Tag Archives: Narcissism

How to avoid choosing a charming, deceitful narcissist for a spouse

Here's some helpful advice for women about choosing a man
Here’s some helpful advice for women about choosing a man

For fun, I’ve decided to publish the 2000-word first draft that I normally send to my 6 female editors, because sometimes it’s fun to let people know what I *really* think about things before my editors force me to make it sound much better and more persuasive.

We got a comment a while back that I thought was worth a response.

Let’s start with the comment:

My husband was a Narcissist. He slept all over the county and never worked a day in this marriage. Plus, He couldn’t decide if he was straight or gay. After my son finally left home I filed for divorce. I wish I did it sooner. Now he claims to be born again and wants to stay together. When is enough, enough?

We don’t know if this woman was a Christian, was chaste, and whether the man she chose was Christian or was chaste. All we know is that the man she chose was attractive enough to easily find other women who would have sex with him despite the fact that he was married. Whatever he has, it’s something that causes women who are not married to him to have sex with him. That’s who the divorced woman chose to marry. His “charm” wasn’t from his moral character or his deep knowledge of Christian theology and apologetics.

My first response to this was to put the responsibility on the person who had chosen the bad husband. After all, I reasoned, everyone who takes a massive step like marriage is obligated to investigate who it is they are marrying.

But when I said that, I got some responses from women that said that she wasn’t responsible for her poor choice of man, and that she was an innocent victim of his magical charming powers.

Here’s Lee:

A lot of time people don’t show their worst qualities until the relationship is firmly in place, and it starts coming out slowly. It’s not always as clear cut as a woman stupidly choosing an unsuitable husband who acted unsuitable from the get-go. I mean yeah, sometimes it’s obvious early on and the woman is just stupid/ blind/broken/other. But we should be careful to not assume, and careful to not make harsh judgments from our ignorance.

If dangers like infidelity are not “obvious” then it’s not the woman’s fault that she didn’t detect it. Apparently there is no way for the woman to detect it if it’s not obvious, so she’s not responsible.

And Mary:

Narcissists are skilled at charming and persuading people that they’re really great. And they’re skilled at convincing others that their misgivings are irrational fears. Unfortunately,there are a lot of people like that. Not saying that people (men AND women, btw!) don’t just sometimes choose stupidly, for bad reasons like “hotness” and excitement. But narcissists are a whole other kettle of fish. They can come out with a completely different personality once they’ve snagged their prey.

If a bad person is “skilled at charming”, then their victim has no way of evaluating them accurately. Basically, deciding who to marry is just an activity where you talk, and decide how you feel about that person’s talk. If the person is charming, then they make you feel good, and it’s rational to marry them. A lot of women express this as “I want a man who is confident”. It’s never been explained to me how “confidence” is any evidence that the man has an ability and a past pattern of self-control and fidelity.

And Sara:

Probably because narcissists can be very charming at first and easily win people over.

[…] What I was trying to say and the article pointed out is the power of narcissists is they can put people, especially women, under a spell of sorts. They are just so slick and charming that common sense goes right out the window. They don’t think to verify all these things that seem obvious because they are so captivated.

All that’s necessary to detect a charming narcissist is “common sense”. His suitability to do husband and father roles should be “obvious” from what he says and how he makes her feel.

So, let’s take a look at some tips for avoiding these charming narcissists who can convince you to marry them just with their words and the feelings they cause.

How to avoid marrying a charming narcissist who cheats on you

Here is some advice on how to avoid marrying a charming narcissist.

1. Evaluate a person based on objective evidence instead of how they make you feel with their words

There are a lot of lies coming out of the artists, actors, celebrities, etc. in this secular leftist culture that basically say that marriage is all about you and your feelings. If you prepared for marriage by watching movies made by pedophiles in Hollywood, and listening to music made by promiscuous musicians, and reading self-help fiction written by divorced spinsters, then you are not ready to detect a charming narcissist. Marriage is a practical enterprise, with distinct roles for husbands and wives that must be performed regardless of how either spouse feels. You need to understand and evaluate what behaviors are expected of husbands and wives in a marriage, and then look for evidence that the person you want to marry can perform those behaviors.

For example, if the behavior is fidelity, then the person should be able to demonstrate chastity and self-control during the courtship, and produce references from past girlfriends / boyfriends, and have written about chastity and self-control using research sources to explain the connection between premarital sex and marital instability. If you’re choosing with your feelings, and you haven’t done an analysis of marriage roles, and partner abilities, you’re headed for a disaster.

Just so you know, when I said this to some of the pro-irresponsibility, non-judgemental women I know, their response was to laugh in my face at the idea of asking someone’s previous partners about whether they were chaste and self-controlled. And this is why people are taken by surprise by the charming talk of narcissists. Feelings-oriented people today laugh at the idea of doing any evaluation, preferring to rely on their feelings. A lot of the failure to choose wisely is just down to people not understanding how the world works, then trying to manufacture a psycho-babble rationalization of why they screwed up.

When you’re hiring someone, you do a job interview, you test their skills, you contact their references, you do a drug test, a credit check, a criminal record check. And you have other skilled people sit in on the interviews and tests, in order to make sure that the person can really do the job they are being interviewed for. The marriage evaluation should include everything that the job interview includes as a minimum. Marriage is at least as complicated as choosing to hire someone for a job. If you aren’t doing the bare minimum of evaluating their education, career and finances, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

2. Learn what it takes to make morality rational, and then determine if your candidate is capable of being moral

Because marriage deals so much with moral obligations, it’s incumbent on you to read extensively on moral issues. You yourself should have developed worldview (through study and debate) that rationally grounds the minimum requirements for moral values and duties: 1) free will, 2) consciousness, 3) objective moral values, 4) objective moral duties, 5) a divine judge, 6) life after death. Why? Because doing the right thing isn’t something that you always feel like doing. When doing the right thing goes against your feelings, you will need to have a reason to act against your own self-interest. And that reason is going to be because the world is the sort of place where morality is real, and independent of your feelings, where you are a free moral agent, and where is a divine judge and an afterlife.

At the center of the ability to rationally ground morality is the ability to know God is real rationally, and to defend his existence using objective evidence and logical arguments. If you don’t know whether God exists based on logic and evidence, how will you evaluate whether someone else knows it? If you can’t rationally ground doing the right thing when it goes against your interest, then you won’t be able to know how to ask questions and investigate in order to decide whether someone else is moral or not.  Marrying someone who doesn’t believe in a moral lawgiver and a moral judge after death is as prudent to going into a city dump eating all your meals from what you find there.

In the specific case of fidelity, it’s important to remember that some people have goals and an understanding about how poor choices right now will make those goals more difficult to obtain. It’s easy to say that you want your spouse to be faithful. But what’s really needed is to measure what they are really trying to achieve in life, and whether they understand how infidelity would affect those plans. If you can’t see from their past decisions that they KNOW that 1) marriage and family are important enough to sacrifice for and 2) that they understand and apply the research that shows what decisions helps to make a marriage last (e.g. – no premarital sex), then, they don’t really have the goals and the information that you want in a marriage partner.

Conclusion

I have to end this post with the reaction from my friend Lindsay, who is one of my reliable advisors. She responded to Lee and Mary above with this:

There are ways to avoid marrying a narcissist, addict, abuser, or other bad man. However, most women don’t know how to evaluate men because no one ever told them what to watch for or that they need to focus on long term character traits and not ignore red flags. They have been actively encouraged to follow their hearts and indoctrinated in this view since they were small children. That doesn’t mean they are without blame, but they have also been let down by their families, friends, and society as a whole. Women need the eyes of family and friends on the men they date to help them see problems they might not recognize and warn them. But too often, family and friends are too uncomfortable saying something and think they are supposed to stay out of it. Our society has broken down and women do not have the protections they need.

Lindsay probably has the best and most successful marriage of anyone I know. She did everything right that I tell young women to do. Multiple STEM degrees, debt-free, years of private sector experience, married a virgin as a virgin herself right in the middle of her 23-27 year window, and is now a homeschooling mother of 3. Perfect, and did a thorough evaluation of her perfect husband Doug. Doug had done enormous amounts of work demonstrating through actions and achievements that he had the character and skills to be an excellent husband and father. Anyone who evaluated him beyond the surface level of talk and feelings and “confidence” would have found a gold mine of husband and father capability. Capabilities which are now on display in their marriage.

54-year-old feminist angry at dating agency for not finding her a rich husband

Kate Mulvey at age 53 expects that rich men will want to marry her
Kate Mulvey at age 53 expects that rich men will want to marry her

A little while ago, I blogged about a 47-year-old mother of three who sued a dating agency for failing to find her a rich husband. That was pretty bad, but I found something even worse. A 54-year-old woman who spend all her savings on a dating agency. She expected them to find her loads of rich men who want to marry her – despite her never having invested anything in them.

The UK Telegraph reports:

Glass of wine in hand, the man sitting opposite me in the restaurant was in full flow. While he was droning on about his work commitments, I zoned in and out trying to work out how on earth I was going to get to through this first date. I had expected to meet an eligible bachelor, but he had turned out to be so boring that he made me want to stick asparagus up my nostrils.

This memory came flooding back when I read about, Tereza Burki, a City financier who, last week, successfully sued a Knightsbridge-based elite matchmaking service, for the return of her £12,600 annual fee after they failed to find her the man of her dreams.

A couple of years ago, I too joined an expensive matchmaking agency. I had just come out of a seven year relationship, and was on the wrong side of 50.

I soon tired of online dating and receiving messages from over weight baldies who peppered their emails with childish emojis. I hankered to find Mr Right-for-me, a man who was suitably educated and a successful professional.

And so this is how I found myself, throwing money (my entire savings to be precise) to an upmarket matchmaking agency in central London. The agency claimed to filter out the undesirables, the mediocre and give clients the personal touch, so I handed over the hefty sum of £6,000.

As I waited to be matched with someone from their ‘extensive database’, I idly imagined my handsome date, cashmere polo neck, a bit academic and kind. We’d eat steak tartare and swap notes on our latest clever box-set find and favourite novels.

The first indication that all was not as I had expected came when I met personal matchmaker at a Park Lane hotel for ‘tea and an interview’…  told her how I loved folk music, my favourite film was The Deer Hunter, and enjoyed weekends in the countryside.

[…]A few days later she emailed me with the details of W, “a successful entrepreneur who had travelled extensively and also liked folk music”. When I met him at a pub in Richmond, I was shocked. I was expecting a cultured and dynamic man, instead I got a man in a pair of jeans, a moth eaten jumper and the table manners of a modern day Baldrick.

And therein lies the rub. These agencies trade on their exclusivity, yet the men I met were far from the international super elite they promised.

Isn’t this terrible? Clearly the dating agency is to blame. It should be easy for a penniless, feminist hedonist to find rich men who want to spend all their money taking care of a 54-year-old woman who had literally nothing to do with the process by which they earned all that money.

One thing we know about her for sure is that she is impractical. She is 54 years old and has just spent her last savings on a dating agency. From her other comments about the type of men she is looking for, we can infer that she wasted a lot of money on travel, fine dining, and other frivolous experiences designed to produce feelings of sophistication without any practical plan for preparing for the financial demands of old age. What’s the point of having fun “in the moment” if you don’t have any plan to allow sustainable recreation in the future, when you’re too old to work?

I spent some time reading articles by Kate Mulvey, and here is what I was able to determine:

  • she has no useful degrees – she paid for useless degrees in Italian and French, instead of studying something useful, like computer science or nursing or petroleum engineering. Her “writing” is all about fashion, dating and “lifestyles”
  • her opinion on children: “uppity children take your time, emotions and energy” – she sees children as a detriment to her highest priority (her career). She says “I, however, have lived a life of unfettered freedom to take on projects, write books and travel”
  • she had loads of entertaining men “beating a path to [her] door” when she was younger
  • she spend thousands of pounds on plastic surgery
  • she blames her lack of marriage success on her being “brainier” than men
  • she turned down men who wanted to marry her, as late as age 33
  • her book is called “Accidental Singleton” because she thinks that her approach to life – anti-marriage hedonism – has “accidentally” left her single and penniless at age 54 (as if it wasn’t her fault!)

Although she talks a lot about being intelligent, it seems to me that an intelligent woman would have practical degrees, savings and an awareness of what men actually want from a woman – and WHEN they want it. Men want a woman to support them in their most difficult period, just after they graduate and hit the job market. Starting out in a career is hard because the man doesn’t have savings or a resume or references. The support of a young, attractive, virtuous woman means everything during those difficult years. This is when a wife has the most impact on her husband’s ability to earn and save, on his mental health, on his physical health, etc.

Somehow, this narcissist thinks that she can just show up in a man’s life, after he has done all his earning alone, and grab hold of the things that she never helped build. She wasted all her youth and beauty chasing experiences with attractive bad boys, but she thinks that it’s reasonable for a man to invest all his wealth in her. A woman has value to a man at the time when he is attempting to do difficult things, but lacks support.

What exactly is it that a woman like Kate has to offer a man, given her life choices? Does anyone think that this woman has marriage-character? Does anyone think that her life of selfishness and hedonism has prepared her to be a good wife? What kind of conversation about moral obligations could you have with someone who has only ever done what felt good to her in the moment? Has her string of failed relationships with hot bad boys prepared her to be trusting and unselfish? How about to be faithful? Or even to be content? What is it that she thinks that she is offering that would justify the heavy investment that she is asking for, especially in an age of no-fault-divorce and anti-male divorce courts?

I think people really underestimate how much goes into making a good wife. The character she has to develop. The skills that she has to develop. The way she treats her husband, which often comes from carefully cultivating virtues like chastity and sobriety. Her worldview, which affects whether she has practical abilities like love, forgiveness and self-control. Her ability to be good with money. Her ability to nurture others and make social connections consistent with marriage and homemaking. Her ability to bear children, and then nurture them during the critical first 5 years after – not to mention homeschooling, which is increasingly valuable in a time when underperforming government-run schools seek to indoctrinate, rather than educate, children.

Nothing about this woman makes me think that she has any marriage-related character traits or abilities. Any idiot can spend someone else’s money on their own feelings, fun and thrills. But it takes a carefully crafted woman to really do the work of a wife. Marriage isn’t there so that women can be happy. Marriage is an enterprise. Being selfish – doing what is easy, and what feels good moment by moment – doesn’t prepare a woman for the enterprise.

47-year-old divorced woman with kids sues dating agency for failing to find her a rich husband

Do young women understand how to get to a stable marriage?
Do young women understand how to get to a stable marriage?

Today, many women put off marriage while they’re in their 20s, when they are most attractive to marriage-minded men. Some marry, but they marry based on spontaneity and feelings, and it turns into divorce. What happens next? Here’s an example from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

A divorced mother-of-three who sued an ‘exclusive’ dating agency after it failed to find her a rich boyfriend has been handed her money back by a top judge.

Tereza Burki paid £12,600 to Seventy Thirty to hunt for ‘possibly the man of my dreams, the father of my child’, she told the High Court in London.

The 47-year-old said the agency assured her it only dealt in ‘creme de la creme’ matches and could introduce her to ‘bachelors you dream of meeting’.

But Judge Richard Parkes QC today ordered the agency to repay her fee, ruling that she had been ‘deceived’ by Seventy Thirty’s then-managing director.

And, as well as giving her her money back, the judge awarded her £500 for the ‘disappointment and sadness’ she suffered. Her total award was £13,100.

Burki is 47 years old today, so in 2014, I assume that she was around 43 years old. 43, as you know, is well past the normal age for having children. Women’s fertility declines sharply at age 27, then takes a nose-dive at age 35. By 40, it’s nearly impossible to get pregnant, which is why women who want children ought to focus on finding a good man in their early-to-mid-20s.

More:

When she signed up with the agency in 2014, Mrs Burki’s requirements for the men she wanted to meet were ‘not modest’, the judge added.

She wanted a wealthy man with ‘a lifestyle similar or more affluent than her own’ and, ideally, ‘multiple residences’.

But the most important factor for Mrs Burki, who lives on an upmarket street in Chelsea, West London, was that her soulmate would be prepared to have more children, as she wanted four.

[…]Giving evidence during the case, Mrs Burki told the judge: ‘You shouldn’t promise people who are in a fragile state of mind, in their mid-40s, the man of their dreams.

I’m sure that the reason Dina sent me this article is to warn me about how irresponsible some women can be. After all, this woman HAD a decade in her 20s to get serious about finding a man who would commit to her, and give her children. We don’t know what happened in her 20s. But judging from the enormous gap between her demands and her own attractiveness (43 and divorced with 3 children from another man), she was probably being selfish. She’s very clear about what she wants from a man, but she hasn’t prepared for what a man might want from her.

So let’s review that.

Marriage-minded men are interested in a wife during a certain time window when the support of a woman really makes a difference. That time period is the stressful period of a man’s life, when he first graduates from college or trade school and has to start his career. The first years of a career are the most stressful. And that’s when having the physical, emotional, and practical support of a young, attractive, chaste woman really makes a difference. Married men do better at things like earning, saving, health, etc. than single men. Naturally, the best time to GET THIS SUPPORT is the time when the man is doing things that determine his earning, saving, health, etc.

It’s not that older women have no value. It’s that the woman has to be present during the critical time when a man is trying to do hard things, and he doesn’t have the safety net of savings, a resume, etc. Many men move for their first jobs, which just adds another level of difficulty to those early years. When I moved for my first job, everything was difficult: eating, sleeping, cleaning, being content with chastity, etc. I had no family nearby, and I left behind all my friends. It would have been nice to have had the support of a young, and beautiful marriage-minded woman at the critical time when I needed it.

But now, after the degrees have been earned, the gapless resume filled out, the retirement accounts filled, and the house paid for, it’s hardly the time for a woman over 40 to show up and demand her share, when she never invested anything into the enterprise.

And yet, many women apparently DO think like this. Many seem to have no concept of what a man wants out of marriage, and that’s why they waste their 20s doing what feels good to them, and just expecting marriage to happen without any self-denial or self-sacrifice or self-control. If they really cared about marriage, then they would prioritize understanding what marriage-minded men want and need. They would be developing marriage skills and marriage character – things like cooking, caring for others, being good with money, child care, being sober, being faithful, etc. If a woman wants a husband, then she ought to be concerned with helping him to do the things that she expects him to do as a husband.

There used to be some awareness in young women that premarital sex with hot bad boys was bad for her future husband. That focusing on partying and travel was bad for her future husband. That doing easy degrees, getting easy jobs, while going into debt was bad for future husband. Now it seems that women are making all their decisions based on what feels good for them in the moment, in total ignorance of how that ruins their ability to invest in the man who wants to marry them later. They just can’t (or won’t) understand how being selfish today has consequences to marriage and family tomorrow.

Do women not look at marriage-minded men doing what we are doing and think “I don’t want him to have to do that alone. I want to help him, so that it’s not so difficult. And if I have to learn how to do things that help him, then I will put my own needs and feelings second, and learn to do what helps him”. Is there any woman out there who looks at a good, marriage-ready man, and thinks about what he needs? And about what she can do to help him? If not, then is it any wonder that men have lost interest in marriage?

I noticed that Dalrock also posted on this, and some of the comments are interesting.

Frequent denial of sex breaks the marriage covenant as much as adultery

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Let’s start this post by quoting a passage from the Bible.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5:

Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

So with that in mind, I want to turn to a well-known Jewish talk show host named Dennis Prager, who is much loved and listened to by Christians. Dennis Prager features a lot of discussions about male-female relationships on his show, particularly during the male-female hour. In this two part series on male sexuality, he explains why women should not deprive their husbands of sex without a good reason.

Part 1 is here.

Excerpt:

It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.

First, women need to recognize how a man understands a wife’s refusal to have sex with him: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men’s natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman’s nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it.

This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.

When first told this about men, women generally react in one or more of five ways…

He then explains the 5 ways that women respond to this.

Here’s one:

1. You have to be kidding. That certainly isn’t my way of knowing if he loves me. There have to be deeper ways than sex for me to show my husband that I love him.

I think that this is a common mistake that liberal women make because they think that men are just hairy women. But men are not women, we are different and sex means something different to men than it does to women. In the past, most women understood how men are different than women, but younger women have been taught that there are no differences between the sexes. To think any different is “sexism”.

Here’s another from the list:

4. You have it backwards. If he truly loved me, he wouldn’t expect sex when I’m not in the mood.

Again, this is the common mistake that many younger women today make in thinking that love is a one-way street – flowing from men and children to the woman. If men and children DON’T do what the woman wants, or if they make demands on her, then they don’t “love” her and she is justified in ignoring them.

Liberal women have been taught to believe that they are always victims or some group of oppressors, such as men and children or corporations. It makes them rebel against having to do anything for anyone else, because they don’t want to be “oppressed”. That makes them unable to accept that relationships are give-and-take, Once a commitment to love another person permanently has been made, then each person has responsibilities to provide for the needs of the other.

I actually had a conversation with a Christian woman once who said that women should not be obligated to do things that they didn’t feel like doing. I asked her if men were obligated to go to work when they didn’t feel like going. She said yes, and acted as though I were crazy for asking. I just laughed, because she didn’t even see the inconsistency. The truth is that men often don’t feel like working, but they get up and go to work anyway, whether they like it or not (in most cases). Similarly, a women should feel obligated to have sex with her husband, even if she is not in a perfect mood for it (in most cases). Sometimes, a man stays home from work, and it’s OK. And sometimes a woman says no to sex, and it’s OK. But it’s not OK to stop doing it for months and months with no good reason.

Part 2 is here.

Excerpt:

Here are eight reasons for a woman not to allow not being in the mood for sex to determine whether she denies her husband sex.

He then explains the eight reasons.

Here’s one of them:

7. Many contemporary women have an almost exclusively romantic notion of sex: It should always be mutually desired and equally satisfying or one should not engage in it. Therefore, if a couple engages in sexual relations when he wants it and she does not, the act is “dehumanizing” and “mechanical.” Now, ideally, every time a husband and wife have sex, they would equally desire it and equally enjoy it. But, given the different sexual natures of men and women, this cannot always be the case. If it is romance a woman seeks — and she has every reason to seek it — it would help her to realize how much more romantic her husband and her marriage are likely to be if he is not regularly denied sex, even of the non-romantic variety.

Women have to engage their husbands if they expect their husbands to engage in the marriage as a husband and father. Men can’t do their protector, provider and spiritual leader roles forever unless their needs are met at some point. Performance of these male duties is not free. Wives have to love their husbands in the way that men expect to be loved. That’s what they vowed to do in the wedding, isn’t it?

At the end of the article, Prager makes a general point about women that I think needs to be emphasized over and over and over:

That solution is for a wife who loves her husband — if she doesn’t love him, mood is not the problem — to be guided by her mind, not her mood, in deciding whether to deny her husband sex.

This problem of sex-withholding is so widespread, that it really makes me (although I am a virgin) wonder what women think that marriage is about anyway. When a woman vows to love her husband, what do they think that word really means? Why do women think that men marry? What do men want that marriage provides for them? Which of those needs are the women’s responsibility to provide for? I think these are questions that men should ask women. I think women should be prepared to answer them. Men should expect that women be reading books on men and marriage, and that she has relationships with men where she is giving support, respect, affirmation, affection and approval. You can learn a lot about a woman by how she treats her father, for example.

Unfortunately, many men today haven’t thought through what they need from wives in a marriage. They spend their young years chasing women who are fun and sexually permissive. Every husband I asked about what they need has told me that respect, affirmation, affection and regular sex are more important than appearance and fun. Pre-marital sex, having fun, getting drunk, and going out, etc. are not the right foundation for marriage – which requires mutual self-sacrifice in order to work.

Another point: I have a friend who is very concerned that men are breaking sexual rules, but he seems oblivious to 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. I asked him privately what he thought about sex-withholding, and whether this might cause husbands to turn to pornography and even affairs, and I mentioned 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. He said: “no, it’s not something I take much interest in”. I was tempted to ask him if the Bible was something that he does not take much interest in.

I think he misreads 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 so that it could only be used to condemn men. If that were his view, then it actually worries me if well-meaning men are actually undermining marriage, by teaching women that they have no responsibilities to keep the marriage going, and helping them to feel like victims when their marriages fall apart. Sometimes even people who claim to be pro-marriage can undermine marriage practically-speaking, because of their unBiblical belief that women are “naturally good” and should not have any responsibilities in a marriage.

I thought this attitude was so interesting in view of what I read in the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. In that book, Dr. Laura urges women to be sensitive to their husbands’ different male natures in order to avoid them looking at pornography and having affairs. Withholding sex from a man is the equivalent of a man withholding conversation to a woman. Sex is how a man feels loved! What’s remarkable is how female callers on her show are shocked that men react badly to being deprived of sex.

I do think that some men will look at porn and cheat regardless of what their wife does sexually, but then it again falls to the woman to choose a man who has demonstrated that he has self-control – i.e., a virgin who has remained chaste with her throughout the courtship and protected her from doing sexual things outside of the covenant context. Chastity is hard, but it is how a man loves his wife self-sacrificially, before he even meets her. It should be a trait much sought after and respected by women. Basically, women need to be led by their minds, not by their feelings, when choosing a husband.

A man has to get up and go to work every day for his family, regardless of whether he feels like it or not. In fact, the many decisions he has made before getting married are also made not because they make him happy, but because he needs to be responsible to his future wife and children. The decision to study science? Loving obligation. The decision to go to grad school in science? Loving obligation. The decision to work in a demanding, risky career? Loving obligation. The decision to save money and eat instant oatmeal for dinner? Loving obligation. Men don’t do these things because we enjoy them. We do it because we love our wives and children self-sacrificially, before we ever even meet them. I think that women need to do the same.

How to avoid choosing a charming, deceitful narcissist for a spouse

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

For fun, I’ve decided to publish the 2000-word first draft that I normally send to my 6 female editors, because sometimes it’s fun to let people know what I *really* think about things before my editors force me to make it sound much better and more persuasive.

We got a comment yesterday that I thought was worth a response.

Let’s start with the comment:

My husband was a Narcissist. He slept all over the county and never worked a day in this marriage. Plus, He couldn’t decide if he was straight or gay. After my son finally left home I filed for divorce. I wish I did it sooner. Now he claims to be born again and wants to stay together. When is enough, enough?

We don’t know if this woman was a Christian, was chaste, and whether the man she chose was Christian or was chaste. All we know is that the man she chose was attractive enough to easily find other women who would have sex with him despite the fact that he was married. Whatever he has, it’s something that causes women who are not married to him to have sex with him. That’s who the divorced woman chose to marry. His “charm” wasn’t from his moral character or his deep knowledge of Christian theology and apologetics.

My first response to this was to put the responsibility on the person who had chosen the bad husband. After all, I reasoned, everyone who takes a massive step like marriage is obligated to investigate who it is they are marrying.

But when I said that, I got some responses from women that said that she wasn’t responsible for her poor choice of man, and that she was an innocent victim of his magical charming powers.

Here’s Lee:

A lot of time people don’t show their worst qualities until the relationship is firmly in place, and it starts coming out slowly. It’s not always as clear cut as a woman stupidly choosing an unsuitable husband who acted unsuitable from the get-go. I mean yeah, sometimes it’s obvious early on and the woman is just stupid/ blind/broken/other. But we should be careful to not assume, and careful to not make harsh judgments from our ignorance.

If dangers like infidelity are not “obvious” then it’s not the woman’s fault that she didn’t detect it. Apparently there is no way for the woman to detect it if it’s not obvious, so she’s not responsible.

And Mary:

Narcissists are skilled at charming and persuading people that they’re really great. And they’re skilled at convincing others that their misgivings are irrational fears. Unfortunately,there are a lot of people like that. Not saying that people (men AND women, btw!) don’t just sometimes choose stupidly, for bad reasons like “hotness” and excitement. But narcissists are a whole other kettle of fish. They can come out with a completely different personality once they’ve snagged their prey.

If a bad person is “skilled at charming”, then their victim has no way of evaluating them accurately. Basically, deciding who to marry is just an activity where you talk, and decide how you feel about that person’s talk. If the person is charming, then they make you feel good, and it’s rational to marry them. A lot of women express this as “I want a man who is confident”. It’s never been explained to me how “confidence” is any evidence that the man has an ability and a past pattern of self-control and fidelity.

And Sara:

Probably because narcissists can be very charming at first and easily win people over.

[…] What I was trying to say and the article pointed out is the power of narcissists is they can put people, especially women, under a spell of sorts. They are just so slick and charming that common sense goes right out the window. They don’t think to verify all these things that seem obvious because they are so captivated.

All that’s necessary to detect a charming narcissist is “common sense”. His suitability to do husband and father roles should be “obvious” from what he says and how he makes her feel.

So, let’s take a look at some tips for avoiding these charming narcissists who can convince you to marry them just with their words and the feelings they cause.

How to avoid marrying a charming narcissist who cheats on you

Here is some advice on how to avoid marrying a charming narcissist.

1. Evaluate a person based on objective evidence instead of how they make you feel with their words

There are a lot of lies coming out of the artists, actors, celebrities, etc. in this secular leftist culture that basically say that marriage is all about you and your feelings. If you prepared for marriage by watching movies made by pedophiles in Hollywood, and listening to music made by promiscuous musicians, and reading self-help fiction written by divorced spinsters, then you are not ready to detect a charming narcissist. Marriage is a practical enterprise, with distinct roles for husbands and wives that must be performed regardless of how either spouse feels. You need to understand and evaluate what behaviors are expected of husbands and wives in a marriage, and then look for evidence that the person you want to marry can perform those behaviors.

For example, if the behavior is fidelity, then the person should be able to demonstrate chastity and self-control during the courtship, and produce references from past girlfriends / boyfriends, and have written about chastity and self-control using research sources to explain the connection between premarital sex and marital instability. If you’re choosing with your feelings, and you haven’t done an analysis of marriage roles, and partner abilities, you’re headed for a disaster.

Just so you know, when I said this to some of the pro-irresponsibility, non-judgemental women I know, their response was to laugh in my face at the idea of asking someone’s previous partners about whether they were chaste and self-controlled. And this is why people are taken by surprise by the charming talk of narcissists. Feelings-oriented people today laugh at the idea of doing any evaluation, preferring to rely on their feelings. A lot of the failure to choose wisely is just down to people not understanding how the world works, then trying to manufacture a psycho-babble rationalization of why they screwed up.

When you’re hiring someone, you do a job interview, you test their skills, you contact their references, you do a drug test, a credit check, a criminal record check. And you have other skilled people sit in on the interviews and tests, in order to make sure that the person can really do the job they are being interviewed for. The marriage evaluation should include everything that the job interview includes as a minimum. Marriage is at least as complicated as choosing to hire someone for a job. If you aren’t doing the bare minimum of evaluating their education, career and finances, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

2. Learn what it takes to make morality rational, and then determine if your candidate is capable of being moral

Because marriage deals so much with moral obligations, it’s incumbent on you to read extensively on moral issues. You yourself should have developed worldview (through study and debate) that rationally grounds the minimum requirements for moral values and duties: 1) free will, 2) consciousness, 3) objective moral values, 4) objective moral duties, 5) a divine judge, 6) life after death. Why? Because doing the right thing isn’t something that you always feel like doing. When doing the right thing goes against your feelings, you will need to have a reason to act against your own self-interest. And that reason is going to be because the world is the sort of place where morality is real, and independent of your feelings, where you are a free moral agent, and where is a divine judge and an afterlife.

At the center of the ability to rationally ground morality is the ability to know God is real rationally, and to defend his existence using objective evidence and logical arguments. If you don’t know whether God exists based on logic and evidence, how will you evaluate whether someone else knows it? If you can’t rationally ground doing the right thing when it goes against your interest, then you won’t be able to know how to ask questions and investigate in order to decide whether someone else is moral or not.  Marrying someone who doesn’t believe in a moral lawgiver and a moral judge after death is as prudent to going into a city dump eating all your meals from what you find there.

In the specific case of fidelity, it’s important to remember that some people have goals and an understanding about how poor choices right now will make those goals more difficult to obtain. It’s easy to say that you want your spouse to be faithful. But what’s really needed is to measure what they are really trying to achieve in life, and whether they understand how infidelity would affect those plans. If you can’t see from their past decisions that they KNOW that 1) marriage and family are important enough to sacrifice for and 2) that they understand and apply the research that shows what decisions helps to make a marriage last (e.g. – no premarital sex), then, they don’t really have the goals and the information that you want in a marriage partner.

Conclusion

I have to end this post with the reaction from my friend Lindsay, who is one of my reliable advisors. She responded to Lee and Mary above with this:

There are ways to avoid marrying a narcissist, addict, abuser, or other bad man. However, most women don’t know how to evaluate men because no one ever told them what to watch for or that they need to focus on long term character traits and not ignore red flags. They have been actively encouraged to follow their hearts and indoctrinated in this view since they were small children. That doesn’t mean they are without blame, but they have also been let down by their families, friends, and society as a whole. Women need the eyes of family and friends on the men they date to help them see problems they might not recognize and warn them. But too often, family and friends are too uncomfortable saying something and think they are supposed to stay out of it. Our society has broken down and women do not have the protections they need.

Lindsay probably has the best and most successful marriage of anyone I know. She did everything right that I tell young women to do. Multiple STEM degrees, debt-free, years of private sector experience, married a virgin as a virgin herself right in the middle of her 23-27 year window, and is now a homeschooling mother of 3. Perfect, and did a thorough evaluation of her perfect husband Doug. Doug had done enormous amounts of work demonstrating through actions and achievements that he had the character and skills to be an excellent husband and father. Anyone who evaluated him beyond the surface level of talk and feelings and “confidence” would have found a gold mine of husband and father capability. Capabilities which are now on display in their marriage.

Note: in all truth, this is something that men do even more than women. Men choose entirely on appearance, they dirty themselves up with unchastity as if that has no effect on their ability to evaluate a woman properly, they read next to nothing about feminism and divorce, and then they cry and whine when the bad woman they married cleans them out in divorce courts. My recommendation to men is that they spend more time on education, career, finances, morality and Christianity, and less time getting drunk, watching sports, and having premarital sex. Get yourself some good advisors and get started early on evaluating young women for the roles of wife and mother. If they haven’t prepared for marriage like Lindsay did, dump them immediately, and move on to the next candidate.