Pro-family conservatives are very passionate about making sure that children grow up with a mother and a father. Most say that both men and women need to do better to stop fatherlessness. But in practice, pro-family people direct their criticism towards men only, giving women a free pass. Let me explain why this approach is not likely to solve the problem of fatherlessness.
Pro-family conservatives typically target the man who had the recreational sex, and try to urge him to commit to the women after the woman gets pregnant. Why won’t this work? Well, it won’t work because the man who was selected by the woman clearly wanted sex more than he wanted commitment. That’s why he had sex first, instead of committing first. He was selected for sex without having to show any ability or desire to commit whatsoever. So, you can’t really go back to him and say “now you have to commit”. The time to get him to commit would be BEFORE he got what he wanted, and the only person in a position to make that happen was the woman.
So what about the woman? What did she want? She is probably hoping that the man she is choosing to have sex with will commit to her, because she has given him her body. The baby is there to make him more attached to her, since the baby has his genes. Unfortunately, this is not how men who value premarital sex actually work. Wanting premarital sex is a sign of wanting pleasure – not of wanting commitment. The reason why we need to talk to the woman is to tell her that she will not get what she wants by giving a man with no interest in commitment premarital sex. It doesn’t work. If you want a man to commit to you, then you have to choose a man who wants to commit, and then let him commit.
So, that’s why I recommend we approach the woman first. We don’t approach men, because they want sex, not commitment. We approach women, because they want commitment, and they don’t get it.
Now, how do pro-family conservatives respond to this? Well, they think that women should not be challenged to do anything differently at all. If you tell women to make wise choices, then you are shaming them, judging them, blaming them, etc.
But just think of some parallel cases, and see if you can see why it is not wrong to ask women to make better choices:
- If you invest your money instead of spending it on alcohol and cigarettes, then you can retire earlier.
- If you go to the gym 3 times a week, and eat healthier, you’ll live longer and be slimmer.
- If you study computer science instead of English, then you’ll be able to find a higher paying job more easily.
The goal in telling a woman these things is not to shame her, but to help her to get a good outcome by making better decisions. The world is the way the world is, and she won’t be able to get a good outcome from a bad decision.
Now here is another one:
If you make a marriage-ready man commit to you before you give him sex, then your children are more likely to have a father in the home.
Now look at that statement. It’s not shaming women at all. Everyone agrees that men who have recreational premarital sex should be avoided. We’re not blaming women – we’re trying to get a good outcome for them by telling them the truth so they can make a better decision.
All we are saying to women is this: 1) focus on marriage early, so you can use your youth and beauty to lock down the best man possible. 2) And make commitment your top priority when choosing a man. This is good advice for her, and for her children.
When we are giving good advice, it’s not our concern that people feel shamed, or that they don’t like us. Our goal is not to make them feel good, or to make us feel good. Our goal is to make the children have a father in the home. I am fine with being hated for now, so long as I get a good result in the end.
Women these days often complain that they want to get married but can’t find a good man. But what I have found is that these same women deliberately choose to spend their late teens and 20s pursuing relationships with good-looking, tall men who have no interest in marriage or family. What I would like is for pro-family people to tell women to focus on finding a good man who is willing to love her and commit to her when she still has her youth and beauty to attract a good man.
There is no point in standing by silent while women waste their teens and 20s on bad men, then expect the good men they passed over to marry them in their 30s. Those good men understand that they were not the first priority for these women, and that their willingness to commit will not get them any respect from women who ranked commitment LOW on their list of criteria for men.
Men have preferences about women and marriage. You can’t bully a man into marrying an older woman who had other things to do with her youth than investing in him. A man marries a woman when she makes him her top priority, and sacrifices her happiness in order to love him and build him up. The earlier she chooses him, the more he is loved, and the more time they have to build together. It’s not blaming women to decline a marriage with them, any more than it is blaming a house that you don’t want to buy. Men are people, too. And men get to decide whether marriage is good for them, based on the value of the marriage offer.
I want to end by talking a bit about myself. I am not white, and was raised by two poor immigrant parents in a non-Christian home. When I was in grade 5, I received a New Testament from the Gideons. I read it, and I was happy to get some guidance on moral issues, as well as learning how to put myself second and serve God. The more I put God’s agenda first, the less I made bad decisions. I studied hard to be able to get a good job so I could give to charity. I was debt-free and financially ready to marry in my early 20s. I was a good steward of my money, and contemptuous of alcohol, drugs and status-enhancing material things.
The end result of that was a long period of chastity and sobriety, during which I accumulated 950K in cash (so far), and a fully paid off house that I bought new valued at around 300K. The point of me saying this is clear – what works with people who need help is to tell them the way the world really works, and what decisions they can make to get out of the mess they started off with.
Everywhere you look today, people are TERRIFIED of telling people who look like me that the solution to their problems is to read the Bible and make God their Boss. Instead, Christians are being dragged into secular solutions to the problems I had: Marxism, destroy the family, single mother welfare, abortion, etc. They don’t want to offend people who look like me by telling us to make better choices.
Their motivation is the same as the pro-family people who don’t want to offend women. “Let’s tell them that the bad decisions they are making are actually good decisions, so they will like us. And when it blows up in their faces, we will just blame those people over there, and demand that they change”. No, the solution to problems is found in the choices we make.
Blaming white people would not have helped me to get where I needed to go. Why do we shy away from telling the women who freely choose bad boys and make babies with them that the solution to their problems is in their own hands? It’s because we want to feel good. We want them to like us. But Christians ought to understand that the best thing you can do for someone is offer them the Bible, and urge them to bring their actions inline with it. And the Bible clearly states that sex outside of marriage is wrong. If a woman takes that seriously, then any children she has will not be fatherless.
A while back, I was asked to mentor a young lady who was born in a divorced home. Her mother made her with her father, then her mother divorced her father. Then her mother married her stepfather who treated her very badly. She shacked up with an atheist and got pregnant, then killed her baby. The atheist dumped her. When she came to me, she was tired of her own decision-making, and wanted to learn how to make men like her without having to give them sex.
So, I put her on a learning plan of Christian apologetics, economics, science, history and philosophy. Today, she is married to her husband and has a son. She organizes apologetics conferences in her spare time. And the highlight of my life so far was that phone call from her where she explained how I was right about everything, and that now she understood why I had told her to make those better choices.
It was not easy. There were times where she chose more bad boyfriends – annoying unemployed students who were younger than her! – and she was mad when I didn’t approve of them. But she kept coming back for more advice whenever things failed. And in the end, she succeeded. Her husband loved her the moment he saw the books on her bookshelf. And today, her son has a father at home.