If things go wrong in a relationship, who is to blame?

I was having a discussion with a Christian woman last night (who can comment, if she likes) about who is to blame in relationships when things go wrong.

My basic contention is that whenever something goes wrong in a relationship, then the person whose expectations are dashed is to blame.

The reason why I think this is because you have to take people as you find them and then vet them as if they were job applicants applying for the job of marriage. The job of marriage has very specific requirements, and these requirements are objective. Someone is going to have to raise the kids, someone is going to have to cook the meals, someone is going to have to earn the bulk of the money, someone is going to have to deal with the beasties that invade the home. The goal of the relationship is not to test the person to see if they are “fun” or whether your friends are envious. The goal of the relationship is to test the person for the role they will play in the marriage.

So consider the case where a man has sex with and then dumps a woman, who expected him to marry her and have children. Who is to blame? On my view, it’s the woman who is to blame. The man was bad before she got there, and you cannot expect a bad man to act good, just because you imagine that he will. Imagination is not the equivalent of passing an interview with the woman’s father, and getting the father’s approval. Imagination is not a 12-year resume with no gaps. Imagination is not a $500,000 investment portfolio. Imagination is not a paid-off home. Imagination is not a handful of reference letters from his former girlfriends. If the woman relied on her imagination, then the woman is to blame for the man’s bad conduct.

Sometimes, what I’ve noticed is that women tend to focus on the bad thing that the men do that is counter to their expectations, because they project a standard of morality onto the man that the man expressly repudiates. In fact, I have actually met atheistic women who think that atheistic men should act based on some standard of morality. But the problem is that neither the atheist woman nor the atheist man accepts any objective standard of morality. If there is no designer to the universe, then the universe is an accident, and there is no way that we OUGHT to be. If there is no way we OUGHT to be, then there is no point in expecting anyone to be any way – it’s just your opinion against their opinion. So you have a woman expecting a man to act according to some standard that she doesn’t think is real by her own worldview!And meanwhile, the good men are passed by because we are “too strict”, “too religious”, “too moral”, “too chaste”, “too sober”, “too predictable” and “there is no chemistry”. (Chemistry = emotional craziness)

What this means is that women end up feeling free to drink as much as they want, have sex with whoever they want on the basis of appearance and popularity, and then expect that sex will cause the man to immediately propose with a diamond ring, a massive expensive wedding in Hawaii, a huge palatial home, and so on. The moral laws that might block a woman from doing bad things are “too strict” for her to follow, but they expect men to follow moral rules that they don’t follow themselves! Women actually believe that drunken hook-up sex will cause really immoral men to drop their hedonistic, atheistic lifestyles and act completely differently than they were before. What causes women to think this? It isn’t reason and evidence, that’s for sure. I think they think that men who are good looking and popular have some store of hidden virtue that is unlocked by having sex with the woman who is their “soul mate”. Somehow, a magical spell will come over a self-centered, muscle-bound lout and he will be filled with thoughts of marriage and babies. Women actually think that! And what happens is that after choosing the wrong man and getting pregnant, etc. with him, they blame the man for the subsequent abortions, affairs, domestic violence, etc. In short, the problem is this: women go to the pet store, pass by all the dogs and cats and bird, and bring home a trendy and attractive alligator, who then promptly bites each of their limbs off. And then the women complain that the alligator is very unfair and immoral. Who is really to blame here? The alligator, who is just doing what comes naturally for alligators, or the woman who passed the good pets by and brought home a monster?

It sounds like I am blaming women, but I’m not – but she wasn’t convinced. So I invented a new example to show how men could be to blame, unlikely though that may be, since men are perfect in every way. This time, I imagined what would happen if a stripper-gram woman showed up at my door. I actually told the woman I was chatting with that I had to go because a stripper-gram HAD shown up. I told the woman how attractive the stripper was, and how I was in love with her, and wanted to marry her. How she undoubtedly was very wealthy, and well educated, and how she would help me to raise little Michele Bachmanns and William Lane Craigs. I waxed eloquently on her B.A. in integrated science with a minor in philosophy of religion, M.A. in economics and her J.D. in defamation law. All of which I had no evidence for, except for the feelings of love aroused by the site of her naked cleavage. Besides, I explained, it would be easier for me to change her to match my boobie-induced delusions of her after we were married. At this point, my debating partner began to see the point. She could see that this imaginary stripper was going to dash my expectations, and probably cheat on me, and spend all my savings on shoes and breast implants. And who would be to blame? ME! Because I am the one who was refusing to court her properly, and instead inventing an entire future life together that the imaginary stripper and I had never discussed, nor was she capable of meeting those requirements.

I actually know a Christian-raised atheist woman who co-habitated with a left-wing, global-warming atheist and then got pregnant and had an abortion, and she blamed the man for this. As if an atheist should be expected to believe in objective moral values and marriage! As if the man had been able to get her to co-habitate and get pregnant without her consent! She accepted no responsibility for her choice of this man whatsoever. And when I told her about the dangers of pre-marital sex and the importance of courting rules, she dismissed them as being too strict, claiming that a good job, chastity, virginity, apologetics, a firmly-grounded Christian faith, a rational basis for morality, sobriety, and so on, were all totally unnecessary for a sensible successful marriage. Still! After all that! Her sole criteria for a man? CHEMISTRY! And the approval of her female peers, who were all penniless, up to their eyeballs in student loans and credit card debt, and had degrees in squishy-headed non-engineering/non-science fields, like English, Women’s Studies, Journalism and Peace Studies. Phooey!

So this kind of thing really happens, and many of the people who should bear the responsibility are oblivious to the fact that they have any duty at all to actually evaluate romantic partners rationally and objectively to see if they are able to meet the demands of marriage and parenting. People act as if drunkenness, partying, promiscuity and selfishness are pre-requisites to a good marriage. And that fathers have no role to play in setting out boundaries for their daughters and making them accountable for their decisions.

For all the men out there, if this sort of crazy irrational avoidance of responsibility strikes a chord with you, I urge you to go out and watch the 2008 movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson. For a more gritty dramatic movie, I recommend the movie “Thirteen”from 2003. Fathers matter. Husbands matter.

I was having a discussion with a Christian woman last night (who can comment, if she likes) about who is to blame in relationships when things go wrong.

My basic contention is that whenever something goes wrong in a relationship, then the person whose expectations are dashed is to blame.

The reason why I think this is because you have to take people as you find them and then vet them as if they were job applicants applying for the job of marriage. The job of marriage has very specific requirements, and these requirements are objective. Someone is going to have to raise the kids, someone is going to have to cook the meals, someone is going to have to earn the bulk of the money, someone is going to have to deal with the beasties that invade the home. The goal of the relationship is not to test the person to see if they are “fun” or whether your friends are envious. The goal of the relationship is to test the person for the role they will play in the marriage.

So consider the case where a man has sex with and then dumps a woman, who expected him to marry her and have children. Who is to blame? On my view, it’s the woman who is to blame. The man was bad before she got there, and you cannot expect a bad man to act good, just because you imagine that he will. Imagination is not the equivalent of passing an interview with the woman’s father, and getting the father’s approval. Imagination is not a 12-year resume with no gaps. Imagination is not a $500,000 investment portfolio. Imagination is not a paid-off home. Imagination is not a handful of reference letters from his former girlfriends. If the woman relied on her imagination, then the woman is to blame for the man’s bad conduct.

At this point, the woman in question started to disagree with me. She thought that all people (especially those evil men) should be expected to act like Christian theists, and that if they didn’t then they were to blame. In other words, people should feel feel free to drink as much as they want, have sex with whoever they want on the basis of appearance and popularity, and then expect that sex will cause the man to immediately propose with a diamond ring, a massive expensive wedding in Hawaii, a huge palatial home, and so on. Women actually belief that drunken hook-up sex will cause really immoral men to drop their hedonistic, atheistic lifestyles and cause men to act completely differently than they were before. What causes women to think this? It isn’t reason and evidence, that’s for sure. I think they think that men who are good looking and popular have some store of hidden virtue that is unlocked by having sex with the woman who is their “soul mate”. Somehow, a magical spell will come over a self-centered, muscle-bound lout and he will be filled with thoughts of marriage and babies. Women actually think that!

Well, she thought I was just blaming women again, which I love to do. So I invented a new example to show how men could be to blame, unlikely though that may be, since men are perfect in every way. This time, I imagined what would happen if a stripper-gram woman showed up at my door. I actually told the woman I was chatting with that I had to go because a stripper-gram HAD shown up. I told the woman who lovely the stripper was, and how I was in love with her, and wanted to marry her. How she undoubtedly was very wealthy, and would help me to raise little Michele Bachmanns and William Lane Craigs. I waxed eloquently on her B.A. in integrated science with a minor in philosophy of religion, M.A. in economics and her J.D. in defamation law. All of which I had no evidence for, except for the feelings of love aroused by the site of her naked cleavage. Besides, I explained, it would be easier for me to change her to match my boobie-induced delusions after we were married. At this point, my debating partner began to see the point. She could see that this imaginary stripper was going to dash my expectations, and probably cheat on me, and spend all my savings on shoes and breast implants. And who would be to blame? ME! Because I am the one who was refusing to court her properly, and instead inventing an entire future life together that the imaginary stripper and I had never discussed, nor was she capable of meeting those requirements.

So now I would like to hear from my commenters what they think about this way of assigning blame so that it is not based on the degree of bad thing that is done. Instead I assign blame to the person who chooses the wrong person for a relationship, for the wrong reasons, and then hopes to change that person later.

I actually know a Christian-raised woman who co-habitated with a left-wing, global-warming atheist and then got pregnant and had an abortion, and she blamed the man for this. As if an atheist should be expected to believe in objective moral values and marriage! As if the man had been able to get her to co-habitate and get pregnant without her consent! She accepted no responsibility for her choice of this man whatsoever. And when I told her about the dangers of pre-marital sex and the importance of courting rules, she dismissed them as being too strict, claiming that a good job, chastity, virginity, apologetics, a firmly-grounded Christian faith, a rational basis for morality, sobriety, and so on, were all totally unnecessary for a sensible successful marriage. Still! After all that! Her sole criteria for a man? CHEMISTRY! And the approval of her female peers, who were all penniless, up to their eyeballs in student loans and credit card debt, and had degrees in squishy-headed non-engineering/non-science fields, like English, Women’s Studies, Journalism and Grievance Mongering Socialist Theory. (That is a real degree at Wellesley College, I am pretty sure) Phooey!

So this kind of thing really happens, and many of the people who I think should bear the responsibility are oblivious to the fact that they have any duty at all to actually evaluate romantic partners rationally and objectively to see if they are able to meet the demands of marriage and parenting. People act as if drunkenness, partying, promiscuity and selfishness are pre-requisites to a good marriage. And that fathers have no role to play in setting out boundaries for their daughters and making them accountable for their decisions.

For all the men out there, if this sort of crazy irrational avoidance of responsibility strikes a chord with you, I urge you to go out and watch the 2008 movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson. For a more gritty dramatic movie, I recommend the movie “Thirteen”from 2003. Fathers matter. Husbands matter.

53 thoughts on “If things go wrong in a relationship, who is to blame?”

  1. You would do well in an arranged marriage, Wintery, one where all the joy and excitement of meeting someone and falling in love is swapped out for the cold, sterile, comfort (but safety!) of pre-calculated odds.

    And, hey, Merry Xmas, you robot.

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    1. Bleep. Blorp. Chastisement from the guy who is never going to get married does not compute.

      I wonder how well the joy and excitement approach is working out for the children of the 50% of the marriages that fail.

      Let me just point out that this problem of dashed expectations when joy and excitement blows up can happen to men, too.

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      1. That’s an awesome non sequitur, Wintery. Time to upgrade your CPU. Some new RAM. A sunnier disposition. And, before you know it, you’ll be human. Almost.

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    2. Talk about missing the point. It’s not about odds (I didn’t see any mention of gambling or chance herein); what I did see was a reminder to people contemplating a relationship that it’s up to them to EVALUATE (that is, use their mind) to see if the person will make a good marriage partner. Are you really suggesting that you never once think about the matter rationally? Are you suggesting that thinking has no part to play in choosing a mate? Better, are you suggesting that emotions are infallible? Both emotions and logic have a part to play, and you’d know this if you read more Jane Austen.

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      1. I love Jane Austen! Jane Austen is the Queen of courting skills, and thinking about who you marry first. That episode with Lydia in Pride and Prejudice is fantastic! She’s so silly and impulsive and flirty and irrational. She has no idea how much trouble she’s caused her family. Jane Austen is a genius. We really need more authors like Jane Austen.

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      2. I agree with Wintery and In Russet Shadows that basing your decisions for marriage merely on emotions is Russian Roulette.

        And yes, Jane Austen rocks!

        “Sense and Sensibility” is the best for illustrating the principle of good and poor evaluation strategies in courting. I could write a whole lot on it!

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  2. You are right. I agree with almost everything you said except that men are perfect. (But I know you can’t be serious, so…).

    Anyway, I just want to know why are you refusing to blame bad men for being bad? Being bad is a choice. They choose the hedonistic lifestyle and just because they don’t blame anyone (I am not too sure about that, though), it’s somehow okay? And by your logic, the women you describe (drunks, who don’t mind hook-up sex, etc., etc.) are also bad. So why blame them? They are just being true to their nature, except you’ll have to add whining to their list, I suppose. I don’t know WK. I do understand your point, but I do think you should let God work His way a tiny bit too? You think you have to do EVERYTHING when in truth you have a hell lot to do but with God’s guidance. Somehow, I feel your plan is not foolproof. I don’t feel like I should disagree but there is something missing.

    Anyway, who do you think is to blame if an arranged marriage goes wrong?

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    1. What? You agree with me!

      I am surprised, because lately you’ve been so mean to men. Anyway, obviously I am kidding about lots of that silly stuff like men are perfect… Men are horrible. But it'[s not as funny if I say that.

      I do think that what men do is bad, but that is why they should be ignored and ostracized by women. If women insisted that men not touch them until marriage, what would happen to the abortion rate? And how would men change the way they court women? Instead of getting them drunk, they would be buying them flowers and jewelry. It all starts with women demanding better from men – and for that we need to stop feminism cold and get fathers back into the home, with all the authority that fathers should have to set moral boundaries.

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      1. What?! Don’t be silly! I was mean in 2 comments I made recently and both times I was specifically being mean to you and not men in generally. For which I duly apologized! Stop being mean!

        Anyway, what you are saying is that if women stop being bad men will follow suit? Why not the other way around? Why not say men stop chasing women and be honourable and stop addressing them in worldly ways? I am not asking this to be difficult. It’s a genuine question.

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        1. If an arranged marriage goes wrong blame the arrangers.

          I think women need to change first because they are the ones who changed the most recently by embracing third-wave feminism, which is the cause of this whole sex epidemic.

          When I say that the bad people who are chosen by naive people should not be blamed, I mean that they should not be blamed by the naive person, because the naive person chose them. The bad person is still being bad, of course, and should be punished by the law and/or God as appropriate.

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          1. You know, I don’t understand why you were surprised that I agreed with you here. Just because I disagree with you on 2 things (which I have always disagreed with you), it doesn’t mean I am suddenly anti-men.*Shakes head, smiling*

            Honestly, I can’t see how anyone can disagree with you on the point that if a person makes a bad choice, they can blame everyone else for their bad choices. We actually have this situation in the book of Ruth. Naomi, who chose to leave Israel and live in a pagan country *and* marries her sons off to pagan women, blames God for what happened to her. The choice was entirely her’s and when tragedy struck she thought it was okay to put the blame on God. It gets to me every time. So you are right on that one Wintery. There are no two opinions about that.

            You are right. You don’t marry a bad person and except that person to magically become good overnight. As for Mary’s point about where the blames lies entirely, I think it depends on whether the person wronged is willing to share blame for choosing the wrong person. If the person is willing to accept their share of the blame, I’d understand. But most often then not they play the victim card, refusing to accept any responsibility whatsoever.

            I can tell the example of my own. She’s one of the good examples actually. She chose to marry a non-Christian. She was a devout Christian and he became a Christian just to marry her. She wanted to have children while he was more interested in money. They had disagreement and it escalated to physical abuse. For 2 years my sis never spoke a word about what was happening in her life because she realized the choice had been hers to marry that guy. She did think her husband was wrong but she also realized she chose the wrong and she had to deal with it. But thankfully, she wasn’t a push over and didn’t think she had suffer silently for eternity because being a Christian doesn’t mean suffering silently but finding strength in Christ and undo the wrong things she did through His strength. They sorted out their problems (after a lot of struggle) but you know what warms my heart when I think of my sis? She told me she’d never tell what she suffered in the hands of her husband to her son ever because though it was difficult at that time, it was over. Christianity is about repentance and salvation. It’s never going to come if don’t critically analyze our choices and rate us before we rate and blame the rest of the world. More often then not it’s our actions which leads us to situations we are in. (There are people who are helpless and I am not talking about them.) The person being bad will have to face the consequences of their action yes, but absolving ourselves of our ill-made choices won’t help. It’s like saying, “I am bad, but he’s bad too.” You know, *of course* he is bad but when you add the ‘but’ to your sentence it means you are still looking for a way to lessen your guilt. Doesn’t help.

            I hope I make sense!

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          2. “When I say that the bad people who are chosen by naive people should not be blamed, I mean that they should not be blamed by the naive person, because the naive person chose them. The bad person is still being bad, of course, and should be punished by the law and/or God as appropriate.”

            No THAT I can agree with! So we (society) should blame the bad person more than the less bad person, but the person who naively made the poor decision must not complain about the bad person being bad, because they chose them. If that is what you think, then we are in agreement.

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          3. @Retha: Yep. And I am just as willing to defend a man who is given an unfair burden of blame as I am to defend a woman in such a position. :)

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          4. Women are the ones who changed most recently and women will always be the ones to change because they are more adaptable than men. This goes beyond mere appearance (changing your hairstyle, hem length, etc.) to how women are so good at changing their points of view to propel themselves into different and better experiences. Men by and large don’t challenge their own points of view. Their views of what grounds their identities is rather inflexible. So they are always looking for women to adapt. You, WIntery, are a prime offender here. You feel that women are completely malleable, to the point of suggesting that they change men by manipulating themselves.

            The reverse of that is an admission that men simply know only one way of being–and if they can’t be that, they can’t function.

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  3. Well now, seeing as I was the one sparring verbally with Wintery over the “intarwebs”, I had better give my version of things.

    Where we agree:
    If people make poor choices of partners for sex or marriage, then they must admit that they are responsible for that bad choice and that the bad choice contributes to the bad outcome. So far so good.

    Where we disagree:
    Wintery thinks that the hurt party in such situations is *entirely* responsible. This is where I disagree.

    Let’s look at the example. Person A sleeps with person B (I’m omitting the genders here on purpose) and they don’t think about the consequences. A child is conceived as a result of this union. Person A wants to care for the child. Person B doesn’t. Person B either takes a hike (if it is a man) or has an abortion (if it is a woman).

    In the above example, Wintery asserts that Person A (who wants to care for the child) is entirely responsible for the whole mess.

    On the other hand, I say that both must bear some guilt for their irresponsible choice to sleep together outside marriage. A further burden of guilt accrues to the person who subsequently takes a hike or has an abortion. Both are guilty, but person B is more guilty than person A.

    I say Wintery is being illogical.

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    1. Yeah because A makes the decision to sleep with B thinking that B is going to do things that B has no intention of doing. A is 100% to blame. There would be no hard decision if A had married C (me, or someone like me). When you realize that A will go on to vote for domestic violence laws, divorce courts, no-fault divorce, state-run day care, punitive taxes, socialism and atheism in general – all because “men” (bad men she chose) – are unreliable, it really gets bad.

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    2. I don’t think he’s being illogical. What he’s pointing out is not the sin in sleeping around, but rather the expectations that women often have about such. They often expect the man to change overnight from a hard-drinking, party-hardy loose person to the knight in shining armor because he slept with HER. It’s feminine arrogance, because she assumes that he will magically transform into what she wants because she’s worth it. Then, when he doesn’t, she accuses him of being a bad person — the sad thing is that he already was that; only her illusions prevented her from seeing it. So, should women demand or hold out for better men? Yes, as this would help them get what they want without this abysses of disconnection. Should men be better men? Yes.

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      1. I’ve talked to a lot of women who think that their emotions can somehow manipulate reality so that they get what they want. A lot of them have read “The Secret” and I think that this is what they really believe until their fathers argue them out of it.

        One woman I spoke to about this trait in women of thinking that emotions can somehow warp reality in mystical irrational ways. She told me that she thought that faith in God is better when it is irrational, and that evidence undermines faith. Her father fixed that for her at an early age. Another woman I worked with told me that as a child she believed that mathematics did not apply everywhere in the universe. Her father argued with her for two hours until she agreed with him. Both of these women went on to get non-artsy degrees.

        Regarding men being better men, George Gilder, in his book “Men and Marriage”, presents the thesis that women’s decision of which men to choose and which men to encourage determines the course of civilization. If women adopt feminism and sleep with men before marriage, then civilization is basically doomed, since the man is only civilized when he has to adapt his wildness to the 9-month sexual cycle of the woman. If men are not forced to control themselves by the woman in order to get sex, children will not be raised in intact homes, and this causing successive generations of fatherless children, with all the social ills that brings. There are many feminists today who think that day care, public schools and welfare can substitute for a man. And we are all paying for their errors.

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      2. I don’t have a problem with what you are saying about how we need realistic expectations. I have a problem with ALL of the blame (for the whole situation) being placed on the party that behaved less badly. It makes no sense.

        And I’m not talking about women as the first party. I’m talking about people I’m general. Let me try again with an explicitly male example because you automatically assume I want to support the woman.

        Bob sleeps with Alice. Alice gets pregnant. Alice makes the unilateral decision to have an abortion. Who is responsible for the child’s death? Both bear the guilt of illicit sex. But Alice chose to have the abortion, so she is more guilty than Bob.

        According to Wintery’s logic, if you want to be considered blameless after illicit sex, you should behave as irresponsibly as possible and abandon your child or have an abortion. That way, the other person gets all the blame because they chose you and you were just being you. It’s back to front.

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        1. Ha! Alice and Bob? What is this, computer network security? And aren’t you supposed to be asleep?

          OK, in this case Bob is to blame because he signs off on all rights to positive outcomes when he chooses to have recreational pre-marital sex with a pro-abortion woman. He is using a woman for recreation and that is all he is entitled to. He cannot depend on her to act morally because he has not made morality a criterion for choosing her. He is choosing her for recreation. She is choosing him for recreation. And the only moral criterion he can demand from her is the criterion he has selected her for – RECREATION. When a baby comes along, the baby is not good for her RECREATION. Therefore, he should expect that the baby will be killed.

          This is why sex is such a dangerous thing. We need to be very careful about the processes and procedures that surround it, because a lot of bad things can happen. From depression, to cutting, to STDs, to grades collapsing, to abortion, to divorce, to broken homes, to people becoming very selfish and jaded. Children are the innocent victims of all of this selfishness. I like sex as much as the next guy, I’m just not willing to hurt innocent children so that I can have inappropriate fun with a woman outside of normal procedures. I am not going to be explaining to the Lord on Judgment Day why I ruined the lives of innocent born and unborn children.

          It is a sin to make moral demands on someone whom you have selected for a relationship for purposes of recreation. If they are for recreation, then they are not for morality.

          I talk a lot about Christian apologetics on this blog… and none of means a darn if a person is so broken up by the sins of their parents that they hate God and don’t even care about truth. I’ve seen it.

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          1. “Ha! Alice and Bob? What is this, computer network security?”

            Well, it’s human network security, isn’t it? :-P

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      3. Moreover, Wintery’s logic implies that in the case where a man and woman have illicit sex, and the woman becomes pregnant and unilaterally has an abortion, then it is not only partly, but entirely the man’s fault, *especially* if he doesn’t want her to have an abortion. By having the abortion when the man doesn’t want her to get one, the woman absolves herself of all responsibility. And if the man wants to be considered less responsible for the mess, he should encourage her to have an abortion.

        Think about what your logic implies, WK.

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        1. The problem with your point is that you think that other people accept your standard of morality and they can be depended upon to act as if they are you. Can you understand that there are people in the world who do not share your convictions, and that if you have sex with them, or engage in any other joint enterprise, and they fail to act on the basis of YOUR moral convictions, and harm results, then YOU are to blame for putting them in a position where they can cause that harm?

          This exactly analogous to the situation of hiring a stranger and putting him in a position of trust. Suppose that no background check is requested, no reference letters are required, no checking of previous employers is performed, no university transcripts are ordered. The employee goes on to steal every credit card number in the database and then defraud every customer of the firm. On your view, the employee is to blame, because he acted exactly on his convictions – which were never investigated by the employer before trust was placed in him. The employer failed the shareholders, the customers, and everyone else who was damaged, because he did not do his due diligence before exposing all of these other people to harm and devastation.

          The problem with your view is that you think that people can dance through life like Pollyanna, choosing to entrust anyone they like with life and death decisions just on the basis of frivolous criteria like physical appearance and popularity. But child abusers cannot be faulted for acting like child abusers. They do not suddenly gain the mother’s moral values and respect for children because they are hired as babysitters for her children. The mother who hires a child abuser to babysit her children is to blame because she is the one who is entrusting him with duties that he has no ability to carry out. It is her job to vet him for a job that requires moral character. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF HE IS GOOD-LOOKING AND FUN TO HANG OUT WITH. And the fact that she mistakenly believes that his good looks and “chemistry” are qualifications for being a good guardian of children does not absolve her of guilt for her negligence. A rattlesnake is a rattlesnake, not a babysitter. For a mother to put a rattlesnake in charge of her children is the ONLY moral crime. If the mother LEFT THE RATTLESNAKE ALONE and hired a thoroughly vetted and acredited babysitter with refererences, degrees, accreditations and so on, then NO HARM COULD RESULT. The rattlesnake would not be placed BY THE MOTHER in a position to do harm. Rattlesnakes are perfectly good at being rattlesnakes – leave them alone. Do not put them in charge of children and then blame them for failing to act like professional guardians.

          Can you finally see why anyone who entrusts serious matters to dangerous, evil people is wholly to blame, and must accept full responsibility for any harm that follows? Bad people would not do anything bad unless someone entrusts them with situations where they can cause grievous harm. And the crime is COMPOUNDED when the reckless, negligent person who chooses to entrust these delicate situations to unqualified, immoral people PASS BY the qualified, moral people.

          What does Paul say about trying to impose Christian standards of morality on non-Christians? He says it is pointless to try because they are not Christians, and should not be depended on to act like Christians.

          1 Cor 5:9-13:
          9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
          10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
          11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
          12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
          13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

          Paul doesn’t say “Have pre-marital sex with the sexually immoral, greedy, idolater, slanderer, drunkard, swindler, etc. – and then expect them to marry you because you cast magical mind-control spells on them when you have sex with them”. It’s amazing. The Bible could not be more clear about not being unequally yoked, and yet I see Christian women having long, drawn out romantic relationships with non-Christian men, and even having pre-marital sex with non-Christian men that were chosen on completely un-Biblical grounds, and then complaining about how they are victims. And then pastors like Mark Driscoll come along and blame the non-Christian men! It’s absolutely ridiculous. Take responsibility for your own decision making – do not expect the world to conform to your emotions and fantasies.

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          1. Two points:
            – As you know, I was talking about the situation of two non-christians. More has been given to Christians, so more will be expected.
            – Does that mean that if a woman murders her husband we should not put her in jail? After all, he must have chosen poorly and simply had it coming.

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          2. 1) Yeah this has happened to me too. A woman I worked with who was an atheist kept nagging her atheist boyfriend to marry her, and he kept nagging her not to cheat on him. It’s ridiculous. They chose atheists to avoid being judged by the other person, then they turn around and start imposing moral rules that neither of them believe in, and portraying themselves as victims of the other person’s moral relativism! Crazy.

            2) No, we can put her in jail because she is guilty of murder. But he must NOT gather together his girl friends, and whine and complain about how mean she was to poor little him, and that he is totally innocent and that she is to blame entirely. He chose the crazy woman, and he should have known that the courts are lenient with women and that their lenience might be an incentive for her to commit murder. So he cannot complain about being innocent and woe is him. And Mark Driscoll should not come along and cry and bawl like a baby about the poor man who was the victim of the woman he freely chose, and how that woman should come to his church and he would fix her by telling her to act like a Christian (when she isn’t) and man-up and stop murdering husbands.

            When you make a free decision, you accept the responsibility for what follows.

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          3. “1) Yeah this has happened to me too. A woman I worked with who was an atheist kept nagging her atheist boyfriend to marry her, and he kept nagging her not to cheat on him. It’s ridiculous. They chose atheists to avoid being judged by the other person, then they turn around and start imposing moral rules that neither of them believe in, and portraying themselves as victims of the other person’s moral relativism! Crazy.”

            True. But then, as you know, on atheism, we can’t say that *anyone* is to blame because there is no such thing as absolute morality. So we can’t say that the whiner is to blame either since blame assumes common absolute morality.

            “2) No, we can put her in jail because she is guilty of murder. But he must NOT gather together his girl friends, and whine and complain about how mean she was to poor little him, and that he is totally innocent and that she is to blame entirely. He chose the crazy woman, and he should have known that the courts are lenient with women and that their lenience might be an incentive for her to commit murder. So he cannot complain about being innocent and woe is him. And Mark Driscoll should not come along and cry and bawl like a baby about the poor man who was the victim of the woman he freely chose, and how that woman should come to his church and he would fix her by telling her to act like a Christian (when she isn’t) and man-up and stop murdering husbands.”

            Agreed. So the person who made the poor decision has no right to complain about the other person being bad. But as a society, we can assign greater blame to the person who commits the greater evil. This is how our legal system works.

            “When you make a free decision, you accept the responsibility for what follows.”

            Right. But, remember that there is more than one free decision at work here. You’re lapsing into determinism.

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  4. But he must NOT gather together his girl friends, and whine and complain about how mean she was to poor little him, and that he is totally innocent and that she is to blame entirely.

    LOL!! I am sorry but the idea of a dead man whining to his girlfriends about how mean his wife was to murder him is hilarious!!

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  5. Here’s another way of looking at it:
    God knew that Adam and Eve would disobey Him and mess up the relationship with Him. Yet, He freely chose to create them. He has implemented a plan to make things perfect in the end, so He made a wise decision to make them.

    However, we do commit sins against Him in the interim and He does hold us accountable. Be very careful that your logic does not imply that God is to blame for the sins of humanity because He’s the one who, with perfect foreknowledge, chose to go ahead and make us. And be careful that your logic does not imply that He doesn’t have the right to consider us guilty when we break His law.

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  6. Wintery, you say the blame is on the person who’se expectations are dashed.

    Here are two examples:

    a) a 17-year old boy or girl, in a country where 17 is below the legal age of consent, consenting to a sexual act with an adult (of the same or opposite sex), but feeling used later.
    b) a 17-year old boy or girl, in a country where 17 is above the legal age of consent, consenting to a sexual act with an adult (of the same or opposite sex), but feeling used later.

    Do you feel the same about these two examples? Why/ why not?

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    1. No, those are different. The sex before the age of consent is probably caused by the absence of a father from the home, and that’s why women need to be careful to choose men who will be fathers instead of boyfriends. When I look at women, I almost immediately think about what sort of mother they would be, because children are so vulnerable that they really need a good mother with lots of time to spend on them and lots of ideas on what to teach them.

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  7. “Women are the ones who changed most recently and women will always be the ones to change because they are more adaptable than men. This goes beyond mere appearance (changing your hairstyle, hem length, etc.) to how women are so good at changing their points of view to propel themselves into different and better experiences.”

    Well, that sounds like gullibility (or even unprincipled) to me rather than adaptability.

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    1. If you’re changing your point of view just for the sake of having better experiences, then that’s more likely gullible or unprincipled. People with principles do not change their points of view so easily, certainly not just for better experiences.

      Especially if that changing of viewpoint means embracing abortion, promiscuity and unfair laws.

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  8. Wintery, I wanted to thank you for this post.

    I used it yesterday as a springboard for teaching my kids (girl 8, boys 11, 12, 14) to take responsibility for choosing who you date and having a biblical criteria by which to test them, and how to choose who you want to date before you actually have emotions for someone, and how once you are dating them to drop them if they turn out to not meet the criteria after all.

    Personally, I dont allow them to date, but they still “go out” or “date” at school and text each other incessantly. And they will be old enough to date all too soon…. So I’m trying to instill in them the dangers of dating people who do not meet God’s criteria, and the logic of not dating when you cant marry, and the lunacy of thinking someone who does something you dont like (like being mean or argumentative or being a perpetual victim or making you sad or mad or hurt) will some how change once you begin dating them.

    Even though the oldest and the youngest were very bored, the other two participated in the conversation, and the bored ones heard it at least.

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  9. wbmoore –

    You raise an interesting point with your comment, “the logic of not dating when you cant marry.” And that is – exactly when are boys /girls ready to get married? What’s the test or criteria that can be used? I would appreciate your and WK’s thoughts.

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  10. Ok, so I have been thinking about this some more. If this theory of relational responsibility is true, then doesn’t that mean that men have no right to complain about no fault divorce? After all, if they chose good women, those women wouldn’t choose to divorce them for no good reason, whatever the divorce laws. Then the only reason why we should oppose no-fault divorce is to protect children from fatherlessness as a result of their fathers’ poor selection strategies in the case of wives and mothers. What do you say to that, WK?

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    1. Ha ha, good point. But I want MORE people to get married and stay married and work out their problems. I think that no-fault divorce is basically a way of saying to people, “don’t be too careful about who you marry, because you can easily get out and get lots of goodies if you file first”. I don’t want people to be tempted to nuke their relationships at all. I think that getting rid of NFD would cause people to be more serious about courting because they would have to take responsibility for their choices more, and divorce would be reduced. Basically, I want people to see a commitment as a commitment no matter what, and be careful about their choice of spouse. I hope then that there will be less that goes wrong in a relationship at all!

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