Lori Alexander is right: serious Christian men prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos

Marriage stability vs sexual partners,(Teachman et al. JAMF, August 2010)
Marriage stability vs sexual partners,(Teachman et al. JAMF, August 2010)

Christian writer Lori Alexander recently wrote a blog post (H/T Lindsay) urging Christian women to do 3 things:

  1. be a virgin before marriage
  2. be debt-free before marriage
  3. don’t get any tattoos

She also urged women to be cautious about college, because it often gets them into debt. I disagree with her a little here. I always urge young women to earn a STEM degree in college, then work a few years to pay off their loans (if any) before marrying. This is because women, like men, need to have the experience of doing something hard that they don’t “feel” like doing, in order to grow. STEM degrees teach young people that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and that their feelings don’t matter when trying to solve a problem in the real world. It’s a very useful way for women and men to break themselves out of the desire for free and easy happiness that is so common in our time.

Lori’s article drew enormous opposition from both secular and Christian sources. So far, the only people defending her are men’s rights sites, like Dalrock (Christian) and Spawny (non-Christian). Every other “Christian” blog or news site that I read disagreed her article, and argued that premarital sex was no big deal, that having debt was no big deal, and that having tattoos was no big deal.

Let’s take a look at her three points, then I’ll explain why her article is largely correct, and why she is correct about what she asserts about the criteria that godly men have for women.

Even one non-husband premarital sex partner raises risk of divorce
Even one non-husband premarital sex partner raises risk of divorce


Regarding her first point, virginity is commanded by the Bible, it’s in line with peer-reviewed studies on marriage quality and stability. The reason that people find this difficult is that they want the freedom to give in to sexual desires without feeling shame. They want to believe that there is no permanent effect. It doesn’t help that parents and pastors are terrified of telling young people, and young women in particular, that promiscuity harms marital stability. Right now, the culture is drowning in feminism. Feminism tells women that the traditional male roles of provider, protector, and spiritual leader are “sexist”. The “best” men are good-looking pro-abortion bad boys. If a Christian woman is not able to think through the meaning of sex with respect to marriage enough to control herself, it seriously harms the stability of her future marriage.

Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)
Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)


Regarding her second point, almost everything a serious Christian man might plan to do for Christ with his marriage is impacted by finances. From education, to marriage timing, to number of children, to home ownership, early investment, to the success of children. to age of retirement. Less money means fewer choices, and less ability to counter challenges. Think of how important money for legal defense is to Christian-owned businesses who are being persecuted, for example. The reason that many people find the Bible’s teaching on stewardship difficult is that they don’t want to exercise self-control with money if they don’t feel like it. They want to waste money seeking fun and thrills, and then act like their poverty could not be avoided. Being debt-free is an indicator of practical wisdom and self-control in a woman.

Hugh Hewitt's "In, But Not Of", Chapter 9: Tattoos, Don't
Chapter 9 of Hugh Hewitt’s “In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition”


Tattoos are a problem for serious Christian men for several reasons. First, they cost money and for no gain, and can even cause you losses in your career. Second, most people get them because of low self-esteem or vanity or to look rebellious or to look dangerous. None of these motivations should be acted upon by someone with a robust Christian worldview. The money could be better used on charity, or investments, etc. Women show what their priorities really are by how they spend their money and time. Show me a woman’s bookshelf, and I’ll tell you how seriously she has thought about what it means to be a Christian in all areas of life. Instead of showing me your tattoos to demonstrate your “spirituality”, show me your apologetics books, to demonstrate your intellectual engagement. And tell me how you used that information to engage in conversations with educated non-Christians to answer their challenges to your faith. That way I’ll know that you use your money to train do hard things in order to have an influence for Christ in serious, practical, effective ways. A woman who can defend her faith and discuss Christianity with non-Christians is demonstrating her ability to raise Christian children in a secular society.

A family praying and reading the Bible
A family praying and reading the Bible

The goal of marriage is to serve God

Today, young people have been taught to follow their hearts, and to deny that there is any authority or practical wisdom that should govern their decisions. They always imagine themselves to be exempt from moral rules, statistics, cause and effect, etc. They think they know better than everyone else – even though they do almost no research on their own. Every adviser who tells them to study computer science instead of creative writing is wrong. Their same-age friends know more about what causes divorces than peer-reviewed research papers. And money should be spent on skydiving and zip-lining, regardless of what financial experts like Dave Ramsey might say.

A woman who has made many mistakes cannot fix those mistakes with words. Rationalizations, evasions, and blame-shifting do not work to show that there has been real repentance. The man can only assess whether grace has caused any real re-prioritization of goals by evaluating her outward actions over a long period of time. Furthermore, if a woman who has made mistakes attacks those who correct her from Bible’s teachings on chastity, stewardship, etc., then it’s a sign that there is no real repentance.

Choosing a wife wisely doesn’t mean that Christian men treat OTHER Christian women poorly. Christian men love all the Christian women. We care for them and support them. But when a man chooses a wife, he is choosing someone who will have more influence on his ability to serve God than anyone else. In my case, the goals for my marriage involve making a difference with apologetics in the church, having many children who will receive the educations and careers they need to have an influence, influencing government to promote Christian-friendly policies, charitable giving, mentoring young Christians, modeling a good marriage to others, and having a home that can serve to host discussions about issues that matter. These things are not free – they take careful planning and execution to achieve.

Lori’s advice is  intended for men who are serious about making their marriage produce a return for God. Men who are chaste themselves. Men who accept the Bible as an authority. Men who earned STEM degrees, instead of easy nonsense degrees that don’t lead to good careers. Men who earn 6-figure salaries, who buy houses for cash, and who are on track have a 7-figure net worth by age 50. Men who made good decisions cannot risk marrying someone who hasn’t prepared for marriage. The wrong woman in the home could ruin the man’s effort to produce a marriage that gives glory to God.

Not every man intends to achieve something for God with his marriage, but those who do need to choose a woman who has demonstrated ability at doing the job. For example, if the job requires marital fidelity, then chastity is a good indicator that the woman has the necessary self-control. If the job requires frugality, and practicality, then being debt-free, having a STEM degree, and having some private sector work experience are good indicators that she’s qualified for the role. Nothing valuable in life is ever been achieved by being lazy, wild and irresponsible. Serious Christian men look for wives who have applied themselves to difficult tasks that they didn’t feel like doing, who achieved success by remaining committed to the plan, in spite of their unhappy feelings and unmet desires.

We have a problem in the church such that we aren’t serious about teaching young people to develop marriage-ready character and to make serious plans for marriage. We are teaching them to follow their hearts, and that their feelings and desires are clues about God’s will for their happiness. We are teaching them to be uncomfortable with responsibilities, expectations and obligations to others. We are teaching them not to do their own research. We are teaching them not to make practical, wise plans. We are teaching them to ATTACK those who try to get them to be serious about doing what is likely to work. This approach is not working.

My own criteria for a wife are more demanding than Lori’s. My advice there is only for serious Christian men who want their marriage to serve God.

41 thoughts on “Lori Alexander is right: serious Christian men prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos”

  1. WK,

    I think you set your standards too high if you’re serious about any potential wife knowing the answers to policy questions on such a wide range of subjects. I’ve been active in politics for over 20 years and I couldn’t answer all of your questions. But if you’re capable of maintaining the single lifestyle where you don’t burn for it, enjoy your single life.

    I also disagree with you on nothing has ever been achieved by being lazy. Laziness is a prime motivator behind a lot of the technological progress throughout history. You’ve likely heard the phrase “if necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the father.”


    1. My standards are high because I’m am chaste and wealthy. I’m not going to take on the risks of marriage without getting adequate value in return. And that value comes in part from women being self-controlled about chastity, debt and appearance. Naturally, loser men can lower their standards since they have less to offer, and less at risk.

      Regarding laziness, what matters is what the women can demonstrate through her past decisions. If she has multiple stem degrees, a gapless private sector resume, and is debt-free, then that shows a certain level of practicality that is attractive to me. I.e. – she can control herself enough to do what works in order to survive, and not just do whatever she feels like and end up 35 years old, promiscuous, covered in tattoos, and drowning in debt.


  2. Just FYI, Allie Stuckey wrote a good commentary on this. She disagrees with the tone of the article because it removes the emphasis from pleasing God and shifts it toward man. Allie very much recognizes the sin of extramarital sex, so she doesn’t soft-pedal the issue. I think this is a gentle reminder that disagreement with Lori Alexander doesn’t mean a person is not a Christian, and that there are other perspectives to be considered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think wooden fundamentalists are not going to be able to understand what Lori is saying. The issue isn’t what the Bible says. The issue is what strategy should a wise person use in order to achieve what the Bible says. And that’s where wise people will consult studies on how premarital sex affects marriage quality and stability. And studies on how outstanding debt affects divorce rates. There are studies on this, and conservative millennial won’t find them in the Bible. Nobody who takes a half-assed feelings-based approach to marriage likes to look at what studies say, but this is how you engineer a successful marriage. Read the studies, adjust your decision-making, achieve what the Bible says to achieve.
      Also, I couldnt care less about Christian who are offended by the tone of Lori’s article. And I think that’s the majority of Christian women. To me, it just goes to show the approach that women take to marriage. I’ll do whatever I want, however unwise, and some how it will work out – and if it doesn’t, how dare you judge me? Doing what feels good and not being judged for it is the sum total of most women’s understanding of how to approach marriage. But it’s not wise, and it’s not working for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christ’s forgiveness of her sins does NOT dictate my response to her.
        Christ’s forgiveness of her sins does NOT mean I must allow her to introduce the effects of those sins into my life. Nor does it mean I must accept those effects or consequences into my marriage.
        Christ’s forgiveness of her sins does NOT mean I must accept an inferior or barren marriage, because of her sexual hangups or issues or whatever else.


    2. That article is irrelevant. That article continues to insist that a man isn’t a “real” Christian unless he ignores his preferences for sexually attractive, pretty, nonfat women. If he judges her for having a tattoo or having had premarital sex, then he’s not a “real” Christian. If he rejects her because she had premarital sex, then he’s “bad” and he’s not a “real” Christian.

      It also implies, very strongly, that a man must forgive a woman for tattoos, debt and premarital sex. He must “ignore” all that, and love and accept her anyway. If he does not, then he’s a bad man and not a real Christian.

      It is not illegitimate, bad, wrong, sinful, or unChristian for a man to say “I don’t want a debt laden tattooed slut for marriage”. He can have whatever preferences he wants, and his having those preferences does NOT mean he is not a Christian.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You will be happy to know that my former Bible church is now teaching teenage girls on how to not be Jezebels and teenage boys on how to identify same and steer clear of them.

        This happened after their number 1 Bible verse memorizer became a stripper when she graduated high school. (I’m not joking.)

        I think our churches might be more lacking in Orthopraxy than Orthodoxy, bad as the latter might be.


        1. I’m not surprised. I have met examples of what two married Christian parents, multiple Christian private schools and Christian man-blaming pastors can produce. I am sometimes asked to mentor women who left the faith, and I have a good track record of turning those around, but it would be better if they never fell away in the first place.


          1. One of our deathscorts knows more hymns than we do. (Again, I am NOT joking.)
            She has a fine voice too!
            She says her parents hate what she is doing.
            But, you know something? If one of my children, Christian or not, was escorting babies to their deaths at a abortuary, I would more than hate what they were doing. I would be down there protesting my own flesh and blood. I would bring out the baby pictures to the pro-lifers and tell them how I didn’t raise her to be a tool of Satan.
            But, that is just me, I guess.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Right. I am seeing a lot of progressivism from young Evangelical men and women, and precious little concern from their parents, teachers and pastors.

            Listen. I did my job being chaste and a good provider. It’s not incumbent on me to also parent, teach and pastor Christian women. If the Evangelical conservative Christian wife-candidate production engine is not working, then the smart play for me is to disengage and find something else productive to do instead of marriage.


          3. You are not disengaging completely though.

            You are a voice in the wilderness on this blog anyway.

            Like me with abortion, you are doing the pastors’ jobs for them. What many of them will face in Judgment, I simply do not know. But, it does make me cringe.

            Speaking of which, I see the SBC has a new ped scandal?!?

            Liked by 1 person

          4. You’re right. I keep getting told that I need to work within the existing system, but that can be dangerous. I have had situations where where simply suggesting that people learn basic Christian apologetics was met with a dangerous response from church leaders. Rather than me investing my time climbing a church hierarchy populated by people who are inclined to oppose me, I have chosen to work on the outside with an alias, so neither foe nor “friend” can lay a finger on me. And that’s how it’s going to be.


    3. A woman may very well be repentant and working to live a God honoring life after having lived in rebellion.
      Her repentance does not necessarily mean that she is fit for marriage.
      Her repentance does not necessarily mean she is fit for marriage to this or that particular man.
      Her repentance does not necessarily mean she meets men’s standards.
      It is as if these Christian women are saying the moment you accept Christ and at least try to live it out, you are to be viewed as the most sexually attractive best marriage material woman in the entire world. It is as if these women are saying that “I’m a christian, therefore, my marriage market value is 55 on a scale of 1 to 10 and you are REQUIRED to marry me now.”
      They’re arguing that acceptance of Christ entitles you to marriage to the man of your choice. Acceptance of CHrist immunizes and insulates you from men judging your sexual attractiveness and overall fitness. The ONLY permissible standard a man is allowed to have is: “Is she a Christian woman?” and if the answer is “yes”, then men are not allowed to judge her on any other criteria whatsoever.
      Well, no. That’s not how it works.
      Acceptance of Christ justifies you to Him. It does NOT justify you to me for the purposes of sex, dating, mating, and marriage.
      Acceptance of Christ brings salvation. It does NOT guarantee you that attractive eligible men will want you for marriage.
      Christ’s acceptance of you for heaven does NOT mean I have to accept you for marriage.
      I am entitled to have whatever standards I want for a wife. And you have to either meet them, or find some other man whose standards you do meet. You are NOT entitled to dictate to me what my standards will be.
      Period. End of discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, this is spot on, WK.

    I would add body piercings to the list. (Of course, earrings are technically body piercings, so…) There is a lot of information out there as to why pierced and tatted women are broken. We are ALL broken, of course, but some of us go out of our way to rebel against God and break ourselves even more.

    I”ll just say it: I saw a Mom and her 20-something daughter once who both were 40 pounds overweight, had pink hair, tats, and multiple piercings, including in the lips. Real men will see that as nothing more than walking freak shows. Jesus died for them too, but that doesn’t mean He loves their behavior.

    Obviously, being passionately pro-life and committed to homeschooling (especially in this day and age where sending your kids to public school is a form of spiritual child abuse) would be on my list. And I think many secularists fall into this camp also. At the very least, a recognition of the dangers of Leftist ideology should be front and center. Lady of Reason also talks on her site what it means to be a REAL woman, and she is secular, but her standards are more Biblical than most Christians, I think.

    The one place I might be open to differ with you, WK, and agree with Lori, is that if the woman is strongly committed to homeschooling but still appreciative and supportive of your STEM work, I don’t think she has to have a degree. There is a lot of information out that that shows that more degrees does not a better homeschool Mom make. She can be wise and not have a degree. We both know that higher education and wisdom do not correlate well and often are inversely related.

    BTW, the Church is so feminized because the leaders of the Church are feminized, and I mean the male ones as well as the female ones. If the pastors and priests ever started talking about Hell, abortion, gay “marriage,” and divorce from the pulpit, and apologetics would be the icing on the cake, that would drive the feminists out. But the leaders can’t do that, because most pastors and priests are girly men. Some are pedophiles too, more than we know or care to believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the anger at the notion that men have a right to have standards when choosing a wife tells what sone women really think about marriage: that it’s all about them and their happiness, and the man has no agency, no feelings, and no leadership role to be respected.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m not a misogynist. The five people who have the most “oversight” over my decision-makibg are all women with STEM degrees. Some work, some are homeschooling moms. Some are single, some are married. But they are all wise, and none of them want to bully me into marriage with someone whose life choices are unwise according to ehat the peer-reviewed studies SAY is unwise.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. “Lady of Reason also talks on her site what it means to be a REAL woman, and she is secular, but her standards are more Biblical than most Christians, I think.”

      I agree that her standards seem to be more Christian than those of most Christian  women today. The church has failed miserably in this regard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The men in the churches are terrified to tell women the truth, so that they will succeed.

        I counseled a new Christian woman who was just coming off an abortion after cohabitating with an atheist. She became a Christian afterwards. She would always tell me how everyone had lied to her, and she was sick and tired of being lied to, because people wanted to be liked. She would just tell me “just tell me the truth, tell me the truth”.

        I didn’t think much of it, until I started mentoring g another girl who dumped her Christianity in college, went wild and cohabitated with an atheist, then left atheism for Christianity again. Same think “just tell me the truth, tell me the truth”.

        Both women are married to Christian men now, and they have one baby each. I told them the truth. Which is more than the man-blamers in church were doing for them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No sin of others was too big for me to affirm in my atheist years.

          Except for abortion.

          The Church confuses being nice with being kind.

          Nice is telling people what they WANT to hear.

          Kind is telling people what they NEED to hear, even if they hate you for it. (Like they hated Jesus.)

          Liked by 2 people

          1. There is forgiveness in Christ Jesus for the sin of abortion, even for those who claim Christ, as many do, when they have the abortion.


  4. Too bad most women consider advice from an older/experienced woman to be sent from a position of bitterness/jealousy instead of wisdom/concern. I try to explain to folks in my life that there is a lower value for the tattoo laden green hairs that have gotten around. Guys learn to sense innocence.


    1. An innocence is interpretated by good men as “trust”, which is important for leading.

      Although I do think that men should demonstrate their ability to achieve things they set out to achieve, I find that women who trust men will respect those achievements, and women who lack trust will disrespect those achievements.

      So, I’ve been told by an untrusting woman who was in debt that I couldn’t be trusted to make financial decisions. My investment portfolio is worth 500 K, but she didn’t want me making the financial decisions. That’s what men avoid when looking for a wife.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Priests in the Bible weren’t allowed to marry harlots or divorced women or non-Jewish women. There were standards. As the priesthood of God, it should not be a surprise that there are standards for a bride if you want to serve God. Not that standards are popular right now, but we’ve taken compassion for “mistakes” and turned it into a full time apology for bad behavior.


  6. I know this sounds awful :D but most moms I know who have kids that got a STEM degree, included myself, just aren’t using it anymore. Maybe most of us will go back? But sometimes it does seem like it was a huge waste of money/debt… granted the knowledge is usually still very useful and used.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL can’t tell if that’s supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing!! We really don’t argue much, but having education does help discuss things or talk to each other about goals and plans.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re doing what is best for your marriage and what your husband wants you to do, then it’s fine.

      If after consultation with your husband, it is best for your marriage to go to school, then do that.

      If after consultation with your husband, it is best for your marriage for you not to go to school, then do that.

      If after consultation, it is best for you to work, then do that. If it is best for you not to work, then do that. If it is best for you to return to work after not working, then do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I guess my only comment is on “my own criteria for a wife”.
    I am looking at this from my point of view knowing we are completely different people, that our experiences, knowledge and life are nothing the same. I don’t expect them to be. So here I go: I guess I am interested in how life will turn out for you if or when God brings a person in your life. When I read your criteria, I was overwhelmed, but maybe there is someone out there who thinks in a similar way that wont mind all those intellectual question. I guess from what I experienced, God actually put someone in my life that didn’t fit my mold. I had standards that were met and the most important one of being a Christ follower, but they had a past. It’s because of my faith in Christ that I married this person. Of course I am not tossing aside my standards, but love does cover a multitude of sins. So I just ponder how this perspective is going to shape the relationship you would have, and with who. One thing I see whether or not you intended to come across this way- is that you expect a certain outcome of your marriage due to the steadfastness of your own choice and that of your future mate. I almost translate it as formulaic. 2+2 will always be 4. While I do think standards are important, that research does support what choices can lead to a better and healthier marriage life can still throw curveballs and statistics and research can help guide through possible better outcomes. If you hold such a high expectation in your mate, I can only imagine the expectations you place on yourself. I guess I wonder how you encounter the fallen nature in yourself as well as the fallen nature that will be in the mate of your choice, regardless of the lack of sex the may have, the STEM degree they earned, or being debt free. I don’t know you and I am sure you have your reasons for the way you have thought about this topic. My only opinion is that I find it very rigid and disqualifying with a lack of grace and love. It is very intellectual. Though intelligence is good and not bad, there are many ways you can still find your answers other than the questions you mentioned and the answers you expect to those questions. Plus it seems more like an interview than a relationship which I find curious. Anyway. God is good and we each have our own journey. God Bless.


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