There’s a “married red pill” post going around about how “vetting doesn’t work and why boundaries are way better” which has some good points though I disagree with a substantial amount.
I’ll quote a few parts of that post. Click if you want to read more.
Vetting is the relationship strategy where a man takes a list of values and qualities he prefers in women and uses it to assess the viability of the woman he is currently dating so that he can know if she is worth committing to over the long term. The quintessential strategy for the type of men who readily identify with being traditional and conservative within a modern and liberal society. Note, these are little ‘l,’ and little ‘c.’ This isn’t about tribal politics, this is about men. The vetting strategy is thrown around as if its the same strategy men have used throughout history, when in reality it’s a horrible mental model; a narrative guys use to provide comfort for the grim reality that relationships all end, and most end well before the man is ready to move on, or his children have had the full biological father experience.
Vetting, especially for Christians, is for 3 primary purposes:
- It seeks to compare past behavior against present behavior to ascertain if someone is actually following Christ or doing it in name only.
- It also seeks to understand if a woman is a good fit for your mission in following Christ
- It also can possibly an early indicator about readiness for marriage.
Vetting is sort of like a job interview or background check in a sense (though you do not want to come off like this in person!). Someone following Christ or not following Christ will have certain qualities and values. Likewise, someone who wants a job but has bad past employment history (lack of being able to continually hold a job, lazy, etc.) is a much worse candidate than someone who doesn’t. There are exceptions, but the rules generally hold. That does not automatically make the person with a better employment history a perfect candidate: they could just be good at hiding things and be a terrible employee down the road.
Clearly you want an applicant that fits the job also: if you’re a missionary you want a woman who is on board with going out an evangelizing. If you’re mission is men’s ministry, you need a wife who is on board with you meeting men often during the week and doing life with them in and outside of your house. There are some women who can slip through the cracks, but for the most part this catches the vast majority of lukewarm Christians who attend Church every Sunday and say they are following Christ, but their behavior elsewhere is lacking in obedience to Christ.
To summarize: Generally, you’re able to eliminate the bad candidates straight off the bat. Thus, the goal of vetting for both men and women should be to eliminate the inconspicuous bad candidates before you waste both of your time.
Vetting is a horrible strategy for the following reasons:
- Men do not know what they want in life. Men have a wonderful ability to rationalize what the world offers, transforming it what men wanted all along. A vetting list is guesswork and post hoc rationalization.
- Vetting a woman is vetting for values. The question is, whose values? Men today are instilled with feminine values, created by and for women to meet their own needs, not his.
- Vetting only works if everyone is doing is immunized from everything else.
- Vetting for values is a narcissistic fantasy, and serve to hide the true nature of women and men in order to live in the narrative it presents. By the time the masks come off it’s too late.
- Vetting creates an ego investment, where a man ignores anything that is outside of his vetted criteria. If the list is wrong, it’s an attack on a mans ego, and he will fight tooth and nail to protect it.
- Even if the masks are off, and humans are naked and honest in their interactions (which they aren’t) vetting offers a snapshot into someones values, not a longitudinal assessment. It has the same longevity as an MBTI assessment; it’s astrology for the educated.
- Vetting is often done to the exclusion of actual relationship strategies. Boundary enforcement is far superior and doesn’t require a lifetime of instilling feminine values in a man in order to understand them.
These might apply to secular, but many don’t really apply much to Christians.
- For Christians, God’s mission is everything.
- The values and qualities we vet are on God’s marital roles and responsibilities and Christ-like behavior. These don’t change.
- One I will agree with
- Not really.. if you use it as a tool to expose areas where speech and action don’t match up it’s actually taking off the mask.
- If it’s a Biblical list then such a list has no room to be wrong
- True, which is why vetting is only a first step.
- I disagree. Vetting should be like a first interview or background check that you find out over the first couple weeks to months of knowing someone.
So maybe 2 of the list apply.
Vetting is not mutually exclusive with “relationship strategies” which for Christians should line up with the Bible. It’s pretty easy to see that in many relationships there are many men and husbands that are dating or married to women/wives who do not respect them by their actions (even if they may call themselves Christian) and by extension are not submissive or obedient and are rebelling against God.
If you are dating and a woman is not respecting you then you can call her out and see if she changes. If she doesn’t then it may not be a good idea to remain in a relationship with her since it would only get worse in marriage. If she does, then maybe she is teachable and possibly a good helpmeet for you. If that happens in a marriage, obviously you generally have a lot more to learn about breaking dysfunctional cycles of behavior and learning about becoming a strong masculine Christ-like leader. The process of teaching her that disrespectful behavior is unacceptable starts with small things and gets to the big ones over time: the goal of Christ’s love toward the Church that husbands are to emulate is for the purpose of sanctification.
Overall, vetting is great. But it’s only a first step as you need to actual see if a woman actually on board with taking God’s Word seriously and if she is a good fit for you personally.