I think we should explore some of the processes from the Bible and the female life path.
Generally, the trajectory of a relationship or marriage seems to have several components.
The current status of the relationship or marriage:
- Headship/tingly respect
- Courtly love
The past status of the relationship or marriage to now:
- Headship/tingly respect -> Headship/tingly respect
- Headship/tingly respect -> others
- Others -> Headship/tingly respect
- Others -> Others
Evaluating the good scenarios
Headship -> headship is the one that usually runs like clockwork and never has much issues, if both the husband and wife are fighting their own temptations and trying to be obedient to headship and love as well as respect and submission respectively.
Others -> headship are the ones that are able to be turned around. There’s several examples of this including Dalrock, Cane, and others. Typically, the success of these can be used as a pattern to turn others around into headship.
Dalrock indicates that his was turned around by simple use of game. Whenever his wife tested him instead of DEERing (defending, explaining, rationalizing, or excusing) he either used some “game” (agree and amplify, etc.) or didn’t give it attention. This seemed to rapidly turn around his marriage from his account at least. I’d estimate that they were fairly solidly complementarian (believed in headship) but his behavior was just frustrating his wife a bunch when he didn’t act as a head should. It was a pretty easy turnaround.
Cane is a slightly different story. From his account I believe that he basically had a heart to heart with God in prayer after what he was doing wasn’t working (probably DEERing). Instead, he accepted that being the head was going to make his wife angry sometimes and left that up to God. Act as the head, expect your wife to follow, and don’t try to placate her emotions. By my estimation I expect that this was a bit more difficult than Dalrock’s.
I’m not sure if there are more difficult examples that I know of, but there are more situations I know of that took far longer to turn around from the RP reddit. One of the mods took several years to turn it around.
Evaluating the bad scenarios
In these scenarios, typically it is the sex drying up that motivates most men to investigate their situation further. It’s unfortunate that this is the primary motivator that start to drive them toward change, but at least it helps them understand that they are not in a situation that honors God in obedience with the Bible either on purpose or perhaps inadvertently (usually due to the teaching of churchianity that lines up more with the culture than the Bible).
Headship -> others is typically a scenario where you have the example that a woman was attracted at first because of any number of PSALMs (power, status, athleticism, looks, money) and the man was good to at least decent leader of the marriage. Over time, this is what the secular manosphere typically calls the “lazy or drunk captain” where the man doesn’t lead anymore because he got lazy or is drunk and doesn’t know what he’s doing.
These cases seem to be the most easily turned around if the husband gets fit again and starts leading again. The resistance from the wife typically ranges from none to several months as she may test to see if he’s actually back. This also ranges depending on how ingrained a wife is into leading and/or doing things herself and how much she has bought into the culture assumption that she should be doing this. The more in the latter case the more resistance there is to change back to headship.
Going from an other that is higher on the list such as complementarianism will face much less resistance overall than something like chivalry or feminism. This is to be expected because the greater the inversion of the relationship or marriage, the greater change that has to be had and the more drastic it will feel. In these cases, one would expect the reactions of the wife to be similarly drastic in accusative and negative emotions. This can be quite difficult for men to stand up to, especially ones that had very little to no backbone in the first place.
Others -> Others and the status of others seem to be the most problematic. Typically, these tend to be the cases of egalitarianism prior to the marriage and after (e.g. mutually decide on things but the woman is often the “tie break”) or some type of in chivalry/courtly love or feminist life path where the roles are strictly inverted (e.g. she wears the pants). It also seems to be the case where a woman or wife will be more in the relationship for her own status or financial support rather than because she wants to be with her boyfriend/husband as her attraction to him is nil to little to probably less than moderate.
The most common scenario seems to be when women close to the wall who suddenly stop dating bad boys and totally changes her behavior because she “learned her lesson.” Indeed, she will had let past men do more sexually than the man she is currently with and justify it by the same logic.
Now, these types of relationships have pretty much negative relational inertia and are the most difficult to turn around. A man who want to start acting as the head will encounter staunch resistance typically due to his inexperience with acting as a leader and the incongruent behavior that he exudes. His mission, masculinity, and frame have often taken a back seat, so it’s hard to learn how to do this.
The bull in a china shop can apply to men who try to do too much at once at first, but it’s also usually the case that the woman or wife will typically not like it in either case where he is overdoing it or not. However, this should still be calibrated by the man with other experienced men giving him advice. Men who are in this stage typically DEER a lot which sabotages their ability to lead.
In most of these cases, the biggest gains to be had initially are from physical appearance changes. Going from skinny or fat and obese to muscular, dressing well, good grooming, styling, and smelling good typically brings in a notion of rational fear (e.g. RP term dread) to their woman that is beneficial due to both pre-selection of other women thinking he’s more attractive and the fact that he is getting his life together whereas she could only manipulate him before.
Changing behavior that is ingrained as habits is a slower process that is much more difficult to be quantitative on how it is working in the long run. The best advice I’ve found that works consistently is to focus on putting God first in everything especially in obedience to your own marital roles and responsibilities. Yes, you do want to call out your wife if she’s being disrespectful and disobedience, but acting as the head is much more important because she can only follow (at least eventually) if there is a model to follow. In these cases, you basically have to assume that you’re literally restarting the relationship over again and therefore you must aim to build her trust in the new you especially by not being butthurt if she challenges you or gets in a huff or upset a lot.
In certain cases, of relationships or marriages that have existed and started in an other state for years or decades, it could be several months to years or more before you start to see an adequate turn around. In some cases, a wife might even just leave, so allow the unbeliever to go as it’s more important to obey God rather than placate your wife.
The vast majority of relationships or marriages seem to fall into generally definable categories that have some common characteristics. Some relationships and marriages are easier to turn around than others, and it is the case that not all relationships or marriages seem to be salvageable (at least by one party) if the other party is dead set on disrespect and rebellion.
One must make their decision to wholeheartedly follow Jesus wherever the path of obedience to God via the Bible may lead. This can definitely cause marital suffering, but it is worth it to obey God.