Are men allowed to have preferences about which women are best for marriage?

Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her
Telling a woman how to make wise decisions protects her

So, in my last post, I explained why men have to be careful about choosing a wife. Men have plans and they need a woman with the right skills to achieve it. Even if a woman genuinely repents her past, she may not have developed the skills for a godly man’s marriage plan. For example, her 50K of student loans makes it harder to afford a stay-at-home homeschooling mother.

But many Christian women feel that there is no such thing as a Christian woman who is a bad candidate for marriage. It doesn’t matter what a Christian woman did in the past, a man should not be allowed to evaluate her skills for the roles of wife and mother. After all, if God forgives a Christian woman for running up student loan debt for a useless women’s studies degree, or for getting drunk and sleeping around with hawt bad boys in college, then no Christian man should hold it against her. Men are obligated to disregard the past anti-marriage decisions made by women. To do anything else is to deny the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So many Christian women say.

What would happen if the shoe were on the other foot? What if it were the MAN who had been selfish, lazy and irresponsible? What if the MAN had made choices that seriously harmed his ability to perform male marriage roles like protecting and providing for his wife and children? Would marriage-ready women be obligated to marry this man as much as a man who had remained chaste, got a good education, built up a gapless resume, saved enough for a downpayment on a house, and taught apologetics in his home church? Is she allowed to prefer a man who has made good decisions to prepare for his marriage roles over a man who has made horrible decisions, but just hollers “grace” when anyone questions his ability to be a husband and father?

This MUST-READ article from The Federalist asks and answers that question. (H/T Lindsay)

Do you agree with the author?

I think it’s time for a conversation about another elephant in the room: this idea that women prefer physically fit men with good jobs and no criminal record. It’s incredibly sexist and matriarchal to insist that women have a natural preference for men who have invested time and energy into stewarding their bodies, have shown the capability of earning a living and supporting a family, and have not gone to jail for attempting to grow 452 marijuana plants in their mother’s basement.

I know more than a few men who spent their twenties languishing in their parents’ homes, subsisting on Cheetos and Mountain Dew, playing Xbox, watching pornography, and smoking controlled substances. If one of these men turns his life around, accepts Jesus, and starts fresh, young women have no right to overlook him as a potential mate just because he is 280 pounds, has almost no marketable skills at 30 years old, and cannot vote, serve on a jury, or own a firearm. He is created in the image of God, and accepted by Jesus! Any women who would overlook every other noble quality he possesses for basic financial security and a clean background check (not to mention browsing history) isn’t a woman he should want.

Men like this have often long since repented of their listless and slothful ways. If the lingering consequences of their pasts didn’t stop Christ from living and dying for them, then it shouldn’t stop a Christian woman from loving them, either. Period.

The Federalist article makes it clear that a man’s poor choices about his education, job, obedience to the law, and physical fitness CLEARLY compromise his ability to perform his male duties to protect and provide. What about moral and spiritual leading? Well if he didn’t spent his teens and 20s studying  apologetics, moral issues, etc. then he isn’t going to compare favorably to a man who teaches apologetics in his church, debates atheists, and writes blog posts for the Life Training Institute.

My friend Lee is a superb stay-at-home wife and mother. She says that we shouldn’t accept “Jesus forgives me” as an immediate reversal of past harmful choices:

I would note that there is a difference between just being forgiven of sin and actually repenting of it. Repenting is a turning away from and will manifest in changes; paying down debts, becoming chaste, becoming otherwise responsible and wise. Someone’s past doesn’t have to define their future. But that will manifest in observable and measurable changes.

She’s right.

I knew a Christian woman who had 25,000 worth of student loan debt when she was 29. She wasn’t using her degree, she was just working as a waitress. I found her a job as an IT project manager in an FT100 company, so she could pay off her loans. She declined, because “being a waitress is the easiest job I’ve ever had”. She hasn’t worked full-time as a professional since January 2013. She’ll say “Jesus forgives me!” and “I hate my student loans!”, but the loans are even larger now, and the wasteful spending on fun and thrills hasn’t stopped. Hollering “grace” and saying you hate debt doesn’t make you a good steward. She’s not ready to manage the finances of a household. If she had taken the job, and paid off the loans, then she would have overcome the mistake, and become marriage-ready.

So what’s really behind the hysteria against men evaluating women for marriage?

Deti nails the real root problem:

Not one person – NOT ONE PERSON – said that nonvirgins with tattoos and debt are bad people; that they are irredeemable, that they’re bad Christians; that they cannot be Christians; that they’re unsalvageable; that they’re ugly; or that they couldn’t and shouldn’t marry. That is NOT what was said.

All that was said was that men prefer tattooless, debtfree virgins for marriage. That’s all.

[…]The bible… teaches repentance is the way to salvation. But repentance does not mean you no longer bear the scars of your past sins in body and mind. You do. Oh yes you do. The effects can be minimized, even overcome. But they’re still there.

And more to the point, what’s really being complained about here is a Christian woman acknowledging that men have preferences and that men are entitled to have preferences. If women want men, then they have to satisfy those preferences or lower their standards until they find men whose preferences they can satisfy.

This can’t be overemphasized – it’s the idea that men have preferences. Its’ the idea that there’s a man that’s one-half of that relationship, and there are things HE wants, and HE needs, and HE desires. Why does it matter what HE wants? Why do we care about him?

Men don’t want to marry high N women. Men don’t want to take on debt and they don’t prefer markedup tatted up women who look and act like men.

What this gets down to is women objecting to men having standards. Because that leads to men judging women. And that leads to men evaluating women. And that leads to men rejecting some women and accepting others. And women hate judgment and rejection, especially when it’s “less than” men who are doing the judging and rejecting.

One of my editors (Mary) didn’t think that some readers would know what N means. N refers to the number of sexual partners a person has had.

The reason we discuss best practices for marriage-minded women is so that young women, especially young women who lack a father in the home because of the irresponsible and selfish choices of their mothers, can get some kind of guidance about how to resist the culture’s lies about men, sex and marriage. Such a woman has NOWHERE TO GO in this culture in order to learn how to relate to men, and how to marry to a man who will love her faithfully and forever. That’s not fair! We have to help her!

What Christian men are doing by promoting chastity, sobriety, good stewardship and self-control to these young women is protecting them from a culture that lies to them. The well-meaning Christian women who think that talking about moral boundaries and wisdom will hurt the feelings of women who have made mistakes are actually making it harder for young women who have no guidance at all. The most vulnerable ones are the ones who need to hear that chastity is wise. Doing a STEM degree is wise. Getting out of debt by spending less is wise. Not seeking attention with graffiti on your body is wise. That’s what unmarried women need to hear.

It’s amazing to me that so many Christians do not understand the protective value of recommending Biblical morality and Biblical wisdom to young women. They would rather sacrifice these young women to the secular culture than allow older women to feel bad about their past decisions. So many Christians seem to be more concerned about their own feelings than about promoting and defending what the Bible teaches to young people who really need help.

30 thoughts on “Are men allowed to have preferences about which women are best for marriage?”

    1. They’re also deliberately misrepresenting it chiefly because it illuminates their most deeply-held beliefs that women be ‘free’ to indulge themselves in bad choices and selfish behaviors, and not be held accountable nor responsible for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. you said it better than I did.

        They also don’t like the fact that it’s ordinary beta guys and perceived “low value” men doing the judging. Because to them, those “less than” guys don’t get to judge or evaluate. They have to just shut up and take whatever table scraps and leftovers women are willing to throw them, and be happy with it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ve encountered discomfort with the idea of the man having any sort of set goals for the marriage, as well. Fixed goals implies that there will be a structure for the marriage. About half the women I’ve pursued who were more emotional thought that it was a bad idea to have fixed goals and a structure (defined by me as the leader). What was better, they thought, was that the relationship be guided by “the will of God” moment-by-moment. When I asked how they knew what the will of God was, they said “my feelings”. Of course.

          Now if the feelings had led to real achievements, like chastity, a STEM degree, lots of savings, an apologetics ministry, then by all means. These feelings are working to make a difference. But if the feelings are leading to years of shacking up with an atheist, traveling to Europe on borrowed money, thrill seeking behaviors despite 25,000 in student loan debt, a gap-filled resume of minimum wage jobs, then surely the man is justified in saying “maybe my goals are a better plan for the marriage than your feelings”.

          You know, it’s OK to let a man who has demonstrated ability and achievements in areas like chastity, education, career, finances, ministry, etc. LEAD. The woman doesn’t have to be constantly overriding the execution of a plan because of feelings. What’s the point of a woman even having a husband if she didn’t choose one who she trusts to set the overall plan for the marriage and keep things on track?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. “What was better, they thought, was that the relationship be guided by “the will of God” moment-by-moment. Of course.”

            That is one of the funniest things I’ve read in awhile. It’s also one of the saddest. That’s little more than hedonism, though I doubt they’d recognize it as such.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. In my opinion, the biblical doctrine of grace has by and large devolved into a license to sin. In fact, preaching against sin(s) has fallen on hard times. The result is a spiritually lazy body plagued by the various lusts of the flesh that rob life of spiritual vitality and real direction for self-denying discipleship. This false teaching has spilled over to nearly everything being willy-nilly and scoffing at standards of any kind in the name of being nonjudgmental.I’m glad that the people crying foul at men having standards have no authority over me and are safely ignored.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Last Sunday, I was teaching kids about David and Bathsheba. David messed up BADLY. Then, when Nathan confronted him, he repented sincerely. And God forgave him. But there were still serious consequence. His first child by Bathsheba died. And later his sons end up acting out really badly too. Absalom was a mess. And his dad was too soft on him because he felt he lacked moral authority because of his own mess up. Real world consequences. It’s in the Bible.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I think lot stems from radical feminism, and the double standard of how women are supposed to be immune from any criticism of their life choices and past, yet they feel free to judge men as harshly as the please! Any man after a virtuous young woman who is chaste and devoted to family and not out sleeping around to be “liberated” from the patriarchy is branded a misogynist! Yet, a woman demanding a morally upright steady man is seen as her right, not a privilege to be earned herself. The value of stable relationships and solid life long marriages are giving way to the “I can do whatever feels good in the moment consequence free”society we’ve bred up. I consider myself lucky to have been raised in a family with mom and dad happily married, and both sets of grandparents married for life as well. What a shame many young people view relationships as flings than life long commitments.
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 5 people

  4. The Christofeminists and others complaining about Lori’s piece need to SHUT UP until they address the question of men having preferences in the women they date, have sex with and marry, and the ability to express those preferences and select based on those preferences.

    The bottom line here is that women strenuously object to men using any criteria for evaluating and selecting women that women don’t like. They don’t want men choosing their own selection criteria. They want to impose criteria on men and tell men “these are the things you can judge us on, and these things you cannot judge us on.”

    Women want to arrogate to themselves the right to dictate to men what men should want and prefer and find attractive.

    Well, no. Women do not get to do that.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. sInce I know there are certain Christofeminists reading this blog and fisking the comments elsewhere, I’ll say it again here.

    Ladies: SHUT UP. Take a step back and get some perspective.

    Here’s what happened. Men said

    “Men prefer virgins with no tattoos and no debt for marriage”

    and you heard

    “If you are a debt laden tatted up nonvirgin, you are a horrible person who deserves never ever ever to get married and you are a terrible Christian condemned to hell and a lonely solitary life.”

    And the reasons you heard that were because (a) you do not like men getting to make their own decisions about who they will date, have sex with, and marry; and (b) you’re getting convicted over your own past conduct.

    DO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD until you answer these questions

    1) Do you have a problem with men having their own standards for the women they date, have sex with, and marry? Yes or no?

    2) If so, why? What problem do you have with that?

    3) Do you accept that men have the absolute right to decide what criteria they judge you on for marriage, relationships and sex? If not, why not?

    4) Do you accept that you DO NOT get to decide what criteria they judge you on for marriage, relationships and sex? If you believe you have that right, what makes you believe this?

    5)Isn’t this really about you being angry that you don’t get to decide what preferences men have for the women they have sex with, date and marry? Isn’t this hysterical reaction from you just your raging that men, not you, get to decide this?

    5) Isn’t this reaction really about you all feeling some guilt about your own promiscuous histories?

    This, ladies, is about men judging and evaluating you, and not being in control over how you are judged and evaluated.

    Right?

    Liked by 4 people

  6. When my now husband was getting to the last year of graduate school and thinking about marriage, I was a debt free virgin without tattoos. He invited all of his Christian friends from undergraduate to come up for a weekend (and tell him what they thought about me as a marriage candidate before he asked me out). He later said that my involvement in the local church was a major factor in his interest. I’d guess that being known to be a good cook probably helped also.

    Serious people have standards for serious decisions. He made it clear from the beginning that he was interested in marriage and that he was in a position to support a wife and family (professional society annual salary survey statistics). Ideas have consequences (worldview), and actions have consequences. Any young woman who thinks that a young man is going to think she is a good choice for a lifelong commitment when she is by all evidence irresponsible is clearly not thinking it through well (or has never been taught how to think it through well).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Serious people have standards for serious decisions. He made it clear from the beginning that he was interested in marriage and that he was in a position to support a wife and family (professional society annual salary survey statistics). Ideas have consequences (worldview), and actions have consequences. Any young woman who thinks that a young man is going to think she is a good choice for a lifelong commitment when she is by all evidence irresponsible is clearly not thinking it through well (or has never been taught how to think it through well).”

      See, you didn’t run away from a man who made his intentions and criteria and goals known to you. This is just not common in my experience – most of the time I feel pressured to be “fun” instead of communicating and evaluating like a serious person would. But what your husband did is how it should be. The man shouldn’t be trying to trick you into anything before marriage. His goal should be marriage, and his appeal to get you as his partner and companion ought to be based on your demonstrated abilities. Falling in love is easy. It’s getting a life partner who works well with you to achieve things that’s hard. I think if people make the relationship about the enterprise of MARRIAGE, then they will get FUN for free.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I recall fairly recently having a fairly uncomfortable but important conversation with the fatherless daughter of a friend of mine. I explained to her that guys will treat you much differently when they know you’re a virgin than when they believe otherwise. A big reason is that if you’re NOT a virgin, and not progressing in sexual access with him at a culturally normal rate or a rate common to your previous relationships, it is very reasonable for him to infer that you’re not really into him, or at least not as into him as you were in your previous relationships. On the other hand, if he knows you’re a virgin, you being demure isn’t going to necessarily trigger that chain of reasoning. Not many guys, especially the guys with options that you want for marriage, are going to buy the whole secondary virginity line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A friend of mine was once pursuing a girl for marriage and they were both behaving like gatekeepers and trying to get to know each other. She gave him the secondary virginity line. I found out after they broke up that she was sexually active with her current boyfriend (a penniless non-STEM student, younger than her). So, just something to look out for.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, nobody with options is going to buy that line, even in the vanishingly rare instances where it is actually true. I married a tattoo free virgin with no debt other than a mortgage (no student loans, auto or CC debt), so I mostly illustrate the original poster’s point. A wife suitable for homeschooling the three children I wanted to have was a prime consideration.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You know, from reading the comments from men, it sounds to me like there are lot of Christian men who are virgins with good degrees. And this is apparently a big shock to Christian feminists but the reason we get married is NOT for feelings. We don’t marry for happy. If we marry, it’s because we have a pretty definite idea of something that we’re trying to achieve and we pick the woman for that reason – to help achieve it. I get the impression from the Christian feminist bloggers that they are completely uninterested in a man’s plan for his marriage. Instead, they’re thinking “if I want to get married, you have to marry me, and nothing I’ve done in the past should matter because I have decided you will marry me”. A man with a plan does not marry to rescue a woman who made poor decisions. He marries the right woman for his plan. The men I’m friends with seem to think take seriously the idea that the marriage was supposed to serve God. I also hear them talking about wanting a good mother for their children. Some of them didn’t have that, and they wanted to see a good mother raise their children. These are all good things, and that’s probably why men are so careful about choosing the right woman for the job.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Fellow tattoo-free, debt-free … uh, now married former virgin reporting in!

            I usually highly suggest that people subjugate their feeling to faith and to intellect.

            You know that Sigmund Freud actually (indirectly) exegeted Genesis 4 once? Actually, it’s Genesis 4:6-7b:
            “Why are you angry,
            and why has your face fallen?
            If you do well,
            shall it not be lifted up?”
            https://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0104.htm

            In this text, Cain is bit huffy since his sacrifice wasn’t accepted. And the LORD tells him to do the right thing (verse 7) and right actions lead to right feelings. (Courtesy my retired senior pastor, who also taught on Theology of the Pentateuch at the local seminary.)

            The LORD didn’t say something like, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”

            It’s very clear this is what God is teaching: Do the right thing. Your feelings will follow. Maybe Freud got this from his family’s Jewish background.

            I also can subjugate my feelings to faith and to intellect. Guess what? I didn’t get married of just warm fuzzies or “I had the uncontrollable hots” for some woman.

            I do have feelings, like I lose all interest in pursuing any woman who demonstrates number of undesirable characteristics or behaviors.

            I can CHOOSE not to pursue/be in a relationship with a non-Christian woman.

            I can CHOOSE not to pursue/be in a relationship with a Christian woman who has dubious characteristics or behaviors. (God gave me a brain.)

            The less time I spent with such woman, the less I’m going to “develop feelings.” I spend very little time obsessing, “Oh what did she mean by (whatever).”

            I can CHOOSE that I spend time thinking about my wife, what she likes and wants. I’m not always feeling loving towards my wife but do the right thing, the feelings will follow.

            Likewise (I realized I forgot to mention this in a comment), I might consider this a bit “selfish,” but even when offered to have sex or “assist some friend in losing her V-card” and that I declined, this was because I knew that sex has a bonding or pair-bonding effect. (Women often say that they can’t just be FWB or that if they sleep with a friend, they end up falling for him.) I did not want some woman who was not my wife bonded to me.

            See for instance: https://www.reddit.com/r/asktrp/comments/6px01x/why_does_a_high_female_ncount_damage_pair_bonding/

            (non-G rated comments removed):
            “It has to do with the affect of frequent, casual sex on a woman’s oxytocin receptors.

            The hormone oxytocin, which is produced during sex, increases levels of empathy and bonding. Women produce more oxytocin during sex than men, which means they are more likely to let their guard down and fall in love with a man after sex.

            Oxytocin receptors in the central nervous system regulate the affect of oxytocin on emotions. Oxytocin is like a drug. A woman’s first experience with post coital release of oxytocin has a powerful, lasting impact. Anyone who has bedded a virgin or very low N count girl can attest to this. She will attach to you like a barnacle to a ship.

            Like drug addicts, a high N count woman will need more and more sex to get a satisfactory oxytocin high and at some point her receptors will burn out and she’ll likely never be able to experience the post coital warm and fuzzies that bond her to her partner.”

            See, God’s commands also are for my benefit!

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Sadly, the truth is that when the shoe is on the other foot, a LOT of women, including Christian women sadly, would STILL go for the bad boy, despite his irresponsible past and present.

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    1. I know several men who married tattoo-free virgins, including myself. None were virgins themselves, nor was that an issue really. Even women who are virgins don’t seem to prefer their men be virgins also (prefer in the revealed preference sense as opposed to what they say). Men aren’t women and women aren’t men.

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      1. Well, the Bible is an authority for me and that command about no sex outside of marriage doesn’t say it’s only for women.

        It’s much easier for me to lead women if I am not trying to get anything from them, and they don’t have anything that I want so badly.
        If a woman likes me, there are plenty of ways for her to show it that don’t tip the balance of power.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sure, but if you were irresponsible in the ways that Christian men are called to be responsible, then you just confirmed my comment, and your wife was a fool to marry you. No offense intended.

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    2. I am a Christian woman in a serious relationship with a Christian man. He also happens to be a debt-free tattooless virgin and I really like that about him–especially the fact that he is chaste. It gives me a high level of trust in his ability to be faithful to me. So, it may be true of some or even many Christian women that they prefer the bad boy, but not this one.

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      1. Either the person understands that sex is something that married couples do in the context of a covenant marriage, or they don’t. The only way to tell is by their demonstrated ability to control themselves.

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  9. The ludicrous idea that men should not have preferences for wives is just one facet of the greater obsession the church has with the subjugation, if not outright castration, of men. It starts when they’re boys; putting down any desires to be competitive, physical, anything masculine. When they hit puberty they get beaten over the head with concepts like Chasity and fed lies like ‘godliness is sexy’. This just results in them going through high-school and college/ university not becoming that they were meant to be, having to deal with natural sexual urges without any means of release (which will most likely lead to pornography as a means of taking the pressure off). They are expected to work hard, start a good career and everything else by themselves. At the one point in their lives when a wife would be appreciated most they are denied one. Meanwhile women aren’t held to any expectations and largely do whatever they want, including sleeping with Non-Christians.

    When the man eventually gets an opportunity to marry he’s denied his right to have preferences for his wife and yet still expected to ‘pursue her’ while she does nothing. He will be denied authority, respect and in most cases sex if he does marry and if his marriage goes badly or his wife divorces him then he will get the blame. It’s subjugation, plain and simple; man puts up with all the effort, sacrifices and responsibility while the woman does nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My only problem with the original post is the author’s ignorance of modern monetary practice. We have already paid for the student loans with open market operations, which is inflationary. What I **do not** understand is the objections others have made to the virginity and tattoolessness requirements.

    The prevalence of “Christofeminists” is a problem for me as a young Christian bachelor. If so many women hold beliefs that could undermine the foundation for a stable marital relationship, why should I even expect that “God has a special someone planned for me”? But then I think of Frank Knight’s line: “To say that a situation is hopeless is to say it is optimal.”

    Onward, Christian soldiers!

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