Tag Archives: Self-Control

Unmarried 35-year-old woman reflects on her adventurous life of fun, travel and serial cohabitation

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

I found an interesting article featuring a 35-year-old woman who is alarmed that her approach to life has left her in debt and single, with a gap-filled resume of short-term jobs. I thought it might be useful for young women to read this, and consider whether making “rash” decisions and being “adventurous” works out.

She writes:

I feel like a ghost. I’m a 35-year-old woman, and I have nothing to show for it. My 20s and early 30s have been a twisting crisscross of moves all over the West Coast, a couple of brief stints abroad, multiple jobs in a mediocre role with no real upward track. I was also the poster child for serial monogamy. My most hopeful and longest lasting relationship (three and a half years, whoopee) ended two years ago. We moved to a new town (my fourth new city), created a home together, and then nose-dived into a traumatic breakup that launched me to my fifth and current city and who-knows-what-number job.

Rash decisions, adventure, exploring…. and lots of debt:

For all these years of quick changes and rash decisions, which I once rationalized as adventurous, exploratory, and living an “original life,” I have nothing to show for it. I have no wealth, and I’m now saddled with enough debt from all of my moves, poor decisions, and lack of career drive that I may never be able to retire. I have no career milestones and don’t care for my line of work all that much anyway, but now it’s my lifeline, as I only have enough savings to buy a hotel room for two nights.

No STEM degree, which means she doesn’t like to study hard things that can be tested against the real world for correctness:

I used to consider myself creative — a good writer, poetic, passionate, curious. Now, after many years of demanding yet uninspiring jobs, multiple heartbreaks, move after move, financial woes, I’m quite frankly exhausted.

Surprised by aging and poor health:

Also, within the past year I’ve had a breast-cancer scare and required surgery on my uterus due to a fertility issue. On top of that, I’m 35 and every gyno and women’s-health website this side of the Mississippi is telling me my fertility is dropping faster than a piano falling out of the sky. Now I’m looking into freezing my eggs, adding to my never-ending financial burden, in hopes of possibly making something of this haunted house and having a family someday with a no-named man.

She’s still trying to be the sexpot 25-year-old she used to be:

I’m dating. I’m working out and working hard. Listening to music I enjoy and loving my cat. Calling my mom…. I’m drinking too much… And with men I date, I feel pressure to make something of the relationship too soon (move in, get married, “I have to have kids in a couple of years”; fun times!). All the while still trying to be the sexpot 25-year-old I thought I was until what seemed like a moment ago.

But her plan hasn’t worked out:

I used to think I was the one who had it all figured out. Adventurous life in the city! Traveling the world! Making memories! Now I feel incredibly hollow. And foolish. How can I make a future for myself that I can get excited about out of these wasted years?  What reserves or identity can I draw from when I feel like I’ve accrued nothing up to this point with my life choices?

Well, I’ve known women like this, and I think we’re going to see more and more women like this as the society becomes more secular and feminist. I want to say something about whether she is sincere about wanting to get married and have children, and what women should do to avoid ending up like her.

Do women today understand male nature and marriage?

This woman’s demonstrated life plan is that she chose whatever made her feel good from age 18-35+, and now wants to enter into a marriage some time after age 35. And what does marriage mean to her? Has she prioritized entering the traditional roles of wife and mother? Don’t listen to her words. Look at her actions. Her actions show that marriage and children were of NO importance to her. And her current approach to getting married and having kids is the same as ever – work out in order to look hot, and try to coerce a man who signs up for recreational sex with no commitment into becoming a man who makes a life-long commitment to provide for her and her children (which is the opposite of what he signed up for). She wants marriage now for the same reason that she’s wanted anything: for fun, thrills, adventure and to keep up with her girlfriends who are already married.

What kind of man should she have been pursuing from age 18 to 35, if she really wanted marriage and children? Well, the first thing to realize is that not all men want marriage. And the next thing to realize is that women who are serious about marriage need to focus ONLY on men who want to marry. All the men that the women quoted above wanted in her youth didn’t want to marry. They wanted premarital recreational sex with her, and that was fine with her – she chose them, and disregarded the men who were interested in marriage.

A man who was interested in marrying her would have:

  • ….told her no to sex before marriage (because the more sexual partners a woman has, the less happy she will be in marriage, and the more unstable her marriage will be).
  • …led her to become better at being a wife and mother, by discouraging her thrill-seeking, traveling and wasteful spending, and instead encouraging her focus on a STEM education, career and getting debt-free.
  • …led her to develop a Christian worldview in which she would understand the importance of marriage and children, and learn to sacrifice her own interests to love and care for others.

Was she interested in getting ready for marriage? No. She never chose those marriage-minded men. She didn’t want to be a wife. The men she chose were chosen for fun, for thrills, and to show off their outward appearance to her girlfriends.

So, who are the men in this group of marriage-minded men? How do you recognize them? Marriage-minded men are interested in marriage because they want to lead a home. They will have invested a lot of time learning how to protect others, how to provide, and how to debate and lead on moral and spiritual issues. Marriage-minded men see the marriage enterprise as a way of advancing the causes that they care about most. Women who really want to get married will recognize those men, and pursue those men. And they’ll do it early, so that they can invest in their husbands early and be young enough to have children.

What’s behind the epidemic of false rape accusations on campus?

College students puking in toilet
College students puking in toilet

Heather McDonald is concerned about the feminist left’s effort to undermine the presumption of innocence for men accused of rape. She makes an argument in the prestigious City Journal that there is actually a reason why we should not believe women’s rape claims, especially in an age of feminism, until we have the evidence that proves that the man being accused is guilty.

First, she gives an example of the fake rape charge made by the Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz. I’ll omit the history of consent before, during, and after the sex and go straight to the reason for the false accusation:

It wasn’t until eight months after their August 2012 coupling that Sulkowicz filed a campus-rape charge, alleging that Nungesser had anally raped her while she struggled and told him to stop. She claims that she waited so long to file so as to avoid re-traumatizing herself. Nungesser argues that she was simply chagrined that they had not become an exclusive couple.

Reason magazine actually reported that she texted Nungesser to come over and “f*** me in the butt”. We have that text, and we know that this happened. So what happened? She had painful sex with a guy, and the relationship ended, and she wanted to shame him for breaking up with her after she gave him recreational sex. She felt she was entitled to a relationship after doing so much.

Here’s another one where the consent was documented before during and after the act, and the woman made a false accusation after because she was disappointed that the sex did not result in a relationship:

In September 2013, two freshmen at Occidental College in Southern California had sex after both had been on a 24-hour drinking binge.

Jane reported their coupling to campus authorities only after seeing that John was unaffected emotionally by it, whereas she, having lost her virginity, felt distracted and unable to concentrate.

He was found guilty of rape and expelled.

In another case:

In another case, a female student was caught by her boyfriend while cheating on him with another male student. She then filed a complaint of assault against that second male. The morning after their sexual encounter, they had exchanged texts. He wrote: “How do I compare with your boyfriend?” She responded to the boy she later accused of rape: “You were great.”

Saying no to the hot guy would have deprived her of a pleasurable experience. The rape charge got her out of being sanctioned by her boyfriend and judged by her peers. She probably couldn’t even understand why her boyfriend was angry, or why her friends thought less of her. After all, it’s her right to pursue happiness, and nobody should judge her.

So, what’s really happening? What’s really happening is that women are consenting to sex, sometimes after having chosen to get drunk, then when they sober up and realize how it makes them look to others – their boyfriends, their peers, their family, their pastors – they use rape charges as an excuse to rehabilitate their reputation. Regret over consensual sex is driving the rape accusations.

MacDonald explains:

Our booze-fueled hook-up culture has made relations between men and women messier than ever, leaving many girls and women with pangs of regret—but those regrets do not equal rape. If we were actually in the midst of an “epidemic of sexual assault,” as New Jersey senator Cory Booker asserted the evening of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings, we would presumably have seen women and girls take protective actions, such as avoiding frat parties and flocking to single-sex schools. None of those protective actions has occurred, however. Either women are too clueless to avoid patent danger, or the epidemic of sexual assault is a fiction. All evidence points to the latter conclusion.

I have some thoughts about this, too.

In my experience dealing with women on college campuses, they tend to want a relationship, but the only men they are attracted to are hot bad boys who refuse to commit to them with marriage before having sex. So, the women give the hot non-committing bad boys the sex, thinking that the sex will be so good that it will lead to a relationship. The alcohol is used to provide an excuse later on, if the sex doesn’t result in a relationship. And if it doesn’t result in a relationship, they accuse the hot bad boy of rape in order to restore their reputation with their friends, (“I’m not a slut”), and punish the hot bad boy for not committing to them.

The more distrust there is between men and women, the fewer men and women will get married. What should we do? We should encourage women to stop drinking so much, to stop choosing men for fun and thrills, to stop having recreational sex, and to stop blaming their own poor choices on men.

UPDATE: Glenn found a great article at The Federalist which talks about women making poor choices, then blaming the bad men they freely chose:

But in the Me Too era and under the burgeoning expectation of enthusiastic consent, the first questions asked are something like, “What kind of horrible man would do this?” and, “How can we make him pay for this crime yucky way he behaved toward women?” Any attempt to ask why a woman would invite a man into her bedroom late into the evening if she didn’t want to have sex with him, accept the offer of a third date after she really didn’t enjoy the first two, or continue a years-long sexual relationship even though sometimes the sex made her feel bad, are considered victim blaming. It is as though we are to believe that the woman involved has no agency, no free will, and no control over her own choices.

A lot of harmful and costly social outcomes happen when women choose bad men, and do bad things with those men. Abortion, divorce, single mother welfare, fatherlessness, and deterring good men from having relationships (because women are seen as crazy and irresponsible). We’d better start holding women accountable to make better decisions about men, and prioritize marriage over fun and thrills.

Where to get help if you have a selfish, absent or abusive mother or father

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

Today, I want to say something this article about lambs in Scotland, written by Sheila Walsh in the The Stream.

She writes:

I am very fond of sheep. I grew up on the west coast of Scotland with sheep all around me, field after field of white wool and incessant crying when things seemed a little off.

[…]Of all the lessons I have learned from these defenseless, gentle animals, the most profound is the most painful. Every now and then, a ewe will give birth to a lamb and immediately reject it. Sometimes the lamb is rejected because they are one of twins and the mother doesn’t have enough milk or she is old and frankly quite tired of the whole business. They call those lambs, bummer lambs.

Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die. So the shepherd will take that little lost one into his home and hand feed it from a bottle and keep it warm by the fire. He will wrap it up warm and hold it close enough to hear a heartbeat. When the lamb is strong the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock.

“Off you go now, you can do this, I’m right here.”

The most beautiful sight to see is when the shepherd approaches his flock in the morning and calls them out, “Sheep, sheep, sheep!”

The first to run to him are the bummer lambs because they know his voice. It’s not that they are more loved — it’s just that they believe it.

I am so grateful that Christ calls himself the Good Shepherd.

“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:3-4 NLT)

My older brother and I grew up with a mother who was very much focused on her career and earning and saving money for her retirement. We were both stuck in daycare very early after being born, so that she could go back to work right away. (Me after 6 weeks) My older brother has shown the ill effects of our parents (especially our mother) not having any plan for us, especially morally and spiritually. He dropped out of college after failing his first year, never had a career. Although he has normal intelligence and mental health, he never could stick in any real job.

Although there were early warning signs when his grades started to drop in Grade 5, my parents never took responsibility to make a plan to solve it. Oh, they would yell and scream at him at report card time, but just for a day or two, and after that, nothing constructive. My brother decided that he could just ride out the flak my parents gave him on report card night, and keep going with his plan of having fun and being popular. My parents just forgot about it until the next report card day, because they did not want to be distracted from their careers, hobbies and retirement planning. When dispensing rewards, my brother was always given the same as me, despite our different levels of achievement. And my parents considered this equal dispensation of rewards regardless of performance to be a great virtue, and excellent parenting.

I had the exact same upbringing as my older brother. He actually did pretty well until Grade 5 just like me, but then our paths diverged. From Grade 5 on, his grades deterioriated. He got tired of having to study and he was more interested in the opinions of his peers and conforming to popular culture. In my case, from Grade 5 on, my grades were always high-90s. I remember taking the same classes as he did, in the same high school, with the same teachers. He got a 44 in data processing, I got a 96 with the same teacher and won the award for the entire grade. Every class I went to, the teachers would speak fondly of my older brother – he was a nice guy, very popular with his peers, good at sports. But not a very good student. How was it that I was winning awards when he had scored so poorly. Was I really his brother? How could we be so different?

The difference is that in Grade 5, he got a Gideon’s New Testament and he read it and he didn’t put it into practice, and in Grade 5, I got a Gideon’s New Testament and I read it twice and I did put it into practice. That was the difference. I had the awareness of the moral law (i.e.- wisdom) that allowed me to judge my parents and judge my peers and judge my teachers and stand alone. When you cannot rely on anyone to lead you, be able to judge when others mistreat you is very important. That is what allows you to maintain appropriate boundaries and minimize the influence of friends and family who are teaching you self-destructive behaviors. Awareness of the moral law is what allows you to stop trying to please people who do not want what is best for you. On the other hand, God is always willing to give you wisdom if you ask Him for it, and you can find out all about him because he has left plenty of evidence concerning his existence and character for you to find. It is in knowing God as he really is that you can find your sense of value, purpose and meaning. The God of the New Testament is the God of people who are lost and need a Savior.

For me, Christianity was a simple matter of being willing to go along with what was true, and not insisting on having fun or conforming to peer expectations. The essential characteristic of my faith, in contrast to my older brother’s lack of faith, was this – I did not mind being different, so long as I never lost a debate about what was true. My obedience to Christ has never been conditional on things going my way, on being liked, or anything like that. The only thing that mattered was being factually correct. It never bothered me what other people were doing, or what other people expected me to do, so long as I was acting on what I knew to be true. And God helped me to find out what was true by motivating me to study, and leading me to him with good evidence, and good mentors. Thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross, the mistakes I made early did not count against me, and they never will. Jesus’ death on the cross gives me the imputed righteousness that I need to stand before God holy and blameless. This is what allows me to keep learning and keep trying no matter how much I fail on any given day.

How has this affected me? Well, this is the second thing I wanted to say about the bummer lamb analogy. Since I was a victim of this hands-off, me-first style of parenting, it’s caused me to be extra sensitive about being a good spiritual leader to others in the same predicament. The people I mentor can see it in the way that I treat them . I treat them the opposite of the way that my older brother and I were treated. I care what people read. I care what courses they choose. I care what they eat. I care how they feel. I care about their finances. I care about their plans to serve God. I care about their romantic relationships. I care whether they get recognition for doing good. I care whether their life is going in the right direction. One person I mentored who once considered taking her own life wrote to me when she graduated from a STEM program, and she said this: “I wish you could have been here at my graduation. My parents only paid for this degree. You were the one who got me through it”. We have never met in person, but she is going to continue to make a huge difference for Christ and His Kingdom going forward.

I think when you have been a bummer lamb, you are extra careful to make decisions that will enable you to be a good shepherd to other lambs. Being a good shepherd does not mean being pious, spiritual, mystical, etc. Being a good shepherd does not mean making the lambs feel good about making bad decisions. Being a good shepherd means understanding what God has done to lead you, and then reflecting that love back to others in practical, self-sacrificial actions that solve actual real-world problems for other people who want to know and serve God. If you are about to jump off a cliff, the last thing you need is someone with no wisdom or experience telling you that God is OK with you doing whatever feels good to you. What you need is someone practical and competent to give you good advice, however much that advice may make you feel bad, or block your pursuit of fun.

One of my friends proof-read the draft of this post and told me that it made her think of 2 Cor 1:3-5:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Nothing else I do in life matters to me as much as taking care of the people I mentor, especially the ones who are lost and lacking guidance and care. I have good health, good education, good career, and great finances. But by far the most important thing I do is following the example of the Shepherd by caring for other lambs.

New study: 1 in 8 divorces is caused by student loan debt

I already mentioned the studies that show that marrying a non-virgin is less stable than marrying a virgin. But what about student loans? Are they a risk factor for divorce, too? I was reading over at Captain Capitalism and saw this CNBC article, which discusses data relevant to our recent discussion about whether men ought to prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos.

Excerpt:

When it comes to student loan debt, “for richer, for poorer” doesn’t quite cut it.

In general, finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a study by SunTrust Bank, but student debt takes a particularly hard toll on a marriage.

More than a third of borrowers said college loans and other money factors contributed to their divorce, according to a recent report from Student Loan Hero, a website for managing education debt.

In fact, 13 percent of divorcees blame student loans specifically for ending their relationship, the report found. Student Loan Hero surveyed more than 800 divorced adults in June.

Now, when deciding whether to marry and who to marry, it does make sense to me to think about what needs to be bought and how much these things cost, and where the money will come from. It just makes sense to me that people who are REALLY interested in marriage will be interested in doing what works to prepare for marriage. You can’t just do whatever you want before marrying, because marriage involves being faithful to your spouse, and buying things that you need for the marriage enterprise, like a home, and baby stuff. It doesn’t make any sense to say “I want to get married” and then not prepare for marriage by being careful about what behavior marriage requires of you.

This 2017 article from Harvard Business Review is interesting.

It says:

Examining 46,934 resumes shared on Glassdoor by people who graduated between 2010 and 2017, the researchers looked at each person’s college major and their post-college jobs in the five years after graduation. They then estimated the median pay for each of those jobs (also using Glassdoor data) for employees with five years of experience or less. Their key finding: “Many college majors that lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering are male dominated, while majors that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences and liberal arts tend to be female dominated, placing men in higher-paying career pathways, on average.”

Here’s the plot, and you can click it to expand it:

Starting salaries by major, broken out by gender
Median salaries by major, broken out by gender – don’t study things at the bottom!

Maybe we can just simplify this whole issue by saying “it’s unwise to marry people who choose not to prepare themselves for marriage”. That goes for men and women, by the way. Basically, you can avoid student loans if you study something that you don’t feel like studying, and work jobs that you don’t feel like working, and don’t buy things that you feel like buying. Don’t marry people who are led by their feelings. Marry someone who demonstrates self-control.

Anyway, I feel obligated to post a relevant Dave Ramsey video, just to remind everyone that stewardship of money is a Christian virtue, and that being forgiven by Jesus for your sins doesn’t make you good with money.

This one from 2014: (H/T Robb)

When I was in high school, I was far more interested in becoming an English teacher than I was in becoming a software engineer. It was my Dad who overruled my choice of college major when I was still in high school. He had me take a first-year English course at a local university. When I saw how politicized and useless it was (they were studying all sorts of politically correct postmodern relativist stuff, instead of the Great Works, and they weren’t trying to learn any wisdom from any of it), I chose computer science. I did what was likely to work, instead of what was easy and fun and made me feel good. I think this makes me a grown-up. And marriage should only be done if there are two grown-ups involved in the enterprise.

How can a successful writer who “is true to himself” end up poor?

My friend Lindsay sent me this article about a very successful writer who has trouble making ends meet.

The story appeared in left-leaning The Atlantic. I don’t want to rehash the whole thing, because I want to make a point.

So, first thing to quote, this guy looks like a success to others, even though he is actually really struggling:

The Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer: 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all. Four hundred dollars! Who knew?

Well, I knew. I knew because I am in that 47 percent.

[…]You wouldn’t know any of that to look at me. I like to think I appear reasonably prosperous. Nor would you know it to look at my résumé. I have had a passably good career as a writer—five books, hundreds of articles published, a number of awards and fellowships, and a small (very small) but respectable reputation. You wouldn’t even know it to look at my tax return. I am nowhere near rich, but I have typically made a solid middle- or even, at times, upper-middle-class income, which is about all a writer can expect, even a writer who also teaches and lectures and writes television scripts, as I do.

The thing I like about this guy is that he doesn’t blame anyone else but himself – he thinks that his own decisions led him to poverty. Rod Dreher has a nice list of the mistakes at American Conservative:

1) He chose to live in New York, which is one of the most expensive places to live in the country;
2) He chose to be a writer, not the most lucrative and stable career;
3) He and his wife chose to put their kids in private school, something they felt was necessary in their Brooklyn neighborhood, but an expense they could have avoided or dramatically lessened had they lived in another part of the country (they eventually moved to the Hamptons to get out of paying that tuition);
4) He and his wife believed their two children had “earned” the right to go to very expensive universities, and they spent everything they had, and the inheritance his parents planned to leave for him, on educating the girls;
5) They got caught in the housing crash and had to sell a Manhattan apartment they owned at fire sale prices;
6) Given the way his income as a writer is structured, taxes were a bitch (as a writer, trust me, this is true).

Pay close attention to 1 and 2. I would NEVER live in a garbage blue state like New York. I would rather be dead in a ditch than live in a state that is run by Democrats. I hate the high taxes and high spending of blue states. Blue states are great places to go if you want to work and have someone else steal all of your money to buy votes from lazy losers.

And as far as 2 goes, I don’t think that I need to repeat my warnings to everyone about non-STEM fields.

Well, OK, I will:

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

Regarding the housing crash that he mentioned, Democrats caused that, by forcing banks to loan money to people who couldn’t afford to pay it back. If he voted for the Democrats, then he screwed himself again.

Now, you might think that people end up poor because they want to do work that is fun and enjoyable. And that’s true, I’ve seen that. But this guy’s problem was that he just spent beyond his means. Why? Well, the writer explains that he is compelled to spend the money, because spending money defines who he is. He can’t say no, because he thinks that he has one life, and one chance to define himself. He can’t think about the future, because he has to spend every last dime today in order to be who he really wants to be.

Dreher comments:

He felt that to choose otherwise would have made him inauthentic, untrue to himself. He felt that he deserved the life he had, and could not choose otherwise without betraying himself. I think this must be an extraordinary thing, in terms of history: people who spend recklessly to give themselves the lives they think they deserve. If you think about it, though, our culture, which valorizes Authenticity, encourages this.

I have to tell you, I just don’t understand this. I define myself by Christian virtues – self-control, self-sacrifice, concern for others who I know personally and in my community. I’m not a spender. I am a saver by nature, and the older I get, the more grateful that I am closer to retirement than I was before. Working gets harder as you get older, even for jobs that don’t require physical labor.

If you plan ahead, you can get all your working and saving done before you’re 50. That was my approach. But I see other people who haven’t started working full-time by 30 and even by 35. Every day when you are in school instead of working full-time in your field is a wasted day. With few exceptions, you will learn more on the job than in the classroom. You want get out of school and get working as soon as possible, with an eye to getting married as soon as possible – since marriage is a wealth building engine. The faster you start investing, the more time your money has to grow through interest and dividends.

The bottom line is that my obligation as a Christian is not to be true to myself, or anything weird like that. My obligation is to make sure I don’t starve, and then to turn to the people around me and make sure that they don’t starve. Sometimes, that means giving them good advice. Sometimes, it means recognizing their achievements with little gifts. But the main thing is that the world isn’t safe enough for you to put off earning so that you can do what you feel is the “real you”. Being independent and then serving others is more important than being the “real you”.