I get into a lot of trouble because I have this loooong list of questions that I pose to women during courtship in order to evaluate them for marriage, and to let them know how I want them to prepare for my plan for the marriage. Basically, my view of courting is that it is the time for the man to present his plan to serve God as a married couple, and where he wants to be effective, and how he wants to be effective, and where the woman fits into to his plan. The purpose of the pre-marriage courting is for me to explain all of this, and then the woman has the opportunity to first decide if she wants to help with that plan and then demonstrate that she can help with it. My job after laying out the plan is to make sure that she has all the tools she needs and lots of affection and tenderness, too. I am auditioning for the roles of protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. And she is auditioning for the roles of helper, motivator and nurturer.
Anyway, all of that is evil, if you ask any non-Christians and Christians today. The ladies in my workplace are always telling me that I am “too strict” and that I need to “lower my standards”. What they mean by this is that they resent me taking on the role of leader in the relationship and telling them what marriage to me will be about and what they need to be able to do to help. And they especially resent having to prove that they can do it. Men they’ve known in the past have been pacified with some earnest words of agreement, and maybe some hugs and kisses. But that doesn’t work on me. I want books to be read, and actions to be performed.
For example, I want public speeches defending marriage, presentations on abortion in church, apologetics book clubs, apologetics conference organizing, apologetics lectures and debates in the local university, economics degrees, law school degrees, and pro-family conservative political views. (These are all the things my current favorite lady and her predecessors have done / are doing). In short, if I am coming to the table with lots of evidence that I can do my roles, then I want to see evidence that she can do her roles. I call this view of courtship the wisdom view, and the popular alternative to it I call the fairy tale view.
The funniest thing is that right now I am working together with a woman who is very very high up in her profession. Manages dozens of people, has her own receptionist, wins lots of awards. Her job is incredibly stressful. But the funniest thing is that she is actually the easiest one of all to lead. And that’s because she is a good listener and she reads a ton of books and then independently designs and executes operations designed to move the ball forward on the things that I care about. She thinks my vision for serving God is good, and she knows how to get the job done, without being micromanaged. Here is a close-up of some flowers that I sent her recently to recognize her. She is also the least attention seeking female of the ones I know. She doesn’t want public recognition for what she does.
And with that said, let’s take a look at a quote about my favorite British author, Jane Austen, courtesy of Reformed Seth’s blog:
[Austen] was committed to the ideal of “intelligent love,” according to which the deepest and truest relationship that can exist between human beings is pedagogic. This relationship consists in the giving and receiving of knowledge about right conduct, in the formation of one person’s character by another, the acceptance of another’s guidance in one’s growth. The idea of a love based in pedagogy may seem quaint to some modern readers and repellent to others, but unquestionably it plays a decisive part in the power and charm of Jane Austen’s art. And if we attempt to explain the power and charm that the genre of the novel exercised in the nineteenth century, we must take full account of its pedagogic intention and of such love as a reader might feel was being directed towards him in the solicitude of the novel for his moral well-being, in its concern for the right course of his development.
– Lionel Trilling, Sincerity and Authenticity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 82.
There! I’m vindicated by someone who ought to know how these things work. When I was a young man, I read everything I could get my hands on from Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. It’s nice to know that I wasn’t misinterpreting what they were telling me, and that I’ve applied it well. Just because it’s not “cool” today, doesn’t mean it’s not right.
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