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.