellence in all that he does whether it is physical fitness, his occupation, his hobbies, learning leadership skills (for marriage), conflict management skills, and so on.

    All of this from Paul’s quote in Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    A heart after God, pursued in excellence, will develop the necessary traits which are attractive to find a wife.

    Of course, much of this is what fathers had originally taught sons which has been “lost” because of fatherlessness or lack of passing on from father to son. The PUAs and gamers “rediscovering” traits does not mean they invented them nor have a claim to them. In fact, women are primarily attracted to the traits of masculinity: strength, confidence, courage, independence, decisiveness, and so on which are all created by God. Discovering things from the PUAs should only make you give thanks to God using evil to open eyes to lies inside the culture and church.

    Sad that it has come to that, but that is what it is.

  11. @ Regaining Thumos

    To me, the fundamental reason why any male in the church would seriously advocate for concepts like chivalry is to sooth their own egos. They make up nonsense about what women’s sexuality is like so that they don’t have to face reality. For example, in terms of chivalry, it’s highly likely that they themselves act in this way because they believe that doing so make them more virtuous than other men. For them to admit that this premise is false would be too devastating for them. Another example would be physical fitness and muscle tone; the majority of churchian males probably would struggle with just one push-up. For them to admit that a Christian woman is just as attracted to muscles as any other woman and therefore working out would be beneficial if you want to find a wife, well they just couldn’t deal with that.

    Not necessarily. I think a lot of it is just solipsism. We often joke that women are that way, but men can be that way too.

    Most pastors, because they are pursuing a pastoral track (e.g. leadership of a Church), will tend to have women be attracted to them because they are leaders and have a high status and power in the Church. Because they often times have no trouble finding a wife, they “see what they want to see” — If only more men would pursue God like me, then they would be able to get a wife like me!

    In other words, they fall prey to the lie that “godliness is sexy” when in reality the “sexy” aspect is that they have leadership, power, and status as a pastor. It doesn’t help that they’re usually surrounding by other high status positions like the worship team (who also tend to have no trouble attracting women).

    They don’t stop to think about the other positions in the Church which men also serve God wholeheartedly but aren’t high power or high status: Church greeter, parking lot coordinator, janitor, and so on.

    Another one of the main problems that those of us have run into is that the pastors are also too prideful to admit mistakes. We show them that “godliness is not sexy” but they still double down on the lie.

    The blind spot is doubled down on because of pride. Those seem to be the two main issues from approaching pastors who believe that “godliness is sexy/attractive.”

    The funny thing about a lot of the pastors is because their knowledge is flawed (e.g. godliness is sexy), they take exactly the wrong actions when their wife is unhappy. You may have seen quite a few examples of this on Dalrock’s with the pastors “wake up calls.” Instead of taking the lead in the marriage, they double down again by placating their wife. They see her temper tantrums as a sign from God that they weren’t being godly, and hence once they listen to her then they are being godly again. It’s often not a surprise when they end up divorced to us, but it is to them.

  12. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    @DS

    Most pastors, because they are pursuing a pastoral track (e.g. leadership of a Church), will tend to have women be attracted to them because they are leaders and have a high status and power in the Church.

    Most pastors are generally low-t men to begin with. They are bookish and non-athletic men who did not attract women before they had position. Their position was concomitant with their public apeing of the women worshiping of their more tenured piers. So they confound the reason for their sudden appeal to the heretofore uninterested women. Further, since they are low-t white-knights that are now enjoying female attention, they teach other men to emulate their pastor’s non-masculine patterns while bashing the male headship of maculine men. This has played out over a few decades such that many men have left the church and men who remained have been emasculated or in process.

    There is no “T” in church. As CS Lewis put it

    ‘We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.’

    It takes more effort to reign a stallion than a gelding.

  13. Regaining Thumos says:

    @DS

    You make a lot of good points. I can only speak from experience of what the church is generally like here in Australia, which will be obviously different from that of the church elsewhere. Down here positions in the church generally don’t have much to offer in the way of Status, Leadership, Power, etc. Pastors and other people in leadership positions don’t tend to be perceived as any more attractive than someone in a non-leadership position, specifically among the <30 crowd. A lot of them are married, yes, but they've invested a lot in the 'godliness is sexy' lie that comes out of American churches and thus are still generally unsuccessful with women. Whenever I've confronted one of them (or any male in the church TBH) about it, it's like they're trying to convince themselves of this lie moreso than they are trying to convince me. Just my experience though.

  14. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    Good points. Low T is definitely a big problem as well

  15. @ Regaining Thumos

    Good to know that it’s slightly different in other places.

    I think you are underestimating the draw of being married to a Christian pastor/worship leader/etc. plays in the attraction of women though. It’s very hard to find leaders in the Christian community having trouble finding a wife, and an attractive one at that.

  16. Wayne says:

    This is a great post that “divides the truth” well, and the point about Game being narcissistic is definitely true.
    On this point of masculine leadership though, it’s difficult not to confuse Frame and Game. Holding Frame is of utmost importance in maintaining leadership, and I believe a little bit of Game/psychology is useful towards effectively inviting her to stay out of fantasyland and happily submit to the leadership offered. In other words, I see Game (and even chivalry at times) as a tool for leading a female (as a courtesy to her weaknesses), and I presume that a man needs to have confidence in his role as a Godly husband to think this way.
    But if a man only sees Game as a mark of masculinity or a medium of sexual negotiation, then I might very well agree with the OP, that it is self-idolatry.

  17. SnapperTrx says:

    I’m certainly no expert on Game, but I will throw in my two cents, given that I have done a lot of reading on the subject in the past few years. My two cents is this:

    If you are seeking a relationship or in a relationship with a woman you are playing The Game, whether you want to or not. You many not be playing it well, but you are, in fact, playing it. The only way you are not in the Game is if you are not in a relationship, whether by misfortune or intent.

    One thing I have learned is that even the most “woke” woman, fully aware of her own feminine program will STILL run girl game and fitness tests on her man even though she may not know she is doing so. As a man part of Game is recognizing these things and knowing how to appropriately deal with them. Its not pandering to a woman to gain access to her body, though it certainly can be used for such a goal, but it is understanding how the female mind works and how to control ones own reactions to certain events.

    In my younger days I had no clue what was going on with my wife when she did certain things, I just recognized that she was acting like a spoiled child or telling me things that made no sense. We can argue all day about how her Christianity should have prevented her from those things but the fact of the matter is that ALL WOMEN, even Christian ones, though they can be more aware of what they are doing, will do this! So what then does a guy do? He learns some Game to play The Game. Failure to do so forces you to be a victim because women are VERY aware of how to get men to do their bidding. Whether by sex or tears or throwing a fit, women can and WILL manipulate you. Again we can say “well Christian women shouldn’t do that”, but that would require them to stop being women altogether.

  18. Pingback: The failure of game redux | Christianity and masculinity

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