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How to communicate requirements to a Christian woman during courtship

Most of you know that what I do for a living is software engineering. I have dual degrees in computer science, and my Masters was focused on software design. So I always approach these relationship problems from an engineering perspective.

I think that at the beginning of any software development project, the most important thing to do is to talk to the customer and to decide what the software is supposed to do. The customer for the relationship is God. He is the one who will be deciding if the relationship is any good or not. My impression of God is that he has lots of requirements for marriage. First, each person in the marriage should have a relationship with Jesus. Second, each person in the relationship should treat one another in a special way. Third, the marriage itself should accomplish certain things in the world.

The requirement that each person have a relationship with Jesus prior to and during the marriage is important, because it is out of this relationship that the people first relate to each other, then to the children, then to their extended families, and then to the world.

I think that it’s the man’s job to take these goals from the customer (God) and to derive a set of requirements for the woman, so that he can communicate his understanding of these goals to her and the relationship can move along more efficiently and effectively. (Obviously these things apply in the reverse as well, but I am writing from the man’s point of view for this entire post, to emphasize the man’s role in leading the relationship)

Here are a few of my requirements just for illustration. Other men will have different requirements, depending on their plan.

  • understands how capitalism relates to marriage/parenting, e.g. – school choice
  • understands how men function as husbands and fathers
  • understands how marriages work and why they succeed or fail
  • can defend belief in Christian theism with arguments and evidence
  • can defend socially conservative positions on abortion and marriage, etc.
  • can answer objections to Christian theism like evil and religious pluralism
  • can stand her ground in the face of incoming criticism and disagreement
  • can shepherd the children through schools and on to graduate degrees

I think that in general, relationships are about the man measuring a woman for marriage/parenting requirements based on current performance and future potential. I think the worst thing for women is to not know where the relationship is going. It would help her if the man can communicate his requirements to her. If she is interested in the man, then she can show him what she can do now, and what she is interested in learning about so that she can build up her capabilities for later. The requirements are tailored to the man’s specific plan for the marriage.

For example, take the requirement to understand how fiscal conservatism enables liberty. Suppose you meet a woman who is a Christian, but has socialist views. You are concerned that she will vote to tax away the family’s money for wasteful government programs. Instead of just glossing over these problems and leading her on because she is pretty, you need to tell her right away where you think she is wrong. I like to give women something to read so that they can learn on their own, then come back and discuss it. That’s how you make progress.

And I think this helps to develop a way to resolve conflicts, too. If I disagree with her, then I give her something to read, and then I try to be extra nice and help her with other things to give her time to read. If she is feeling hurt from a previous bad experience, then I will have to address that, too. The goal is to build her up to be a solid wife and mother. If she is not willing to read anything to grow, then that is important for me to know right away. I think that a man needs to prefer a woman who is open-minded and interested in learning on her own and forming true beliefs about the world.

Now what does this buy the woman? Well, if you gloss over requirements, and only talk about surface things, (e.g. – her appearance), during the courtship, then she knows that there will come a time when you won’t like her any more, because beauty fades! What you are really saying to her when you talk about her appearance is that this is what is most important to you. But how can any woman be as pretty as she was in her youth as time passes? She can never feel safe if the standard is beauty. She knows that this relationship is unstable and has no future.

Instead, I try to give women control of the relationship by giving them a choice. I give her a few small things to do that are related to marriage and parenting. This would include apologetics, theology, economics, etc. What does that say to her? It says to her that she is in control of the relationship, and that I need her. All she has to do to keep me from leaving is to keep trying to learn about marriage and parenting, and to keep trying to work at marriage and parenting as well as she can. And stating those things up front attracts the right kind of woman anyway – the kind that wants to help.

What you are really doing in the courtship is communicating to her what really matters to you about her. If you hand her books to read about why divorce harms children, then she understands that you want children, but you don’t want a divorce. And she understands that you are going to exclude other women who don’t want children, and who do not understand what divorce does to children. That’s the kind of thing that indicates to her that you have a long-term relationship plan, so that she knows that you will still like her more than other women, even after her beauty fades.

I also found that it helps women to have a sense of security when she knows what the man considers to be a deal-breaker. I like to clearly set out for her what I do not want in a relationship. What I’m trying to do is avoid the situation where she cannot feel secure because she doesn’t know what makes her different and special. I like to tell her what it is that makes her different and special, with specific details. And I also want to build her confidence by building up her capabilities for marriage and parenting. So she knows that she is valuable and irreplaceable.

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How Christian women can make Christian men marry without using sex appeal

I just want to jot down a few points about this in brief – this will not be a comprehensive treatment. This is a rush job – I’m leaving things out, it will probably come across as very insulting and scatter-brained.

First, I am addressing this to women who are interested in marriage and children. If you are a woman and you are not interested in marriage and children, this will be no good to you. The reason why is because this method only works for men who are interested in marriage and children.

I’m addressing this to an imaginary Christian woman, whom I will henceforth refer to as “you”.

The wrong approach

Here are some things that women do wrong when trying to get a man to marry.

  • choosing a man based on non-Christian criteria or just selfishness
  • choosing a man based on his appearance of first impressions
  • choosing a man based on whether he is fun and popular
  • thinking that Christianity is a check box on an application form, rather than a 3-hour exam
  • thinking of marriage as bliss that will work out somehow, without planning and effort
  • not understanding what men are really like
  • not understanding what children are really like
  • not understanding what the Bible has to say about marriage
  • thinking that you can make a man love you by using sex appeal or sex itself
  • thinking that acting like a man is what a man wants

In short, marriage should be understood as a task, requiring planning by both partners, as well as study, skills and a will. You’re not picking a man, you’re picking a plan, the plan that you think will help God the most. And there is absolutely no need to resort to sex or alcohol or anything order to discuss these things. What actually works on me is writing me a good long essay about anything. Because marriage is more about communication and relationships than anything else. You can have intimacy without alcohol just by turning the conversation to topics that matter and writing about them.

The lever

Since you will not be using sex, you might as well get clear on what you can use. You can use three things.

  • The Bible, theology, church history and apologetics
  • The man’s own plan to marry and the steps he’s taken so far
  • Your own willingness to do whatever it takes to make your relationship please God

The basic idea is that you are going to find out what marriage in a Christian context is about. Then you are going to find out the man’s plan for marriage within the context of his Christian worldview. Then you are going to convince him that the most rational thing to do in order to achieve his plan is to marry you. You’re going to convince him that he will get a much higher degree of success with you, than without you. Not to mention the possibility of you bearing children and then helping him to parent children who will also count for God.

You’re the helper

Biblically, the role of the woman in the marriage is supposed that of helper. That doesn’t mean that you cannot have your own plan as well, it just means that the way you are going to have a relationship with a man is by helping him with his plan. And in order to help him with his plan, you have to talk to him about his plan. You have to show him that he isn’t going to get dragged away from his high ideals by you if he marries you. On the contrary – you are going to catapult him into the stars, in ways he cannot even imagine.

Here’s what you can do.

  • convince yourself that Christianity is true by studying apologetics, etc.
  • read about chivalry, romance and courtly love
  • get used to the idea that God comes above your own needs and desires
  • begin to view men as tools for serving God instead of tools for serving you
  • learn to evaluate men on the quality of their plans and whether it will help God
  • spend time writing and talking to the man about his plan (eye contact talking)
  • learn to hold your temper in check in order to gain his confidence
  • study to find out more about his goals, and how to achieve them
  • study to find out more about what forces are working against him
  • buy him things to help him with his plan
  • assign him tasks to do that you think will help him to serve God better
  • think of solutions to problems that he is facing and tell him
  • solve those problems and then report to him that the problems are solved
  • form his character by approving and affirming Christian/family behaviors
  • practice evangelism and apologetics to show that you care about nurturing other people’s worldviews
  • take on difficult long-term commitments like starting a business, being a missionary, earning degrees

Who wouldn’t want to have someone around who really knows them, who they can really talk to, and who is always improving their character and helping them to solve problems? The more you study what he is doing and learn things that can help him, the more he will want to have you around everywhere he goes. Every skill you get has potential for solving problems that you both may face when you start a family. It’s actually a very good idea to collect useful skills, make money and have a plan of your own. And I’ll explain why.

Nothing impresses a man more than a woman who is passionate, but rational, about some issue bigger than her own needs. Look at Michele Bachmann and Jennifer Roback Morse. Men are chivalrous. They want to protect and provide for women who are chaste and honorable. But they don’t want to waste time on women who are not engaged in some sort of noble enterprise. And they don’t want to waste time trying to commit to a woman who tries to manipulate them by rushing them into sex, either. Working on your own plan communicates to a man that you are more interested in helping God than in your own needs.

Women should be able to persuade people without getting personal or straying from arguments and evidence. Standing up for your view should be easy for you, but don’t overpower the man just to get your way. Ideally, you should win arguments with him because your ideas are just plain more effective at serving God than his ideas. Of course, if you think he’s right, then go along with him, by all means. I have actually gotten to the point with two women where arguing is a recreational activity than always ends in compliments for them about how happy I am that I can be myself with them. And that’s what a man really wants, anyway.

Marriage and children

But there’s more to being a helper than that. There’s the duties of a wife and mother. Marriage today is an enormous risk and responsibility for a man. The way to persuade a man to marry is to show him that you have studied his concerns, that his concerns are actually much worse than he knows, and that you have solutions to all of his problems. Show him that you have studied these things in detail, that you have written about these concerns passionately in public, and that you are serious about solving them. If you can’t solve the problems, (e.g. – hate crime bills, taxes for public schools), then show him that you are informed about these issues, on his side, and have at least spoken or written passionately about it somewhere public.

Here are some ideas for learning how to be a good wife and mother.

  • study what men think about wives, marriage and children
  • study threats to marriage from taxes, family courts, public schools, etc.
  • study the risks that men are taking on by deciding to marry and become fathers
  • think and write about how you can make your husband and children a gift for God
  • understand the proper care and feeding of husbands and children – how do they thrive?
  • practice taking care others – plants, cars, friends, pets, elderly, children, the poor
  • study to find out what divorce does to men and children
  • study what fatherlessness does to a child
  • study to understand the competition for liberty and resources between family and state
  • practice arguing with men about facts and policies, disregarding your own person, and focusing on the arguments
  • you should absolutely abhor feminism and argue against it at every opportunity
  • be ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and focus your attention on your relationship

Remember, the way that you treat a man in terms of encouraging and supporting his plan is the main way that you tell him two things: 1) that you will continue to do this after the marriage, so that he doesn’t have to give up his noble plan, and 2) that you will be encouraging and supporting his children towards their goals, so that he can have complete confidence in leaving the children with you until they get old enough for him to take over more of the parenting, (say, age 6 and on). If you help him, then pleasing you will become part of his plan.

It is extremely important to a man that he can trust you to teach the children right from wrong, and the Christian faith, especially when it goes against your compassionate feminine nature. I have actually seen this done, where a mother understands parenting and child development so much that she won’t yield to a screaming disobedient child because he has to learn the habits that will see him on to a Ph.D in physics. What’s even more fun is when she explains to you why she’s doing it, and where she studied it. That what makes a man happy.

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Does a man’s decision to marry negatively impact his service to God?

I found this post while browsing on Parchment and Pen, by C. Michael Patton. In it he discusses how his wife Kristie responded to his interest in making sacrifices to become a missionary in Europe. First, let’s take a look at what he wrote, then I’ll comment. This post is the meanest thing I have ever written on the blog. Please don’t read it, especially if you are a woman.

Now I don’t know any of the details of Mike’s life, so I am just using his words as a springboard to make some points of my own. Nothing mean I say applies to Mike or his family. I am trying to talk about my own experiences trying to reconcile my faith with women.

Mike starts admirably by explaining how, as a married man with two children, he became excited about a plan for preaching and defending the gospel in places like Europe, where there are very few Christians evangelizing.

He writes:

When I got home, Kristie attempted to probe for the passion and the source of my excitement. I held back some naively thinking it was going to be a surprise. I wanted to walk her through all I had learned and let the excitement build in her as it had in me. I told her everything we had been learning doing my best to work without the pins. I explained to her how much of a famine for the Gospel existed in other parts of the world. Then, when the time was just right, I gave her the “good” news: “We are going to be missionaries!!!”

I don’t think Mike’s expectations on his wife are realistic given my experiences with Christian women. And his wife did end up rejecting his plan to become missionaries in Europe.

Now I’ll talk about my experience, not about Mike’s story. In my experience, women often (70%) approach Christianity as a subjective experience, not as objective knowledge. So that means that they are not going to find what is written in the Bible as more authoritative than their own feelings, which they may be projecting onto “God” without the benefit of logic or evidence. That is why most women are usually not very interested in Christian knowledge, like theology or church history, and especially apologetics. In my experience, what this means is that they are less interested trying to convince people that Christianity is TRUE.

Most women in the churches prefer subjective experiences like singing, community, prayer, rituals, etc. Many women resent the idea that Christianity might be objectively true, because the truth of Christianity would limit their ability to invent their own version of Christianity based on their intuition. Many are certainly not interested in learning about God as he is, and then in shaping their lives to serve him in the most effective ways, regardless of the cost. Many prefer to spend their time reading fiction, like Stephanie Meyer instead of evidential stuff, like Stephen Meyer. Dan Brown stuff is also popular because it allows them to doubt the Bible when the Bible disagrees with their intuitions.

So the problem is that the Bible seems to be calling for bold action to evangelize and persuade others, but women seem to be more interested in more subjective, inward-focused activities that make them happy.

Note: there are exceptions of course. I know one women who read Signature in the Cell (!). Another woman I know read FOUR Tom Sowell books in two months. Actually some of the strongest denunciations of Christian women comes from other Christian women. One woman once told me that she never attended all-women Bible studies, and another told me angrily that her women’s group spent more time on arranging the table settings than in choosing the speaker for an event! As well, the best book on the Christian worldview is written by Nancy Pearcey. Etc. And of course, there’s Michele Bachmann, who asks her husband to take her to hear Ravi Zacharias for her BIRTHDAY PRESENT.

Mike continues:

Since then I have seen this situation more times than I can count. It is usually always the same: a zealous husband who has become embittered against his wife because she will not follow him in his zealousness. One good friend just got a divorce because his wife did not want to become a missionary. He thought it was the Lord’s will and he believed her unwillingness was keeping him from a “greater good.” Now, after the divorce, his immaturity has disqualified him from taking that step even by himself. Another friend is becoming embittered toward his wife because her focus is elsewhere. Their marriage is suffering. I could tell many more stories, but I don’t want to betray anyone’s confidence.

Friends (and especially young zealous husbands or soon to be husbands), don’t make the mistake of having your passion for ministry end your marriage. You first ministry is your marriage. If you don’t get that, you are not qualified for ministry. In the spirit of Priscilla: Do you not think that God is powerful enough to call you both into ministry or do you think he only has enough power to call one of you? If so, then he is not a God worth your time anyway. In short, if God does not call your wife, he is not calling you. Period.

Well, I agree with Mike that once you get married, unless you’re married to Jan Craig, then you can pretty much kiss your ministry good-bye. You have to uphold your marriage first, and God comes second. If your wife blocks your ministry, then you’re stuck with no ministry. He’s right about that. Which is why I don’t get married. What many women want, in my experience, is to make you like them so much that they can control you. But if they see that you are resisting and evaluating them critically, they give up and move on to easier prey. Many women have no intention of trying to help you to achieve your vision. You are just a tool in their toolbox for pursuing happiness.

What does the Bible say in 1 Cor 7:1-28?

1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

8Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.

9But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion

25Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.

26Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are.

27Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.

28But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

And in Matthew 19:12, Jesus says:

12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

I have seen theologian after theologian explain these verses away, rather than incur the wrath of women in the audience. But it seems to me the verses are pretty clear. Don’t marry. (Note: there are exceptions – I think a marriage to Michele Bachmann would be an ennobling experience).

The only virtuous reason for a man to get married is when he is convinced that he can do better for God with that woman by his side than they can do as singles. Once a man gets married to someone who wants to live a secular life of pleasure, he’s stuck – he can’t break up the marriage to save his ministry. Mike is right about that. So that’s why I say again to men – DON’T MARRY! Marriage gets in the way of your commitment to God, unless you are very careful to find a wife who will support you in your ministry.

Look at Mike’s bio page:

I am Michael Patton, the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen blog. I do a lot of stuff and love teaching theology. In fact, I have been blessed enough to be able to make my living doing so. I am married, have four kids (two girls and two boys). Got married to the most beautiful gal in the world.

If you click through, you will see a picture of his wife in some sort of beauty pageant. But right away I am concerned because I am suspicious of women who enter beauty pageants.

Now forget Mike’s pretty wife, and let me make a comment about men and sexual attraction.

Most Christian men become interested in women because of sexual attraction (unless you’re me, and you have visions of little homeschooled William Lane Craig and Michele Bachmann clones dancing in your head). I think that many men today rely far too much on physical attraction, they start the physical contact way too early which destroys their objectivity. And most men don’t take the time to screen women to see whether their stated beliefs are grounded. They just take the women, and their stated beliefs, at face value. And what this means is that God is being left out of the relationship – his needs don’t matter. What matters is the physical attraction.

I have a friend with a PhD in physics who is an elder in his Calvinist church. His wife has never read an apologetics book. Not even The Screwtape Letters. She says that logic and evidence don’t apply to Christianity. She knows God through her intuition, not through the Bible, because the Bible was written by men. And Christianity is really about doing whatever she wants to be happy. She reads Dan Brown and she gave him Dan Brown to read, too. She doesn’t believe in Hell, and she thinks Jesus was married. She views her husband as a tool for serving her. She has a pretty appearance, so  he never screened her statements of faith. His eyes were blinded by a sexual attraction.

One of my friends has married well, and his wife is 100% perfect in every way. They had a good long courtship, with pre-marriage counseling, and were very strict about physical contact. (They were both virgins when they married in their late 20s). And that is the only way to do a courtship – they put God’s needs first and they knew exactly what vision they were pursuing. I think that men need to look for women who treat God as a real person, with a distinct character of his own. (She was a missionary for a year in a very nasty part of the world). On her evening off from being a stay-at-home mom, she answers apologetics questions for unbelieving seekers. This woman was screened very well.

More Mike stuff is here.

UPDATE: When I say DON’T MARRY, I really meant “don’t marry without sharing your vision with your prospective mate first, and make sure that she is on board with it”.

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The rules for friendship and courtship between Christian men and women

This post will probably be changing as time passes and I learn more about relationships.

The goal

The goal of my opposite-sex friendships (hereafter just “friendships”) is for me to build up the skills of Christian women by exchanging training materials to work through, and monitoring progress. The training materials for friendship are centered around apologetics, with some conservative policy, as well. The friendships are beneficial to God because we are building each other up, and it also provides a context for us to evaluate changing to a courtship.

Most of my relationships with Christian women will never enter into the friendship phase because virtually none of them even care for apologetics. But some Christian women have shown an interest in apologetics and conservative policy and that’s what gets the friendship going.

I basically think about this friendship-courtship distinction as a continuum where passing through the gate from friendship to courtship is dependent on progress in sharing my vision with her and having her take appropriate steps to recognize and contribute to my vision. When a female Christian friend begins to contribute to my overall life vision, that’s the point at which we consider changing to a courtship.

Marriage

I am open to marrying any chaste female Christian. The grounds for the decision to marry are that the marriage would provide a better benefit to God in terms of his purposes in the world than if we continued to work separately. In particular, I am looking for my prospective mate to demonstrate her commitment to my four-pronged vision for serving God in the most effective ways. (See below)

I am also interested in whether she understands the challenges facing men and male needs, especially in areas like feminism, big government, no-fault divorce, child custody, etc. But I am also interested in her views in areas like chastity, modesty, grooming, physical fitness and expected frequency of marital sex. She must also recognize standards of chastity, chivalry and romance and participate in standard activities like letter-writing.

My vision

My vision involves operations in 4 areas:

The university:

  • get a PhD and teach in the university as a publicly-identified Christian OR no PhD, but teach in a community college
  • fund Christian scholars to lecture and debate at the university
  • fund research by intelligent design scholars
  • raise brilliant home-schooled children who can get PhDs and go on to impact the university

The church

  • bring scholars in to lecture and especially to debate in the church, and sponsor these events
  • teach adult Sunday school classes in apologetics (i.e. – show debates and discuss them, read books and discuss them)
  • find a wife who can help with these goals

The workplace

  • study apologetics and engage co-workers in discussions at lunch if they are interested
  • operate a library to lend out lectures and debates to those who are interested
  • give co-workers gifts at Christmas like DVDs on intelligent design or debates
  • put things in my office to declare myself as a thoughtful Christian
  • find a wife who can be hospitable, prepare meals and host discussions in our home

The public square

  • blog: inform and educate Christians about economic and public policies that affect our liberty
  • donate to Christian politicians who reflect my priorities
  • donate to other Christians who engage in debates on abortion, Islam, etc.
  • run for office after kids are grown-up
  • encourage wife to run for office after kids are grown-up
  • encourage kids to run for office after they retire from teaching at the universities

If a Christian woman is interested in having me assist her with learning apologetics and stuff, so she can serve God better, that’s called a friendship. If she starts to inquire about my vision and begins to show real recognition and support for it, that’s called a courtship.

The main thing is that God’s goals are always the center of our interactions. Marriage is not the end goal of the relationship. God’s goals in the world are the end. Marriage is just a possible means to that end. Being a good husband is a means to that end. Even being a good father is a means to that end.

The rules

Here are my rules for dealing with Christian women:

  1. No touching during friendship or courtship. This rule holds until the engagement day, where a kiss is permitted, but nothing more. The reason for this rule is to avoid losing 1) the ability to focus on my plan instead of women, and 2) the ability to evaluate Christian women objectively and dispassionately. (Note: I now think that hand-holding and hugging is OK once the initial evaluation of her is complete, and she starts to put in effort on the things that you care about, that are related to your plan)
  2. No being together by ourselves in non-public places without a chaperone. This applies to friendship and courtship.
  3. The friendship advances by exchanging and executing tasks that help us both to be more effective Christians. For example, listening to lectures together and stopping the lecture to discuss things, and then writing about the lecture afterward.
  4. The courtship advances by exchanging and executing tasks related to my vision. For example, we arrange a viewing of a debate or lecture DVD at her church and then jointly take questions from the audience.
  5. Gifts exchange is allowed during the friendship, but no tokens can be given to me.
  6. Token exchange (e.g. – a lady’s handkerchief with her colors), is reserved to mark the beginning of courtship. I have to carry it with me whenever I fight, and give reports to her on how I did. She can withdraw it, ending the courtship. I can also return it, ending the courtship. I can only carry one token at a time.
  7. Parents should be kept informed about the progress of friendships and courtships.
  8. Her parents have the right to engage me in discussions about my views on apologetics, etc. at any time during the friendship or courtship, but they do not have the right to override my vision with their vision.
  9. It helps me if women dress modestly, because I am more comfortable when a woman tries to attract me using non-physical approaches, like words. I resent it when women try to attract me using sex appeal instead of words. I like being in control of myself. Sex appeal is strictly for after the wedding. There are a million ways for a Christian woman to knock a Christian man off his feet just by taking an interest in things like apologetics and economics. The trick is to find a man who cares about being friends with God.
  10. I am looking to court someone who already has the skills to assist me with my vision, or who demonstrates a willingness to develop them, or who is able to persuade me that other skills are an even better match for my vision.

These are guidelines that I try to communicate to women to help us to constrain our relationship to serve God’s goals. These are all subject to discussion and debate, of course.

I think that one of the effects of these rules is to take the pressure to be “sexy” off of women. And to remove sex from the equation entirely – there is no room for clumsy groping in the back seat of a car in this operation. Instead, a woman wins the heart of a man if she is willing to listen to him, learn about his needs as a man, and his vision to serve God, and then work hard to recognize and support all that.

Sample activities

In a friendship, the first steps are going to involve a lot of studying and talking. For example, it is not uncommon for me to spend 2-6 hours just talking to a Christian woman about spiritual things. We do independent studies around things like reading the same books, listening to the same lectures, or even doing the political compass or resurrection questionnaires together. Individual tasks for me from her might include Bible reading, church attending, bringing her resources that she asks for, writing about my feelings and experiences, etc.

I believe in exchanging tasks so that the woman gets into the pattern of getting outside her own needs and thinking about her obligations to me. My concern is that a lot of women have a fairy tale view of marriage. She picks a man for superficial reasons and hopes to change him later. This leads women to ignore male needs and the man’s vision prior to marriage. The man is tricked into the marriage by pre-marital sexual activity.

Unfortunately choosing a bad man and then tricking him with sex doesn’t work to keep that man as her appearance fades. This is particularly bad for women whose self-esteem is tied to appearance. And I think that is a major reason why women are so interested in no-fault divorce and massive government social programs – to relieve them of the burden of having to choose the right man and having to work to win him and having to work to keep him.

Real men find big government very discouraging, which is why men are not interested in marriage any more. The prospect of facing activist family courts run by feminists is too much for thoughtful men to contemplate. Men can’t support a family on a salary that is highly taxed to pay for things like VAWA or welfare programs, or single-payer health care. Men also don’t want to lose access to their kids based on fake charges of domestic violence.

I know that these rules and procedures are going to strike a lot of you as odd, and some of you are going to stop reading my blog because I am just too weird. Well, I think you should just snicker at me and keep reading. After all, someone has to be different. The only people really in a position to judge whether this is working are my female Christian friends, and God. I myself am very happy with these rules because they help me to put God first.

Building Christian women up

One last thing. The man’s role in the relationship is to love his wife all the time, and to do it intelligently. It’s therefore imperative for him to read about how women understand love. I recommend the book “The Five Love Languages” for learning about how to love women well. Also, it’s a great idea to read all about how women think and feel about what they do in a marriage, so that you can support them after first understanding them. A good book to read on that is “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women: and similar books. It’s a good idea to think about how to become better at leading by persuasion – by convincing women to grow upward. For example, I convinced one girl I was courting to go back to school and do a degree in economics. Another one went back to school get her law degree. And this not to even mention the basic stuff that women I court do – like organizing public debates, apologetics conferences, teaching apologetics in the church, finding summer jobs, getting top grades in school, giving public speeches, and so on. Courting is the time where you intentionally lead women to become stronger.

In the 2012 the Presidential election, I supported Michele Bachmann as my first choice for the office of President. Her husband Marcus is very traditional about courtship and marriage, just like me. He actually asked her to go back to school at one point to specialize in tax law, in order to help the family business and be better at pushing the children upward through school. That was a smart decision, to grow his wife up like that so that she could be better. So whatever you do in the courtship, your goal should always be to push women up, up, up. And that applies whether she is for you or for someone else or for no one else. Make her better than she used to be so that she can serve God better – to be a better wife and mother, and to have more of an influence in the world for Christ and his Kingdom. Never, ever bring her down or minimize the impact she can have for good. She is a partner in serving God, after all.

Related posts

Neil has a related post on complementarian marriage (which is my view).

What Christian men want from Christian women… in paintings!

The gift of tokens, such as handkerchiefs or pennants, is standard operating procedure in chivalry. Chivalry and chastity are two important factors in my life. Both are complex disciplines to learn. Reading literature is the best way to learn, or by watching your parents get along, if you have a good father and mother (I did not!). But another way to learn is by studying the great works of art.

Below are just a few of my favorite paintings. (I like the Pre-Raphaelite era especially)

Click the small images for MUCH larger images!

RECOGNITION:

Godspeed - Edmund Blair Leighton - 1900
Godspeed – Edmund Blair Leighton – 1900

Men should be judged by godly women based on whether they are doing what God wants them to do. Those men who are willing to put God first in their planning should be recognized as special. Standard procedure is to give committed Christian men a token with the lady’s colors that he can carry into battle.

APPROVAL:

The Accolade - Edmund Blair Leighton - 1901
The Accolade – Edmund Blair Leighton – 1901

Men need to be encouraged to fulfill their obligations to God by receiving the approval of godly women. Men who accomplish great things for God should receive rewards from women. Notice that the painting is portraying a public accolade.

ATTENTION:

Alain Chartier - Edmund Blair Leighton - 1903
Alain Chartier – Edmund Blair Leighton – 1903

Along with her relationship with God, godly women should make time for relating to godly men, especially to her husband if she is married. This is even more important than parenting! I am a big believer in eye contact and long written essays.

UNDERSTANDING/RESPECT:

Call to Arms - Edmund Blair Leighton - 1888
Call to Arms – Edmund Blair Leighton – 1888
Duty - Edmund Blair Leighton - 1883
Duty – Edmund Blair Leighton – 1883

Women need to understand that a man’s duty to her comes second to a man’s duty to God. Part of loving a man is letting him do the activities that he needs to do in order to flourish as a man.

DEFERENCE/GRATITUDE:

St. George Fighting the Dragon - Raphael Sanzio - 1505
St. George Fighting the Dragon – Raphael Sanzio – 1505

A woman should be able to drive a stick shift, fire a Springfield Arms XD accurately, do the family tax return, throw a football 20 yards, and barbecue steaks. However, when men are around, she should allow men to do things for her, even if she can do them better herself. Men should always be asked to do dangerous tasks (shoveling snow, killing spiders, etc.), and they should never be criticized about their performance in front of other people, only in private.

Next time

Next time we can look at other paintings from Frank Dicksee, Arthur Hughes and George F. Watts to express other ideas like vulnerability, susceptibility, nurturing children and animals, modesty, chastity, and trust. It’s important that Christian men and Christian women know how to get along with one another. It’s important that non-Christians see real differences in the way Christians treat the opposite sex.

If you like these paintings, leave a comment and I’ll write more posts about chivalry and romance. Just because I have no experience with women doesn’t mean that I haven’t read the classics. If you want to read something really good on chivalry, check out C.S. Lewis’ essay “The Necessity of Chivalry” or Edmund Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” or Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”.

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