Tag Archives: Relationships

Sharing Interests

Wintery Knight posted something from William Lane Craig along with his own advice. I’d suggest reading it, most of the advice given is good common-sense, but I do wonder about this:

I strongly urge those of you who are single to make having a shared interest in your field of study and ministry a top criterion in selecting a spouse. It doesn’t matter how beautiful she is or what a great cook she is if she has no interest in your field of study and so sees talking about things that you are passionate about as an annoyance.

Shared interests in marriage has always been one of those things that people seem to value highly that I don’t understand. I don’t see a need for a wife to share your interests, whatever they may be. I do understand that one or two shared activities, something like dancing, that you can do together on date nights is probably beneficial, but for something like philosophy: what use would there be in discussing philosophy with your wife? Why would that be even remotely necessary?

As you can probably tell by the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written on my blog and the thousands of articles I’ve linked to in my Lightning Rounds, I have a strong interest in socio-political theory and have a moderate interest in philosophy, theology, economics, history, etc., but I would never expect my wife to have to have an interest in this or for her to become my regular politics discussion partner.

That’s what I have friends for.

Would it be nice to have a wife who liked socio-political theory? Sure. It would also be nice to have a wife who liked ultimate, board games, science fiction, video games, and anime (as for shooting, hunting, and martial arts, see here) but these can be nice little bonuses. These are not things a wife is needed for and I don’t see the point in making them requirements.

I think this shared interests thing comes from the modern phenomenon of making your wife your friend. A century ago, most men would have thought the idea of discussing politics, theology, or philosophy with your wife was absurd; those discussions were what you did with your friends at the pub. Your wife was the one who dragged you home when you were too sloshed too distinguish between monarchy and anarchy.

But the pubs are now co-ed, men’s clubs have been destroyed, and male friendship has been destroyed. Men no longer have easy ways to find someone to trade bullshit about politics and philosophy with.

At some point in the last century, male friendship began to die, so well-meaning people looking to fill the bleeding wound in their chest its absence caused confused the categories of wife and friend. A husband-wife relationship is not a friendship, it is a unique form of companionship centred around the creation and care of a home and family. Neither relationship is better, they are simply different.

A wife can not be your lover, your friend, your confidante, your parenting-partner, your home-building partner, your BS-ing partner, your debate opponent, your drinking buddy, your complaint outlet, and your dance partner all at once. That is simply too much load to put onto a single relationship. A man needs male friends to fulfill many of these needs.

I’m pretty sure that expecting too much from a single partner is one of the great contributors to the breakdown of modern marriage.

Build a home with your wife and make her your lover, save philosophical diatribes for your friends.

****

Another, difference with WK I want to comment comes from this:

And it also allows you to lead a woman so that she can develop herself to be ready for marriage to you. I hope that she would already have done a lot of the work by herself, (chastity, STEM degree, debt-free, good job, apologetics, conservative politics), before she even meets you.

Earlier WK writes about the male’s role as provider, but here he he puts down a STEM degree and a good job as developing herself for marriage, but if the man is meant to be the provider of what use are the degree and the job in a potential wife? Is a career-oriented women the kind of woman at traditional Christian wants raising his children? I think there’s too much focus on what a women studies and works at in the Christian community.

That being said, a degree is a basic signalling mechanism of low time-preference, so if dating any woman without a degree, ensure it’s not because she has high time preference and verify a low time preference in another way. But other than signalling why does it particularly matter what kind of degree she has or if she has a job. I’d much prefer a woman who had spent that time developing her home-making abilities and volunteering at the church than studying and working.

I can understand not wanting a wife who wasted a decade doing nothing, but then the question becomes why would a traditional man consider marriage to a 30-year-old woman?

****

We’ll look at the advice-seeker, named Wesley, who illustrates my point nicely.

I recently got married this past summer to an amazing woman I met at a one year bible college I attended a couple years ago and it has been great. But between transferring to a new (secular) school and being constantly busy with school and work I feel like my relationship with God is constantly on the backburner, as I am not getting into the word nearly as much as I used to and my prayer life is nearly nonexistent, and because of this my relationship with my wife is not where it should be either.

I love my major and I love my wife, but they don’t seem to overlap very well, as my studies are normally more time intensive than hers and also she see’s my talking about it more as an annoyance than anything. I guess why I am writing you is because I am getting so spiritually burnt out and need advice on how to ignite/maintain my relationship with God and keep a healthy relationship with my wife and if having an aspiration of being an apologist is worth it. Not only does everyone else not see why I have picked the path I have because they see philosophy as impractical and I won’t be able to support a family with such an aspiration, but the path itself is difficult as I do not have many other fellow Christians in my classes and so I am being practically scorned in all directions. I often ask myself if it is worth it and if I should find some other path that would be more conducive to married life and family life that her and I hope to start in the foreseen future.

It’s very clear here, Wesley’s problem is not his wife. His problem is he doesn’t have virtuous friendships with male friends and is trying to use his wife to fill this hole in his life. But his is his wife, not his friend and she can’t fill this hole, and he shouldn’t be expecting her to.

So, Wesley, if by happenstance you come across this, your wife is not your friend, she is your wife. Don’t discuss philosophy her, take her dancing instead and lead her in Bible readings. Instead of trying to force her into a role in which she does not belong, find a good male friend or two who share your Christian values and discuss philosophy with them over a pint at the pub.

****

I should make one last note, there’s a difference between a wife not sharing your interests and a wife deriding your interests. A wife not sharing your interests is fine; a wife who disdains your interests (and not in the harmless ‘men will be men‘ way), and by extension you, is not. Do not marry a women who contempt for those things you really like and enjoy.

I get the impression that Wesley’s problem was the first, but if it was the latter, then that is a something to be concerned about.

Also, values are not interests. Sharing values is important. Don’t marry a woman who doesn’t share your core values.

Repost: Pleasures of the Flesh

Given the recent spat between NRx and the manosphere, I thought reposting this from 2013 may be of interest. (You can also check out this on reaction and PUAs).  Hopefully this is my last repost for a while and I can go back to posting regularly.

I’ve been noting in my Lightning Rounds that a few experienced players have been reaching the end of their run on the hedonic treadmill and are finding the whole experience unfulfilling. Last week, I wrote of how neither hedonism nor meaningless LTR’s will leave a man fulfilled. Now it seems Frost is suffering from player burn-out as well.

Except for a few men, playerdom will never be fulfilling in the end. Shallow pleasure does not bring contentment, only momentary happiness. Meaningless sex is simply the same effect as drugs, except one step removed (or more accurately, drugs are simply artificial inducements of effects similar to that which meaningless sex will bring). As with drugs, it will not satisfy, but it will become increasingly consuming as it becomes increasingly less pleasurable.

You will have sex, feel pleasure, then have but feel slightly less pleasure, and each time you will require more sex, more kinkiness, hotter women, and yet still feel slightly less pleasure each time. Meanwhile, you never feel the contentment you seek. The hedonic treadmill continues to roll until you either die or get off.

So, why not just ride for a while and get off at the right time?

The treadmill takes its toll even after you get off. Just as a carousel rider suffers as an alpha widow, so to does the ex-player suffer from the player’s curse.

A man who limits himself to one sexual partner has, by definition, the best sexual partner of his life with whom he is having the best sex of his life. The player, not so much. Any long-term relationship he may try will always be haunted by the ghosts of better sex and more beautiful partners of time past. The more partners he had prior, the more likely and stronger the hauntings.

There is no purpose to be found in hedonism, only emptiness.

I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:7-11, ESV)

Other men go make a different, but no less mistaken, extreme. Rather than pursuing meaningless sex from multiple women, they pursue meaning in a single woman. They find their identity and purpose in loving and serving another fallen person. This is as almost as empty as the meaningless sex, and will leave a man almost as hollow in the end. How is her value more than your own?

A man’s purpose of life can not be found in women or a singular woman.

If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place? (Ecclesiastes 6:3-6, ESV)

So, where can purpose be in life be found?

For this, we can turn to Genesis:

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

This is the first commandment; this is for what God made man.

Man’s purpose is to be found in filling and subduing the earth. Work was what man was created and/or evolved for. Man is meant to tame the land and to build from that which he needs and desires and to fill his tamed land with his own.

Man’s purpose is in building something greater than himself and then to create future generations to enjoy it.

Yet, there is a problem:

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19, ESV)

I have read this verse many times in my life, but only recently did I realize the full measure of agony contained within these words.

It is only in his work that man can find meaning, yet rather than something pleasurable, work is something difficult, bitter, and wearying.

How bitter this cup, that man’s purpose is to toil, yet his toil is naught but pain to him. To his even greater agony, when his toil is through and he surveys the work gained by through the sweat of his brow, he always knows that from dust it came and to dust it will return.

To find purpose, a man must always be working, always in bitter toil, yet know that all his work will eventually crumble in ruin.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:18-23, ESV)

What is a man to do when all is vanity? How can man continue on, when all about his is rust and decay

Here is all for man to do:

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, ESV)

A man accepts that life is vanity; he accepts that life is toil, but he continues. He finds what joy he can, knowing joy is illusionary, while working to build, knowing that his works will fade and decay.

A man’s purpose is to continue to build and enjoy the fruits of his labour even when he can not find meaning in the building or its fruits.

If a Man talks to You…

The Christian RP circle is talking of how traditional young women can signal availability to RP guys in the church. I’ve written advice on this topic a couple of times before, but I’ll write on it again.

There are 3 main steps to landing a man: signal availability, reciprocate attention, and say yes. I’ll go over them.

The first step is to make it easy for men to approach you and to signal availability. I’ve already written a some tips:

Be out in the world. Men can’t approach if they don’t see you.

Get in environments where approaching is easy. A casual, social environment is best.

Smile: A kind smile lowers the expected cost and raises the perceived odds of success, increasing the chances of being approached.

Signal availability: Look pretty, have an open demeanor, put yourself in a physical space where approaching is possible (ie. stand around other people, not on the other side of the room by yourself), walk casually instead of bee-lining: make it easy for a man to approach and it will be more likely.

Don’t signal unavailability: Don’t wear earphones, don’t wear a ring on your ring finger if you aren’t married, don’t stare at the ground, don’t walk around staring at your iPhone, etc., these will all discourage most men (players aside) from approaching. Most men don’t want to intrude on you when you are doing something. By doing this you are self-selecting for the kind of guy who interrupts busy people.

Signal something unique: Signal something that makes you stand out, particularly for the kind of man you are looking for. If you are looking for an physically active man, wear something that indicates you participate in a sport. If you are looking for a bookish man, carry a book. If you are looking for a traditional man, look traditional. If you are looking for a family man, coo over your friend’s baby. If you are looking for a player, show your cleavage. If a man sees you share something in common, something particular that interests hims, or that gives him an easy in to open, he will be more likely to approach you.

Do the opposite of all this if you want to be approached less.

****

For Christians in particular:

When out of a church setting, it can often be difficult for a Christian man to tell if a woman is Christian or not, and if she isn’t he likely won’t be motivated to hit on her; hitting on a non-Christian would be a waste of time and effort. By displaying something obviously Christian, a Christian woman can give him that much more of a reason to talk to her, increasing her odds of meeting someone.

For Christian women, if you want more Christian men to hit on you, bring along something with you when you go out that makes it obvious you are Christian. Carry your Bible or a CS Lewis book or something else obvious; wear a Jesus fish necklace or a Bible camp t-shirt. (This is probably what the WWJD bracelets used to be for).

I know this from experience; there have been at least two cute girls I’ve cold approached because I overheard they were Christian, where if I hadn’t overheard them I probably would not have.

Another step is to get onto a dating site. Find a Christian one if you can. That opens up a lot of potential men you might otherwise meet. Hit up your social network as well; I’m sure there’s a few middle-aged women in your family and at church who would love to meddle in your affairs and introduce you to young men they know.

****

Once you have signaled availability, the next step is to reciprocate. Always give positive feedback to any interest a man* shows you. Most men hate approaching; showing interest invites them and helps them get over their dislike of approaching, not showing interest drives them away.

So how do you know a man is showing interest: he pays attention to you.

It’s that simple. If a man is looking at you (and you do not have an large obvious deformity or ketchup smeared across your face) he is interested. If a man is talking you forfor something not related to practical matters or a social obligation, he is interested. Any man who is spending attention on you when he is not socially obligated to is at some level interested. Always assume any single man talking to you is interested in you; you will be right at least 90% of the time. It may be only a vague interest or a small one, but it is interest, and reciprocation will grow that interest, a lack thereof will kill it.

If you see a man looking at you, smile back. Look inviting. If you’re too shy to hold a smile: smile quickly, quickly look down, then slowly look back up while smiling.

If a man comes up and talks engage. Talk with him back. Answer his questions and ask questions in return. If a man is talking with you but is awkward, try to help him out by asking questions or just by bearing the brunt of conversation until he becomes comfortable with talking with you.

If you’re shy, just stutter out something, anything. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself, just try to show interest. There’s many guys who find shyness or social awkwardness, even to the point of self-embarrassment, cute or attractive and it is rare than any man finds it actively repulsive. For a woman, it is always better to come off awkward or silly than cold in the dating game.

Finally, part of reciprocating is giving a man opportunities on which to act. If you have some interest in a guy, make it easy for him to ask you out. Mention that play or movie you want to see, that new restaurant you want to go to, that place in town you want to visit, etc. Give him opportunities to invite you out and be obvious about it.

If you’re on a dating site, respond to (thoughtful) messages ASAP, write longer responses, and ask questions in return.

Personal example of what not to do:

My mother has been pressing me for a while to go after a  girl I’ve briefly mentioned here before. She recently returned to my church after a year abroad. She’s plain but not unattractive. I’ve never pursued her because she’s done nothing to attract me to her, but its possible something could develop. A few months back we happened to end up near each other at a church function. I was not pursuing her, but I was not closed to the idea either, so I decided to see if something could develop.

I turned to her and asked her a question of some sort. A one sentence answer. So I talked a bit then asked another question. Another one sentence answer. So I forced out a bit more talk, then threw out a third question. Another one sentence answer. She gave no questions in return and no unforced way to continue, so I stopped. I haven’t talked to her since and have no interest in doing so. I don’t know what she thinks of me at all, but I know I don’t feel like spending any more effort.

Now I was not interested per se, but had she reciprocated a conversation could have developed, and from that attraction may have developed, but she’s not pretty enough for attraction to develop on its own and the possibility of developing attraction was killed. I have no idea whether she has any interest in me or not, but it is possible a small bit of reciprocation could have led to something, but now its unlikely anything will happen unless she makes a large first move.

****

Finally, the third thing is to say yes. Unless he is obviously scummy or degenerate, if a man asks you out, just say yes.

Now when I say ask out, I mean anything. Any time a single man invites a single woman (who have not friendzoned each other) to something, he is asking that woman out. If a man wants to “hang-out” or something that’s not specifically a “date”, it’s still an invitation, he’s interested. It doesn’t even have to be alone time. If a man asks you specifically to a group event, he’s still interested. The exception is if he invites the whole group and you just happen to be a part of the established group (but even then, if he takes a special interest in your attendance).

Personal example: A couple years ago, there was a cute blonde from out of town who was going to a local university. We talked a couple times. I was interested in getting to know her better and thought I could help her make some friends, so I invited her to a group event I was going to. She declined because she was visiting other people at the church. A couple weeks later I invited her to another event. She declined so she could study. After that I talked to her once or twice more, but my interest faded; the group event invitation was a sign of interest on my part and I took her rejection of my invitations as a sign of her rejecting me. A couple months later she stopped attending our church.

There is almost zero cost to going out with a man when he asks you out. So say yes even if you aren’t immediately attracted. At worst you’ll get a free coffee/movie/meal and waste a few hours in awkward conversation,  then decline the second date, so why not say yes? What is there to lose? (If its an online date or with someone you don’t know, stay in a public space).

On the other hand, the upside is huge. The guy is already interested in you, maybe on the date he’ll surprise you and you’ll fall for him.

So, when asked just say yes.

Exception: he is a long-term friend you know with certainty you are not interested in. In that case shut that down immediately and very clearly.

If you must decline a particular invitation because you are busy, immediately counter-offer with another time/date so he knows you are still saying yes. The “I’m busy” response is a common brush-off, so even if you’re reasons are valid and you are interested in him, he’ll probably take it as a rejection. Make sure he doesn’t misinterpret.

The same goes with if you want to decline a particular type of date where you are interested in the person but not the activity. Ex.: If he invites you to his place for a movie but you don’t know him well enough, counter-offer with coffee or a movie at the theatre.

****

To summarize: signal availability, reciprocate, say yes. Do all this, and you’ll greatly increase your chances.

****

*Standard boilerplate: When I say a man or any man throughout this piece, I am not referring to obvious degenerates or cads. Ignore them and drive them away. I am referring to decent men.

Jenny

I am shown a picture. It is of my youth group at a ski trip. In the picture is a pretty blonde, I’ve seen her around before. I must know her name. “Who is that, I don’t recognize her?”

“Jenny.”

****

I sit in church, she’s sitting with her family. 14-year-old perfection in a blue shirt. I do not hear the sermon, I stare. I notice I’m staring and look away. I try to pay attention to the pastor and his message of God, but my eyes drift inexorably towards His earthly angel. I need to talk to her after the service.

I don’t.

****

I have been roped into greeting people coming to church. I stand near the door, shaking hands and saying ‘hi’. A few people ask me how I’m doing, I answer as I always do, “fine.” My eye wanders expectantly towards the entrance as I hand out bulletins. Finally, I am rewarded. She comes into view. Her top is cut just right; it is modest and wholesome, yet the smallest bit of breast can be seen. My heart skips a beat, literally; it misses one pump, it hurts so good. How can just a square inch of milky-white flesh do this to me?

Never before have I had that strong a reaction to anyone; I did not know at the time, but I never would again.

This vision of perfection walks towards me. I can’t meet those green eyes, I look down. I shake her hand, say something, say anything. Out squeaks a “hi”, she says “hi” back. Say more, just speak, one sentence, that’s all, but my mouth refuses to open. She goes to sit down. My body is still roiling.

There will be other chances to talk with her.

****

At youth group, she’s there. A card game starts, I join, she joins. I’m good at games, this is my chance. Impress her, talk to her. She speaks, another replies. I stare intently at my cards. My gaze wanders to the face I think of every day, I pull it quickly back to my cards. Over and over again. The turns pass, I continue to draw and play saying nothing. Some conversation is engaged in by the others, but mostly it is silence. The game ends, I win, yet I know I lost.

****

I am at the mall with my mother. She asks about my life. She asks about girls. I tell her of Jenny, she tells me that’s cute. I say, but she’s 3 years younger than me. My mother says three years doesn’t matter. I hope, but am not sure if I believe her.

****

I am at youth group. A group is talking. I enter the group and stand beside her. Speak! But what do I say? Anything, just speak. What if I say something stupid? Just say something, I can’t. You must. I turn my head towards her, my mouth opens, and nothing comes out. My mind curses me.

****

I am newly 18, now a youth leader. We are at a corn maze, I see her and her sister enter. I follow behind. I catch up. We talk. An actual conversation, our first. It turns out the younger girl is her niece, not her sister. We walk through the maze, conversation flowing, awkwardly, but flowing.

“I’m cold.” “You can borrow my jacket.” “No thanks.”

Conversation continues.

“We should ditch my niece and go off by ourselves.” “That doesn’t seem very nice.”

We continue talking and talking through the maze. We get through after an hour and end up at the camp fire.

She sits elsewhere, I stare into the fire, poking it with a stick as I daydream of us. I have a natural high for the next month.

****

A few weeks later, at youth group. She walks up to me. She’s wearing a Corona jersey that drapes most wonderfully over her perfect breasts. The white highlights her pale skin. She smiles her perfect smile, and says “hi”. Her beauty transcends words.

I say “hello” back. She stands there, looking at me. Say something! what? Anything. Anything? Ask her about her week. How? I don’t know, just do it.

Time passes. She talks to someone else nearby.

****

I am talking with my mother and sisters. Relationships come up. I mention Jenny, both my sisters go “awwww”.

****

After church, she stands alone, leaning against a wall. Her lips are redder than usual, her hair in a ponytail. She’s wearing black leather boots and a leather jacket. She looks classy, cute, and sexy, all at once. I need to talk to her. I go lean against the wall nearby. I should speak. I say nothing. We both stand and lean for minutes.

I hate myself, but there will be other chances.

****

I am on the bus. I daydream of Jenny, as I do every day. I dream of holding her in my arms. I dream of coming home to her smile each day. I dream of the little blonde children we will have. The dreams are wonderful, yet painful and lonely. It tears at me.

I daydream of something less painful, of killing myself, of peace.

****

At church, she’s leaning against the wall again. So very pretty, I should talk to her. I will… After I help put away the chairs.

The chairs are put away, she’s still there, go talk to her. I will… but first I have to think of something to say.

You’ve though of something, talk to her. I will!

I walk towards her.

I can’t. I turn.

I walk home, raging at myself.

I get home, I cry.

****

I am 20, it is Christmas Eve. It has been a half-year since I have seen her. Months of daydreams, yet each month thinking of her less. I think about her only a few times a week. I vaguely wish to see her again.

I get my wish. I see her walk in. Her golden hair wreathes her angelic face. She looks the season in her classy crimson top. So very pretty.

I sit in the back, I can barely take my eyes off her the entire service. What should I say to her.

The service ends.

I walk out and stand in the hallway. She’s just inside the auditorium, I can talk to her. I can’t. I rage at myself. My friend notices me and asks why I am out here by myself, pacing. I tell him. Go talk to her.

I enter back into the main room. She’s leaning against the same wall as before. I stand in the back instead. I muster courage for 10 minutes. While I muster, she leaves with her family.

On the way home, my mother asks me what’s wrong. I don’t tell her.

****

The day after Valentine’s Day. My mother tells me she saw Jenny, she was at a Valentine’s supper at my church with someone else.

She goes back upstairs. I cry on my bed.

****

In my mid-late 20’s, reading my facebook feed. Her niece’s profile comes up as a friend of a friend. I haven’t really thought of Jenny in years, but I wonder. I go into her friend’s list. Search “Jennifer”. There’s a Jennifer,  but the last name’s different. I click the profile picture; the girl in the dress matches my vague memories of Jenny’s face. She’s with a man in a suit. More pictures, pictures of children, pictures of her smiling with her children.

She’s aged, no longer the 14-year-old angel of my dreams. She’s now chubby, the perfect curve of youthful hip and breast hidden under a small layer of fat.

And yet, she’s still beautiful. Her smile still glistens and her flaxen hair still glows. I feel a dull ache.

I close the browser, trying not to think.

****

A couple years later, apropos of nothing, I think of her. I wonder.

What if I had the social abilities then that I do now? What if I had been able to summon my courage then, as I can do now?

Would I have been able to win her heart? Would those children be mine?

What if, instead of an empty house, I came home each day to my beautiful, chubby, blonde hausfraus and our adorable little kinder? If those children were mine?

How would my life be different, how would I be different, if I had been a better man?

I write my memories down.

While writing, I’m curious once again, I search for her profile for the second time. She’s aged, she’s still vaguely pretty, but not beautiful. She has changed, or have I?

Would I still find her beautiful had I been a better man?

She recently celebrated her sixth anniversary. They seem happy in the few pictures of them, but most of the pictures are of children.

There is no dull ache, just a slight wistfulness.

I don’t know what to think, so instead, I share my thoughts with thousands of people I have never met. Hopefully my writing will help a younger version of me; maybe it will only confuse him more. Either way, I feel this needs to be written.

Unrealistic Expectations

Donal pointed out this comment by Elspeth:

Most people (men and women) have unrealistic expectations, about themselves, about what they are worth, about what they should be able to have. And those who know they can’t have what they want will go without. Especially men. I’ve heard a couple of young men actually say that.

He then defended those with reasonable, but possibly unrealistic requirements. (Read his post for definitions).

I’m going to go farther: as a man you should have unrealistic requirements for marriage. I’ve created my list for marriage and it’s reasonable, but possibly not realistic.

Based on previous analyses only about 40% of women are even worth considering for marriage looks-wise (ie. are not fat or actively ugly) and only about 30% of women would be in the 0-2 sexual partners category (although, that’s a bit higher if you go younger) and less than half have not had a one-night stand. Throw on top of that that you should almost never* marry a woman over 30 and be wary of those over 25, and your pickings are getting slim. That’s not even considering the much more important (for marriage) aspects of personality and inner beauty.

we can estimate that only about a fifth of eligible women would be even worth considering marrying. If we then look towards such things as religion, shared values, mutual compatibility, personality, and the like, the percentage of women that would make a decent wife for any particular man is shockingly low. (The only reprieve is a man only needs one reciprocating girl to meet those requirements).

If only 20% of women are worthy wives, then that means that 80% of men are not going to be able to find a worthy wife. Now, it should be noted that most men won’t meet the requirements a worthy wife should have and many men will choose unworthy wives, but still, if even a quarter of men are waiting for worthy wives that means that 20% of those men are simply going to have to do without.

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It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. (Proverbs 25:24 ESV)

While a good marriage can be a great blessing, the consequences of choosing an unworthy wife are huge.

I remember reading somewhere (I can’t find the link) that 70% of marriages either end in divorce or perpetual unhappiness, which means that only 30% of marriages end up being happy and healthy. (That’s pretty close to my estimation that only 20% of women who are worthy wives, is it not?)

There is a 40% chance the marriage will end in divorce, the odds of which are strongly effected by how worthy the wife is. The cost of an average divorce to a man is about $150,000, the price of a smaller house. (This does not include child support, which will run an average man a pretty penny as well). The emotional costs of divorce are also huge: it is better to be single than divorced.

But even if the family stays together, there’s a chance the marriage will be miserable. Number I’ve read range all over the place. This study shows that 97% of marriages are ‘very’ or ‘pretty’ happy with their marriage, while this one shows 80% are satisfied with their relationship. I’ve seen lots of other numbers bandied around of anywhere from 20-60%, but most of these did not seem supported by anything. 80% satisfaction sounds right, which means 20% of marriages not ending in divorce are unhappy.

So, there’s a 50-70% chance that a marriage will be unhappy or end in divorce. If a man chooses a wife wrong, he will end up miserable.

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Men should have unrealistic (but no unreasonable) requirements for marriage. IF only a fifth of women display the qualities that make a good wife, not all men will be able to find a good wife. Going without is much superior to entering a marriage that will end in divorce or misery.

So hold those requirements high and be unrealistic if necessary to so.

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Before the accusations of misogyny start flying, know that I also advocate women demanding more from their relationships. Women should also hold high requirements for marriage and relationships.

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* I have talked with one girl approaching 30 whom, had circumstances been different, I may have considered, but she had been engaged in her mid-20s then the guy calling it off because she wouldn’t have sex with him until marriage. There are not many women out there with that level of virtue, but every rule has an exception.

More on Courtship

A lot of people commented on my courtship experience. I can’t respond to everything, but here’s some things I’d like to point out.

First, I hold to the courtship model and believe it is the correct path. It is morally right and proper for civilization, and, if done properly, should be good for marriages. Chad wrote well on it in the comments:

Courtship is a tool from Christendom in which the families were involved so that emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, commitment, and logical “do these two people work together” proceeded along side each other in practical steps towards marriage and creation of a family. It openly acknowledged that emotional intimacy leads to physical intimacy, and that physical intimacy going too quickly can lead to a lack of commitment on either party’s part as well as delude those sexually lusting after each other that they’d work well when they become one flesh.

Even in it’s hayday, courtship was something that was a…. tenuous thing, at times. For humans have always been lustful, prideful, and rebellious; and unmarried youth are more so than any other. Hence where courtship was ignored, shotgun weddings were enforced.

That, also, is not to say that the system was abused by poor intentions of parents getting greedy or losing sight of the overall good of their child by focusing too much on any individual trait (beauty, lust, status, wealth, etc) rather than overall health of the child and, in particular, whether the person they were joining flesh with would help them achieve salvation and sainthood.

These days, courtship works where people acknowledge what it is – a system in place in which emotional intimacy and physical intimacy do not outpace commitment and logic. It does not, and SHOULD NOT, have the same form as old school courtship as our current societal failings have led to different expressions of individual failings. It should acknowledge that courtship is not engagement, nor is getting to know someone a little before asking to court them a bad thing. Most traditional families want to know the individuals before courtship is pursued, and when that is not possible, or they’re not as traditional, a few ‘casual dates’ for coffee or to a public activity is usually accepted. Meeting the father a first time is not unheard of, but I haven’t encountered a grilling such as FN as of yet.

The whole system is supposed to take two fallen human beings and place them together in a way to support each other through love; not topple into a fallen state of sin, nor make princesses/saints out of fallen women, nor kick a Brother in Christ out to the curb with nothing but his coat and tattered remains of dignity and respect.

Any courtship that doesn’t align with reality is not courtship, but a twisted perversion of delusional ‘love’ which is lacking in all that makes love beautiful.

As did Cail:

The main difference between courtship and dating is that when you ask to court a girl, you’re declaring up front that if things go well, you’ll be proposing in the near future, and if things get to a point where one of you decides marriage isn’t in the cards, you break it off. It’s dating for the stated purpose of discerning marriage. All this other stuff about questionnaires and hyper-chastity is just extra weirdness that people are trying to call courtship because it makes it sound traditional and churchy.

I wholeheartedly support the involvement of family in the creation and development of relationships and marriages and the right of parents to veto a daughter’s relationship choices. The lack of family involvement in marriage leads to the screwed up sexual and

That modern ills and individual flaws are a part of modern courtship does not invalidate the model. No system is perfect.

My story is not a criticism of courtship as a system, it is a criticism of the incorrect application of the system.

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Second, I submitted to the father because he had the right to my submission in regards to courting his daughter. A father has the right, the duty, to screen his daughter’s suitors. He also has the right to put whatever conditions he deems necessary on his daughter’s suitor and end the relationship if he desires. I believe in this case the father went about that screening in an incorrect way, but even if he was wrong it was fully within his rights to make the wrong decision.

If you do not accept a father’s right to do this, you are not a friend of patriarchy, you are the ally of the modern sexual marketplace and an enemy of civilization.

On the other hand, I know I should have been more forceful in my interactions with the parents. I was caught off guard: this was not a social situation for which I was prepared or had developed a system. I think prariepolyguy had the right idea:

Your goal with that kind of thing is to establish peerage, that’s why I say answer questions and pose counter-questions. He can’t simply banish you for being disrespectful because you aren’t being, but you don’t just sit and submit to his whim like a pussy and don’t lose face with the girl…

I also would have asked for it to be private, between me and the father. As Barnabas said:

It strikes me that the problem isn’t so much the grilling, its that the daughter is present. This should be a conversation between men with daughter and mom not present. Best approach if faced with such a situation would be to demand a private discussion.

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Third, as her husband I would have taken over the leadership role from her father, but that transfer of leadership does not occur until the wedding, or at the very least the engagement. It is simply wrong to think that I have any headship over a woman to whom I am not married.

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Fourth, for those of you saying I should have not have submitted to the father, but instead taken the girl against the father’s wishes, you are wrong. If she was the kind of girl who would disobey her father and abandon her family for a man she had known for only a month, she is not the kind of girl I would want to marry. The woman who will rebel against and abandon her father under the influence of passion is the same woman who will rebel against and leave her husband under the influence of passion. Once the father had denied the relationship, the only way we could have had a relationship is if she was the type of girl I would not want to have a relationship with.

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Fifth, I’ve had more reasonable experiences with asking the father’s permission for courtship. The other couple times I’ve done it the families were warm and inviting, we got to know each other casually over dinner, and they extended permission without much hassle. My courtship experiences as far as families go have generally positive experiences; this time was the exception.

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Sixth, I know I should stop it with the porn. Every now and again I try. When I do, I may abstain for anywhere from a week or two to three or four months, but I always come back to it. It is my besetting sin.

Courtship and Young Men

A commenter at Donal’s asks: if there are so many desperate tradcon young women, why aren’t the tradcon young men courting them?

As a young man who could accurately be called a tradcon, I am going to tell a personal story from this winter which might illuminate.

I was on a Christian dating site, and sent a short message to a girl, she responded. After a few messages back and forth I invited her for coffee, she accepted and we met. Over the next month we went for coffee a few more times and I had her over for dinner and cooked her some Yakisoba. She was a sweet girl with good values, feminine, and joyful; somewhat plain, but attractive enough. I was the first man she had ever gone out with and she was taken with me and I was growing rather fond of her.

One night, I visited her church for the Christmas play service where she was playing Mary. After we went for coffee, chaperoned by one of her friends. We talked for an hour or two, at one point the topic of why she was on a dating site came up. She said it was because there were no men at her church. This confused me (well, it would have had I not been a reader of the manosphere), because I was sure I saw at least 3 or 4 unattached men at the Christmas service (not to mention she had previously told me stories of her interactions with one of her male friends at the church, from which, even never having met him, I could tell he liked her). So, I told her, ‘what do you mean, I saw a bunch of single men at your church.’ Her and her friend both had the same reaction: ‘yeah, but ewww.’

I did not press the point further, although I was happy I was no longer in the ‘ewww’ category as I had been years before.

My family celebrates on Christmas Eve, so we went to my parent’s house to meet my family, have Christmas dinner, go to our Christmas Eve service, and such. We had an enjoyable time, the atmosphere was relaxed and festive, my parents went out of the way to make her feel welcome, and they all took a great liking to her. Things went well.

The next day we went to her parent’s for Christmas. It was not to be their Christmas celebration for that was a major family get-together that was to take place at a different time, so it was just a basic supper. We drove out to their farm together. We walked in and I was sort of ignored (her parents, three of her brothers, and two of their wives were there; the girl was the only daughter with 5 brothers). I didn’t really know what to do, I had expected them to at least say greet me at the door, or say hi, or something. So, I said ‘hi’, put my gift on the table and sat down on a couch. I was then ignored for about 20 minutes. As regular readers may know, I’m not that good in social situations; Only twice before had I asked permission of a girl’s father and I’ve never been in a situation where I was in someone else’s home and been ignored, so I was out of my depth and experience and didn’t start a conversation with anyone but the girl. After a while, the father got to opening my gift, made a few jokes, then went back to ignoring me. One of the brothers did show me and the girl a cattle pen he had made, but other than that nothing. After another while, we all ate; nobody really talked to me and I didn’t really say much.

After supper, the parents seemed to notice my existence, and asked about me and the girl. I told them that we had gotten to know each other a bit, I was fond of her, and I would like their permission to court her. They then presented me with a list of dozens of questions (I’m not sure if this is the exact list, but if it isn’t it’s close enough for government work), saying me and the girl should go over them. I said we would. The parents then proceeded to grill me with questions straight off the page for the next hour or two.

I answered fully honestly. I am a mostly responsible, decent young man, but I am not perfect and have my failings. So most of the questions on employment, finances, home life, responsibility, church life, etc. I answered fine. Out of the many questions asked though , the parents got stuck on three major questions: alcohol, physical contact, and Bible reading.

I drink responsibly on occasion, but they were absolutely against any imbibement at all and they hammered on that point over and over, even though I said, if it was necessary I stop drinking while courting her I would (leaving it unsaid but implied that we would decide the alcohol question in the long-term as a couple; the girl herself didn’t drink but didn’t have problems with moderate alcohol consumption).

They asked about physical contact, I told them her and I had already discussed and agreed upon limits for physical contact previously (and they were strict limits) and although her desired limits were stricter than mine I would respect hers. Despite this they still did not like that my limits were not as strict as hers (for one example of the differences, I thought the engagement would be a good time for a first kiss, she wanted to wait until marriage); they then spoke approvingly of a young couple they knew that had worn boxes (actual, literal cardboard boxes) whenever they were alone together so they would not be tempted by physical contact.

The last was Bible reading. I answered that I don’t read daily; I tend to read sporadically but in-depth when there’s a topic I want to look into, but that I would take my duties as a leader of the family seriously and lead both my wife and children in regular Biblical study. That was not good enough for them, so I said I would start reading daily (and I did read daily for the next four months or so, even after the relationship ended).

A fourth area of concern was when they asked me what my greatest struggles in the faith were (this was after the Bible question): I said, ‘well, I guess I should read my Bible more and like most young men I struggle with lust.’ They then asked me about pornography, so I admitted in front of a dozen strangers that I do struggle with watching porn, but hadn’t watched in the last few weeks and was trying to stop (I stopped watching after our second date and continued to abstain for a few months after all this). Oddly, this didn’t seem to be that big deal to the parents, it was barely mentioned after that except for a joke (the alcohol question was far and away the big one, followed by the Bible one), but I mention it as this was the one that seemed to matter most to the girl.

After the grilling, the parents conclude that while they have concerns but aren’t going to kick me away. They get my e-mail and say they’ll keep in contact with me.

After we’re done, I drove home with the girl (and her friend who chaperoned us there and back on the 2-hour drive); we spend the first half hour in silence, then we talk, she was disturbed by the porn thing, so we talked about that, and she concludes she wants time for us both to think and pray, so she wanted a break for two weeks (when we were never even officially dating). So we had no contact for two weeks.

The parents e-mail me a couple days later and we go back and forth a bit as we discuss my readings of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs; things seem fine. A week or so later, I get a 2-page, heartfelt handwritten letter where she says we can no longer court (from the letter it sounds like its her idea), so I assume we’re done. I don’t respond as I agreed to no contact for two weeks andI didn’t have time to write a letter back. Then on the exact day the two weeks are over she texts me. We meet for coffee and talk. She offers to be friends; I say no, it’s either a relationship or we part ways. She thinks, and decides on a relationship; we then spend a happy evening walking outside in the January chill. We’re back together; we make plans to meet on Sunday.

On Friday I get an e-mail from her parents saying we can’t see each other anymore. I get a text from her a little while later; we text a bit over it. She says she’s going to obey her parents, and I encourage her to do so. We say goodbye. I respond to the parents asking if there’s any way I can earn their trust; I do not get a response. Me and the girl have not contacted each other since.

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Maybe this is where the tradcon young men are: stuck between ‘ewww’ and and the impossibly high standards of parents. How many young men could possible be able to give the positive, hoped-for answers when surprised with a grilling on five dozen questions? (Oddly, had I simply lied or stretched the truth, we’d probably be courting).

Of those very few who could possibly meet those requirements, how many will not be ‘ewww’?

I would guess there is probably a huge positive correlation between being able to meet those dozens of parental standards and being an ‘ewww’ guy.

If parents and young women make it impossible for young men to live up to your courtship standards, how can they possibly complain about being unable to find young men.

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This brings us to the next part, Moose Norsemen finds someone (Thomas) arguing why courtship is fundamentally flawed. I agree with Moose and I agree with courtship, but Thomas does make some good points.

The courtship movement eliminated dating and replaced it with nothing.

Or, put another way, they replaced dating with engagement. The only tangible difference between an engagement and a courtship is the ring and the date.

The goal of courtship is not to prevent marriage, it is to promote marriage by helping find suitable mates for men and women. Right now, it seems from what I’ve read around the web, that it is often used to destroy relationships rather than to create marriages.

A father should find a good man for his daughter, but how can he expect to when the first thing that happens when a young man comes a-calling is to grill him about every aspect of his life and boot him away if he doesn’t answer all 50 questions correctly?

How can a young man possibly think the risk and unpleasantness of that kind of grilling and the huge expectations of courtship is worth it for a girl he barely knows?

If I hadn’t gone on a number of dates and already developed a fondness for her in the month before meeting her parents, I would not have thought it worth it to go through that. What kind of men would willingly deal with that kind of ritual humilation before even spending any alone time with a girl? (The answer: The kind of man women go ‘ewww’ over).

You rarely hear of fathers trying to find and introduce good young men to their daughters; from the impressions I get, fathers seem to act primarily as a negative filter in courtship rather than a positive one.

There is no perfect young man, so if any flawed young man is rejected, who could there possibly be available to date young tradcon women?

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So, if we want a better courtship, one that isn’t broken, what we need is one devoted to creating marriages, not siphoning out young men.

Parents should act as a positive force for marriage. Instead of simply screening out young men, they should be actively looking and screening in young men for their daughters. Introduce young men you approve of to your daughters (and vice versa). Meet with other families in shared family events to get young people together.

Courtship should be more relaxed. Courtship is not engagement and it should not be treated as such. It should, at first, be somewhat casual (with the long-term goal in mind) so the young couple can get to know each other. Young people in group activities, young men attending relaxed family events with the girl’s family, a few outings to public places, etc. Let them get to know each other before dumping all kinds of expectations on it. Expectations and seriousness should escalate over time.

Questions like those above should be gone over, but over time. Instead of playing bad cop on the first meeting, get to know him and learn these things over time by spending time with the young man.

It should be recognized that young men aren’t perfect. Instead of a father rejecting a generally good, but flawed young man his daughter fancies, he should work with the young man to help him better himself. (If the young man refuses to try to better himself, that is another story).

Courtship is not about keeping young men away from young women, it is about actively trying to create godly marriages.

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In my particular case, it’s possible that the problem is me, as a commenter at Moose’s stated:

If it were me getting shot down by a bunch of dads as viable husband material for their daughters, I’d be asking WHY. I wouldn’t assume it was a problem with them first: I’d assume it was a problem with me.

I know I could be a better man in many ways, but I’ve only ever been shot down by that one father before, and most of the older adult males in my church and life seem to respect me and think well of me, enough so that I at their behest I have led the young adult small group in the past and, again at their request, am entering a leadership residency in my church. But I thought I should mention this as it might seem an explanation.

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Because I’m sharing, here’s one more small story from university when I was just starting to work my way out of omega. I was part of a small group at my university Christian group. In this particular study there was me and one other guy and three young women. These young women were all in the 7-9 range. One I had asked out a year-and-half before and been rejected (she was the first girl I ever asked out), another I had asked out a few months before and been rejected, and the third had just broken up with her boyfriend a couple months before and we had been getting close to each other (we ended up dating later that year).

The topic of the sermon we were watching was dating, so we were talking about this. At one point, one of the young women said dating was hard because there were no good men. The other two agreed with her. I was shocked, so didn’t respond but I should have. I had personally asked out two of them and was very obvious in my intentions to the third.

All of these girls were very attractive, good girls and could have had any man they wanted. The one I knew the best had many male friends, I knew at least 3 or 4 guys (who were good men, if a bit socially awkward) who had either asked her out or were so obvious about liking her even someone as socially oblivious as I could tell. One had just gotten out of a year-long relationship, her third relationship in 3 or so years. The final one was one of the most beautiful women I had ever met and would occasionally tell stories of guys who had gone out of the way to compliment her.

I was an ‘ewww’ man at the time (but improving), so I didn’t count. I guess those other men didn’t count either.

These two stories are why I don’t believe women when they say they can’t find a good man or there are not good men. I have seen women who could have almost any man they want, who had numerous suitors (who were good men), , who had good male friends who obviously wanted them, who had been asked out by me specifically say there were no good men, when it was simply untrue. Unless a woman lives in a village of 50 people in the middle of nowhere, there probably are good men, the women’s probably just not counting them.

Oh, and just as a last little bit, two of those three women are married. The most attractive one is not; she’s 29 this year and, as far as I know, is still single.

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So, for tradcon young women and their families, maybe it’s not that there are not good men, maybe it’s that men are stuck between ‘ewww’ and impossible standards.

Instead of young women and their families holding out for a suitor who is both super-attractive and able to meet a parent-approved 50-point bullet list, and rejecting any suitor who is not perfect, maybe give them a chance.

Parents, instead of rejecting that young man your daughter fancies, work with him* to help him improve himself. If she doesn’t have a suitor, work to help introduce her to good men. Be a positive force for marriage rather than a negative force.

Young women, instead of rejecting or ignoring those men you don’t see, make yourself available and say yes when you are asked out even if he is kind of awkward.* The worst that can happen is a few hours of unpleasantness and maybe you’ll be able to work with him to improve those awkward things that aren’t quite attractive.

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* Obviously, I am not talking about unrepentant degenerates, those unwilling to try and better themselves, and the like here, just the normally flawed.