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.