Started to comment on Jack’s More on Relational archetypes, but the comment was too long so we’ll do it here.
DS disagrees with Rollo’s Cardinal Rule, but I think many relationships do play out this way, and so it needs to be considered. I think DS would agree that if both the man and the wife are aiming to glorify God in a Headship structure, then this competition should become much less of an issue.
I somewhat agree and disagree. I think most of the manosphereian rules also fall somewhat prey to the apex fallacy as well. In accordance with the sexual strategy rule, men who are most attractive will tend to default to a polygamist lifestyle and the women who are most attractive will default to a serial monogamy lifestyle.
Things does not necessarily play out to the stated scenario. In most societies, 90-95% of both men and women will marry. Also, most of the men and women who do want to marry — the “good” men — will marry off taking a bunch which means the women who don’t marry will complain about “where did all the good men go?” Sure, some men may default to polygamy and some women will default to serial monogamy (the most attractive and/or narcissistic ones typically), but I would say most still prefer one relationship/marriage if they could have it.
The current marriage climate is seeing some disruptions to this model, but it seems to be for the most part not actually a large decline in people getting into relationships and only simply marriage itself. Since Christian morality went out the window more people are considering cohabitation in the short or long term instead of getting married. This makes up for the larger disparities in actual marriage.
One thing is the placement of Celibacy on the graph. Celibacy is a unique relational position, because the woman is independent, but she still remains under the authority of her father. I think true celibacy is very rare, because most women are sexually involved with a man at least once in their life, and this upsets the clarity of authority over her head. Secular, independent, adult women who may or may not have been previously married, may not recognize any form of male authority over her, and if this is the case, then although she may not be sexually active, she fails to conform to the Christian archetype of true Celibacy. Older widows or single women whose father has died are special cases of Celibacy, if it can be called such. I have to offer a disclaimer on the details, as there are technicalities which I have not yet worked out in great detail.
Numbers 30 on vows is fairly instructive for how it was in Israel.
Young women were under the authority of their father, married women were under the authority of their husbands, and widows and divorced were independent and responsible. At the very least in the latter part of 1 Corinthians 7 seems to indicate that young women were/are still under the authority of their fathers in the New Covenant. 1 Timothy 5 does tell younger widows to marry because otherwise they became busybodies without a husband.
I don’t think Numbers 30 applies to all cultures or anything like that (e.g. we’re not under the Law and thus not under circumcision nor Numbers 30 vow structures), but they are good principles to understand, especially in light of 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Timothy 5.
It is fairly well known that the wife has much more influence than the husband towards creating happiness in a marriage. (“Defensive” may not be a very good word to describe this, but I am hard pressed to think of a better description.) To understand why this is, one only needs to consider the two dichotomies in the graph.
- The man only has defacto authority if the woman has a “Thing” for him. Besides the plain fact that there are precious few men who are able to instill the blessed Tingles and/or exert masculine Headship, this status is somewhat unstable and always subject to change (c.f. hypergamy).
- The woman’s mindset and habits of submission are subject to her own discretion. She can always choose to be disobedient and/or disrespectful.
Here are a couple posts that describe this imbalance in more detail.
- Biblical Gender Roles: Why Unity In Marriage Has More To Do With The Wife Than The Husband (2016 November 23)
- My Unhappiness Is Your Fault! (2018 June 3)
Because of this dynamic, it is more accurate to use the husband’s happiness as an indicator of his wife’s spiritual maturity, and less accurate to trust the converse proposition as an indicator of the husband’s worth, as is customary within Churchianity.
I disagree with the premise that women have more influence. A crappy wife or a crappy husband can make the conditions of a marriage miserable both ways. In particular, to the second point that respect and submission are at the behest of a wife, so too are a husband’s headship and love. I do, however, acknowledge there are typically more disrespectful and rebellious wives objectively than lazy and good for nothing husbands. This tendency is more a product of the culture than anything. I’d expect some more of the opposite when patriarchal norms are more accepted at least.
However, the happiness of a spouse should never have dependent on the state of a marriage in the first place. Such is living in step with the Spirit where the disciples can sing joyfully in the prison after they were beaten.
Obviously, God has it right in the fact that He made Biblical marital roles and responsibilities unconditional — the good and godly behavior of a spouse can influence the other toward Christ. The major issue is that we’re often bound by our own timelines, and we wish or hope that change is more immediate which can cause mismatched expectations and covert contracts which sabotage the efficacy of God’s structures.
In the former post, DS said that the dotted male submission line is the same line as the female submission line. I separated these two lines because there is a grey area in real-life relationships, in which there is some degree of mutual submission depending on the issue. This is best exemplified by a Complementarian structure in which the man and wife hold traditional gender roles. The man is an authority in certain areas, such as politics, religious doctrines, and which car to buy, while the woman is an authority in other areas, such as the frequency of church attendance, choosing a school for the children, and how child rearing is to be implemented. In a true Headship, the wife consults her husband on every decision and follows his directive accordingly. She rarely (if ever) insists on having things “her way”, and instead, finds joy in discovering the purposes behind her husband’s directives.
Complementarianism claims that the husband and wife discuss everything and then the husband’s vote is a tie break. What happens in practice is everything is all well and good as long as the husband is making decisions that the wife likes, but when he doesn’t she emotionally manipulates him until she gets her way. Ironically, this is pretty much similar to how things run in egalitarian and most non-feminist but egalitarian relationships and marriages. The only time you have women in charge explicitly is when the woman/wife actually literally says she wears the pants.
On the surface there is the claim that these things are happening, but under the surface they are all the same: disrespect and manipulation tactics are coming a man’s way if he wants something that she disagrees with. That’s why I still think the lines are in the same place. When push comes to shove, the wife is in control or exerts tactics to make sure she gets what she wants.
One aspect I’ve noticed is that the more a husband and wife agree on most everything in the case of complementarianism or other non-feminists structures the more ambiguous it looks to us. However, many of the complementarians will take this as a sign of godliness — “wow, their marriage is so great because they’re in agreement on everything.” If we remember back to CBMW’s definition of headship, their interpretation of Scripture is the husband and wife should agree on everything and if they disagree then the husband gets the tie break.
However, this is not a sign of godliness but just two people getting along well usually by personality and underlying dynamic. When push comes to shove and the husband decides something that his wife doesn’t like, we’ll see how godly she is with her respect and submission. The wives who pass this test of godliness today are definitely in the minority.
Moreover, this incorrect assumption of “godliness by agreement” gives the layperson husband and wives (and even pastors I believe) the wrong impression and makes it much more difficult to have real godliness when there is actually a disagreement. For instance, “we had such a godly marriage until this came up” — no, not really. You agreed with each other a bunch because you have similar personalities and there was no conflict. When conflict came, your real character and ability to honor God was revealed. And it wasn’t pretty.
True headship does not require consulting on every directive because authority is able to be delegated in the Scripture and can be by a husband. For example, if a wife has expertise in a certain area a husband might delegate that to her and also if there are minor decisions like day to day life style he can say I trust your judgment on them.
When people describe marriage as “hard work” or “requiring work”, I like to think they are referring to the daily tasks required to maintain or progress towards a Christ honoring Headship. This may or may not be the case, depending on the personalities involved, but it needs to be emphasized that when we talk about a Christian marriage, we aren’t just talking about a wedding ceremony and the related legal documents. No, a Christian marriage is defined/determined by whether it is characterized by Headship — male authority and female submission. Any other type of relational structure is not a Christian marriage by definition. Either or both the husband or wife may or may not be Christians, but without Headship, they don’t have a Christian marriage.
I mostly agree with this. I have a friend who is a pastor who has said his marriage is hard work. He also married a pretty head strong woman. I don’t know his exact view, but I’m pretty sure they’re both complemenetarians, and they have a hard time implementing it because of her strong will to want to do things her way. Same with my parents.
This gets sticky when we realize that it is possible for two people to be unbelievers, yet still have a Christ-like relationship. This is true because all humanity remains under the pre-Edenic Covenant.
Yes, the structures of authority that God created at the beginning anyone can benefit from. Hopefully, they are able to recognize that they are in God’s plan and turn to Him, but they still reap many of the benefits of stability and peace from being within it even though they don’t acknowledge Him.
Another way to succinctly describe this “move” from one relationship structure to another is carried in the concepts of redemption and sanctification. A man’s marriage and family experience redemption when a Headship structure is attained and/or maintained. This means that God is able to use this marriage and family for His purposes towards holiness, glory, growth, and bearing fruit, rather than it being relegated to a common, real life, sitcom drama filled with self-centered sins of ignorance.
Sanctification is also more likely to occur in Headship. But this is a little more complicated, because the man, or especially the woman, may not find internal joy and contentment in adopting the Headship structure. This weakness becomes more pronounced with women who are steeped in the Strong Independent Wimmin™ mindset, and/or who have a sordid sexual history and can no longer bond to a man in marriage.
Agree here as well.
What we can say about the Biblical marital roles and responsibilities is that, like the Christ and the Church, they aim to bring about oneness. The husband heads the marriage with love for the purpose of sanctification and honors his wife and treats her like himself, and the wife submits and respects her husband. Both are required to kill their own ego and be concerned about obeying God and giving their spouse what God says they need.