Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Six ways for women to stamp out the risk of divorce

From the liberal Huffington Post, of all places. (H/T Stuart Schneiderman)

First, here’s the list of skills for women to develop to avoid divorce:

  • Skill #1: Do at Least Three Things a Day for Your Own Pleasure
  • Skill #2: Relinquish Control of People You Can’t Control
  • Skill #3: Receive Gifts, Compliments and Help Graciously
  • Skill #4: Respect The Man You Chose
  • Skill #5: Express Gratitude Three Times Daily
  • Skill #6: Strive to be Vulnerable

And here’s the detail on one that I think is the most important:

Skill #4: Respect The Man You Chose

Being respectful will resurrect the man you fell in love with. You’re too smart to have married a dumb guy, so if he seems dumb now, it’s because you’re focused on his shortcomings. It’s not that you made a mistake in marrying him, it’s that you’ve been focused on his mistakes since you married him. A man who feels respected by the woman who knows him best also feels self-respect, which is far more attractive than cowering and hostility.

Lack of respect causes more divorces than cheating does because for men, respect is like oxygen. They need it more than sex. Respect means that you don’t dismiss, criticize, contradict or try to teach him anything. Of course he won’t do things the same way you do; for that, you could have just married yourself. But with your respect, he will once again do the things that amazed and delighted you to begin with — so much so that you married him.

And here’s the detail on the one that I think is the most neglected:

Skill #6: Strive to be Vulnerable

Intimacy and vulnerability are directly connected. If you want intimacy, then you’ll need to take the risk of admitting that you’re lonely, embarrassed or hurt. This is not the same as weakness; it actually requires great strength.

When you’re vulnerable you don’t care about being right, you’re just open and trusting enough to say “I miss you” instead of “you never spend time with me.” It means you simply say, “ouch!” when he’s insensitive instead of retaliating. That vulnerability completely changes the way he responds to you.

Vulnerability is not only attractive, it’s the only way to get to that incredible feeling of being loved just the way you are by someone who knows you well. There’s nothing like the joy of intimacy that results from vulnerability. It really is worth dropping the burden of being an efficient, overscheduled superwoman to have it.

Before I get started,  a piece of advice for men. I really, really recommend that single men take the time to read ALL the comments by the women underneath that post before they even think about getting married. It’s important for single men to realize that your old-fashioned ideas about marriage and what women should do in a marriage are often not accepted by modern women – even Christian women. Most churches don’t emphasize the things in the list above, because they are trying to make women feel good, and not to tell them what needs doing and how to do it. When you read the comments by women blaming men and attacking the 6 points, that will help you to see what you should be looking for, so you know how to make sound judgments about who to marry and whether to marry at all.

Right. Let’s begin with the 6 points.

From that list above, the ones I have personally encountered are #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6.

For #1, many unmarried women think that relationships are more about being happy than achieving things. If the woman gets into a relationship for happiness, and is not happy, then she may blame the man for failing to make her happy. The solution is to have a more realistic balance between happiness and self-sacrificial service. An unmarried women should focus on finding out what the man’s plans and goals are, and why he needs her. She has to focus on showing him that she wants to be informed and engaged in helping him. That is the best way for her to work through this desire to be happy, so that she learns by doing how to balance the need for happiness with the obligation to serve and achieve. Another way to lower the need for happiness provided by the man is for the woman to have her own interests. For example, my favorite single woman likes to spend time in the evening decompressing with stuff like cross-stitching, reading, playing with her cat, etc. before we do stuff together. She has her own sources of happiness and that means that I am not overburdened every day as the sole source of happiness. That can be overwhelming on days where she is stressed out from work.

For #3 and #5, I have to tell a funny story about what I have been doing lately with my favorite single woman, whose name I won’t mention. I have been busy trying to get her to tell me all about what her life is like from day to day and then buying her small things to help her out with her daily struggles. For example, I bought her an ice scraper so that she wouldn’t have to scrape ice off her windshield with her gloves. I bought her kitchen shears so that she wouldn’t have to fuss with raw chicken. And I am planning to get her a new corded hand-vacuum for Christmas because she has to lug the heavy one up and down the stairs now. Why am I fussing so much about this woman? Because she is the most grateful woman I know. Whenever I do anything for her, she tells everyone about it and I hear about how helpful I’ve been every time she uses whatever I bought her. Women, get it clear: men prefer to help grateful women. Especially ones who are busy helping them with their plans and goals. When we see you serving God in accordance with our priorities and goals (e.g. – apologetics!), that’s when we really want to give you gifts and listen to your needs. Because we see you doing what we are passionate about, and we naturally think “how can I motivate her to do that?” and “how can I make it easier for her to do that?”

For #4, I have a whole post on the importance of respect. I think the scariest thing for a woman is thinking that she will have to respect a bad men, even when he is bad. But women like that are looking at marriage wrong. The respect is non-negotiable. You will respect your husband or you will be cheated on or divorced. So with that in mind, choose a man who you do respect. That’s the solution – test the men carefully and effectively and choose one who is easy to respect. Find out during the courtship if you like the way he leads, persuades and makes decisions. Choose a man who listens to you and motivates you to do good things. Choose a man based on what marriage will require him to be doing, not based on how he makes you feel or whether your friends will be impressed.

For #6, I think that women really need to realize the power of vulnerability. My view, which is controversial, is that the reason why women are focusing so much on their appearance and getting themselves drunk in order to do hook-up sex is because feminism has made it illegal for them to attract men with traditional femininity. Vulnerability, trust, modesty, nurturing, care, concern, attention, support, etc. are all viewed by unmarried women as illegal and even immoral – even though they work on men very well. In particular, vulnerability, respect and trust are among the most important things to a good man. Men treat women nicely when they see how sensitive women are to good treatment and bad treatment. If a woman squeals, squeaks and coos when she gets flowers and treats them like pets and rearranges them often and photographs them and tweets them on Twitter, then the chances are that she will get a lot more flowers from that man. Because men are motivated by the desire to make a difference and to be appreciated and to be special to a woman who needs us. When a good woman doing good things that are challenging and difficult explains her real doubts and feelings and worries and fears to a man, that’s when a man feels motivated to swoop in there and rescue her. Women need to practice being vulnerable, and to protect their ability to be vulnerable by avoiding premarital sex and messy breakups. Choose good men so that you always see men at their best, and marry one that you have chosen before you kiss him on the lips. I knew one woman once who was cheating on her boyfriend with a guy who had a girlfriend, and his girlfriend called and he lied right in front of her! What do you think that this does to her ability to trust men in the future? It ruins it – having bad experiences like that. Maintain your ability to trust and be vulnerable by being rational, prudent and responsible with men. It is fun to be vulnerable with a man! Don’t compromise your ability to be a woman by choosing the wrong men for the wrong reasons and then getting bitter and jaded and mistrustful.

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Courting rules: how to respect a Christian man in the style of Ephesians 5

I have been thinking a lot about Christian women and respect lately, and reflecting over some of the things that I have experienced with different ones that either worked or did not work. Unfortunately, it is crunch time at work, so I might not be completely coherent in this post, but I thought I would write something out anyway.

There are times when the Bible suggests a way that Christians ought to behave, and one of those cases has to do with wives giving respect to husbands in the marriage:

Ephesians 5:21-33:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

26 to make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—

30 for we are members of his body.

31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

I think it’s important for us to think about how to implement the specification that the Bible sets out for men and women in marriage. The Bible sometimes sets out rules and goals for expected behaviors, which become moral obligations for anyone for follows Christ. It is up to us to convince ourselves through study that the Bible has authority to speak to us. And it is also up to us to decide the most effective way to achieve the goals that the Bible sets out. This post proposes some tips for women who want to learn how to respect men, based on my experiences of what makes me feel respected as a man. I think this is beneficial for single women, as well, because it allows them to arouse the interest of a man by performing good actions.

A bit about me

There are some things you need to know about me before we can talk about what what women do to me that causes me to feel respected.

Here are some things that I want to accomplish:

  • Be able to have a stay at home mother to raise our children so that they will know God, be moral and achieve great things for God in areas that matter
  • Be able to fix the problem of anti-intellectualism in the church by training more and more Christians in apologetics and worldview, including politics, economics, etc.
  • Be able to have a presence at the university, e.g. – by being a Christian professor, or by supporting Christian scholars, or by sponsoring Christian scholars to speak and debate at the university
  • Be able to speak, write or teach about apologetics and worldview to the general public, for example people who read my blog or my co-workers, so that they either learn how to do it, or become more respectful of Christianity and its founder
I am actually working on all of those things, and many of the decisions and sacrifices that I’ve made so far have been to achieve those things at a higher level.

Things that women do that make me feel respected

1. Work

The first thing that really works is listening. I really feel respected when a woman listens to me explain my thoughts and feelings. This is especially true when I am talking about my work and my work day. When it comes to my work, I feel respected when a woman listens to me explain what I am doing. This allows her to be able to support me more because she understands what I am saying when I talk with terms like “unit tests”, “web services”, “source code repository”, etc. The more time she invests in understanding software engineering (what I do for money), the more supported I will feel. I feel a lot better making sacrifices (studying hard things, working weekends, volunteering at work) when those sacrifices are understood, encouraged and supported. For example, I felt respected recently when I was working on the weekend and could not speak to a lady I really wanted to speak to. Instead of getting upset about my absence, she started making suggestions on how I could be more effective at work, by bringing healthy food so I don’t go to the vending machine or my co-workers’ candy dishes, by asking me about my progress every few hours. I feel respected when I can talk about my work and then be encouraged and supported in it.

2. Plan

Another area that is important to talk about is my plan. I like it when I can tell a woman the specific experiences that I had that cause me to have the plan that I have. For example, my struggles getting apologetics into the churches that I’ve attended have really soured me on church leaders. Another thing I like to talk about are the Christian scholars who are my role models, and how I try to emulate them, and I want my children to emulate them, too. One lady I was speaking to has been studying areas that I care about on her own through books, lectures and debates and then going out into the world and engaging with the people around her. Sometimes just a few people, and sometimes with large groups. Recently she told me that she would like to start a group in her church to study useful books with them. This made me feel very respected. My goals matter to her, and she is trying to help with them on her own initiative, and with her own strategies. Note that women who want to respect men may find that it is useful to learn certain skills in order to be more effective at helping men with their plans. For example, she might study investing and start investing her own money, or she might study science apologetics and then engage her co-workers and friends with scientific arguments for Christian theism. She should find out what areas matter to him with respect to serving God and then come alongside him and help him.

3. Roles

A final area that is important is my roles as a man. I have been a Christian for a long time now, and I have noticed that many Christian women in the church are basically secular in the way that they choose men. Many Christian women are guided by their emotions, by pop culture notions of romance, and peer approval – even the approval of their peer group. According to the Bible, men are supposed to be the main provider for their families. So, I made the decision early in my life to prefer work to academics – so I have actually been earning money since the time I was 12 years old. My grades were As, but I was always working part-time, and in the summers. The money I earned went straight into investments, so that I would be able to afford two degrees in computer science (BS and MS) and have a nest egg saved for marriage. I had $9,000 before undergraduate school and $16,000 after, with no debts and a car. I chose computer science over English literature, because I knew that computer science was a more reliable way to earn a living. Marriages run more smoothly when money isn’t a concern, so I had to take practical steps in order to avoid a known risk factor for divorce.

But women also have a role related to providing. Their role is to prefer men who take that provider obligation seriously. I feel very respected when a woman takes the time to ask me about my education, research, employment, and investments. Our culture today doesn’t value men taking their provider roles seriously. Instead, many women prefer men who will not be able to exercise the authority in the home that comes from being a competent provider. They sometimes prefer to see all choices in education and work as equal, so that no man is more respected than any other man based on education, earning and saving. I see a lot of Christian women going after men who are much younger than they are, with non-STEM degrees, who have no savings, and no practical plan for financing a marriage – much less a homeschooling stay-at-home mother. That is disrespectful of the provider role, and I believe it stems from the desire to not acknowledge male leadership. When a woman minimizes the education, career and savings of the man, it diminishes her regard for his ability to navigate the world and take responsibility. Many women want to be swept along by impressions of confidence and superficial indicators of success. But this is not wise: a man who has a gap-less resume and an investment portfolio is a good provider, and a man who lives with his parents at age 30 is not – even if he is confident, has a deep voice, nice shoes, big shoulders, and a square jaw.

To treat unequals as equals in this important area is disrespectful and unBiblical – it disrespects the Bible’s mandate that the man be a good provider and instead substitutes an emotional/pop culture/peer-approval standard of what counts as a good man. Additionally, women need to have an understanding of the external conditions that strengthen a man’s ability to take on the provider role. To respect a man acting as a provider also requires voting for policies that support a man’s ability to work (e.g. – less regulation on business, lower corporate taxes) to keep what he earns (lower income tax, lower inflation) and to spend it the way he sees fit (privatization of health care, education, etc.) – and these issues need to be studied, not checked off on a checklist as “we agree”. Studying economics and politics in depth, and being political active, are ways for women to respect men in their provider role. Women need to take action to enable policies and laws that promote liberty and prosperity. They should not be supporting policies that promote the redistribution of wealth, or reward irresponsibility and dependence. They should not support policies that punish men who work hard at being providers while rewarding men who refuse to be providers.

It also helps when a woman studies hard topics on her own – math, science, engineering and technology – and builds up her own investment portfolio. It helps her to be able to be respectful to a man because she understands exactly what he studies and exactly how hard work is and exactly how hard it is to save money in a society creeping towards socialism. A woman who experiences sacrifice and hardship herself is more likely to respect a man who does the same in order to be ready for marriage, even if she eventually gives up work when there are young children to raise. And this works for other male roles. For example, men who guard their chastity in order to protect women from infidelity should be respected for making that decision. It’s important for women to study marriage research, e.g. – how factors like chastity and church attendance and cohabitation increase or decrease marriage stability, so that they have reasons and evidence to prefer men who choose to make that sacrifice.

Men also study moral questions like abortion and marriage, as well as spiritual areas like apologetics and theology, so that they can advocate for the victims of abortion and marital breakdown. Again, women must study the research on these issues so that they are able to prefer men who can do this over men who can’t. Christianity is not a checkbox and you cannot equate someone who understands these issues with someone who doesn’t because both attend church. When a woman puts in the effort to study apologetics, moral issues, economics and foreign policy, then a real man feels respected – because he knows that she has a standard for judging him that is a true measure of his ability to be a husband and father. It is important to treat a man who takes his male roles seriously differently from other men who do not take those male roles seriously.

Conclusion

One of the best ways to respect a man is to speak highly of his abilities in all 3 of these areas to others. If women are careful about the man they choose, then they should be able to speak highly of him with others. When a woman praises a good man, it is a signal to other men about what they should be doing in order to impress women. To change the culture and to encourage men towards marriage, women must be intentional about who they celebrate and why they celebrate them. It also helps if they understand what policies make marriage a more realistic undertaking for men, and then advocate for those policies. Again, this requires reading things like economics and law to understand what challenges a man will face from government and ideologies (feminism, socialism) should he choose to marry, and making sure that those challenges are reduced. A man feels respected when a woman has developed a detailed understanding of what marriage is about and how society needs to change to support and respect men who choose to marry and become fathers. The Bible says that divorce is morally wrong, so it is up to men and women to make decisions that reduce the risk of divorce. We can’t just float through life relying on our emotions and thinking that God has a secret, mysterious plan and there is nothing for us to do. Usually, that attitude will just make us avoid learning and avoid making hard decisions to prepare for marriage, and that will not do – we are responsible to avoid divorce, and we have to make an effort in order to achieve that goal.

If any of my female readers are interested in learning about men and what men need in order to act competently as protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders, you can take a look at Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” as well as Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages“. To understand the connection between marriage and policy, try Jay Richards’ “Indivisible“. And don’t merely read the books – put it into practice by advocating for men and marriage from church to university to workplace to courtroom to government. Make plans to show that you respect Christian men who know what they are doing and why. Don’t rely on your emotions to guide you – this is more of an obligation requires training, recon, planning and execution. (The same way that a man prepares to love a woman and then loves her – because women need love just like men need respect). Men pay attention to women who respect them, and it’s much better for women to get attention from men by learning about them and helping them than by trying to bypass respecting the man to get attention by leveraging appearance and sexuality to get attention. And, of course, some men cannot be respected, so don’t choose one of those.

NOTE: Please post improvements for this post in the comments, as I may be posting this elsewhere if it gets a positive response. Please share it on Facebook and Twitter if you find it useful.

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Valentine’s Day: What to do if you don’t have a wife or sweetheart

What do white roses mean?

I wrote this post to encourage Christian men to find faithful Christian women and support them with a gift of white roses. If you know a woman who is faithful but neglected, then white roses are the perfect gift. And in the rest of the post, I want to explain why.

I’ll start with a couple of articles that explain the message I am trying to send a woman with white roses. One you understand what the meaning of white roses is, then you’ll get ideas on how to communicate to a woman by giving them to her.

Excerpt:

The meaning of shimmering white roses is not very hard to decipher if you go by their appearance. The color white has always been synonymous with purity and virtue. And so, sincerity, purity, and chastity are some of the obvious meanings of a white rose. When you need to convince that your affections are straight from the heart and are as pure as virgin snow, use a white rose. But there are more hidden meanings in a white rose than meets the eye.

White has ever been a symbol of innocence, of a world unspoiled and untarnished. The meaning of a bunch of glowing white roses is innocence and spiritual love. The white rose glorifies a love that is unaware of the temptations of the flesh and resides only in the soul. As opposed to the red rose that speaks of passionate promises, the meaning of a white rose is in its simplicity and pristine purity.

That’s the standard mainstream meaning of white roses. I normally give three of them, to symbolize the Trinity. (My banner is a pure black field with 3 narrow horizontal pure white stripes)

But there’s more – there’s a meaning to white roses that is much higher than mere feelings.

How about this?

It has also come to mean loyalty and faith, which can be strongly linked to purity. In true love, faithfulness and loyalty are implicit, despite distance or time. For these symbols, white roses are a perfect gift to a beloved who is far away, as they will display not only your love, but also your fidelity. White roses are also the perfect gift to send to a platonic friend, for a similar reason: constant, faithful love, mixed with the symbolism of innocence, is a wonderful way to show your love for a dear friend.

[...]At the same time, as the uses throughout history have shown, the white rose is also a symbol of strong resistance and the will to stand for one’s beliefs at any cost. Giving a white rose as a gift is a very strong gift. It is not fleeting passion or romance, which is too often what the red rose conveys. The white rose is a strong and consistent love, which is pure, faithful and sacrificial. Not many flowers have such a powerful meaning to their name. And this meaning comes to the rose not only through folklore and stories, but through true histories of brave people fighting for their cause. The white rose is a beautiful flower, with beautiful symbolism, and a friend or lover should be proud to give this flower as a gift to those they love steadily and faithfully.

White roses also stand for humility, reverence, honor and secrecy.

Desert Rose by White Heart

I like this old song by the Christian band White Heart a lot.

Desert Rose Lyrics:

Lost in a windswept land
In a world of shifting sand
A fragile flower stands apart

There in that barren ground
Feel like the only one
Trying to serve Him with all your heart

And you wonder, wonder
Can you last much longer?
This cloud you are under
Will it cover you?

Desert rose, desert rose
Don’t you worry, don’t be lonely
Heaven knows, Heaven knows
In a dry and weary land a flower grows
His desert rose, desert rose

Sometimes holiness
Can seem like emptiness
When you feel the whole world’s laughing eyes

If it’s a lonely day
Know you’re on the Father’s way
He will hear you when you cry

And He will hold you, hold you
Your Father will hold you
He will love you, love you
For the things you do

Desert rose, desert rose
Don’t you worry, don’t be lonely
Heaven knows, Heaven knows
In a dry and weary land a flower grows
His desert rose, desert rose

Desert rose, desert rose
Don’t you worry, don’t be lonely
Heaven knows, Heaven knows
In a dry and weary land a flower grows
His desert rose, desert rose

Desert rose, don’t be lonely, don’t be lonely
Desert rose, ooh, don’t you worry
Desert rose, don’t you know He’ll be with you
Heaven knows, Heaven knows
He will call your tattered heart on
Desert rose

One of the nice things about giving a good woman white roses is that you don’t have to worry about being rejected by her. You’re not trying to start a relationship, necessarily. You just pick the woman who has the best developed Christian worldview, and then give her white roses to support her in her efforts. Has she been reading a good apologetics book? Then give her white roses. Has she been lecturing on the pro-life view in her church? Then give her white roses. Has she been explaining what’s wrong with gay marriage? Then give her white roses. Is she volunteering or donating to help a conservative political candidate? And so on.

I know women who are doing everything in that list, so they can’t be too hard to find. Don’t pick the ones that you like. Don’t pick the ones that meets cultural standards. Don’t pick the ones that your friends approve of. Pick the one who serves God self-sacrificially. The one who has put God first, and her own happiness second.

Consider John 13:34-35:

 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus is speaking there – and he’s saying that it matters how you treat other Christians.

One word of caution: you don’t want to try this on anyone who is not a serious Christian.  Pick one who likes apologetics, is conservative on fiscal policy, social policy and foreign policy, and who has a solid Christian worldview. If you link the white roses to specific good actions that the woman is doing, then there really is nothing to worry about. Just explain to her what the roses mean and the specific things that she has done to impress you. That takes the pressure off of her to have to do anything back.

Here’s an e-mail I got from a regular commenter whom I met recently:

I recently had the priviledge not only of visiting the USA, but of meeting WK himself in person. He gave me 3 white roses on 2 occasions.

How did it make me feel? Very blessed, appreciated, encouraged. I have a number of decent, Christian male friends. But this gesture stood out because of the thought that went into it and the meaning that stands behind these flowers. I took a whole lot of photos of the flowers he gave me. Whenever I see them, I smile.

It also made me appreciate the sort of man that we have in WK in regard to how he treats women. Bad men take advantage of women, regular men don’t take advantage of them, but good men appreciate them and build them up. WK is one of the good guys, one of the honorable guys. There is a nobility of character in his approach to women. I felt cared for as a Christian sister, not only with the flowers, but with the concern he has shown for my growth, and with the fantastic books he has sent me (and to others who frequent this blog) – the sort of books that improve my knowledge and my ability to live as a Christian in all spheres of life.

This is my favourite line in this post:
“It’s your job as a Christian man to put her hand in God’s hand and hold them together.”
I feel quite emotional (in a girly, but good way!) reading that line.

Thank you, Sir Knight. [curtseys] :)

Now is your chance to do the same! By the way, I usually give 3 in a vase, to symbolize the Trinity.

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Courting rules: how men use self-control to make relationships count for God

Consider this piece of research from Medical News Today. (H/T Uncommon Descent)

Excerpt:

Thinking about religion gives people more self-control on later, unrelated tasks; according to results from a series of recent Queen’s University study.

“After unscrambling sentences containing religiously oriented words, participants in our studies exercised significantly more self-control,” says psychology graduate student and lead researcher on the study, Kevin Rounding.

Study participants were given a sentence containing five words to unscramble. Some contained religious themes and others did not. After unscrambling the sentences, participants were asked to complete a number of tasks that required self-control – enduring discomfort, delaying gratification, exerting patience, and refraining from impulsive responses.

Participants who had unscrambled the sentences containing religious themes had more self-control in completing their tasks.

“Our most interesting finding was that religious concepts were able to refuel self-control after it had been depleted by another unrelated task,” says Mr. Rounding. “In other words, even when we would predict people to be unable to exert self-control, after completing the religiously themed task they defied logic and were able to muster self-control.”

“Until now, I believed religion was a matter of faith; people had little ‘practical’ use for religion,” Mr. Rounding explains. “This research actually suggests that religion can serve a very useful function in society. People can turn to religion not just for transcendence and fears regarding death and an after-life but also for practical purposes.”

So why would religious people have more self-control than non-religious people? Speaking as a Christian, I would argue that self-control is not a by-product of religion, but that it is a tool used by Christians to achieve certain ends that fit with the Christian worldview.

First, let’s look at how people who don’t have self-control operate. I have been chatting with some friends recently about the lifestyle that people get into when they get away from their parents for the first time. (Assuming the parents don’t take education and apologetics seriously). The fun lifestyle, it was explained to me, goes something like this:

  1. A bunch of friends meet in a bar
  2. They drink a lot, listen to music and dance around
  3. They meet people and have conversations in which the men are careful not to express any moral judgments, religious convictions or conservative political views to the women
  4. They gradually get more and more drunk, and it gets later and later
  5. The friends retire to different people’s houses in order to hook-up, which involves anything from kissing to intercourse
  6. They keep doing this, there is no structured courting and no parental oversight, and occasionally people move in together or have kids out of wedlock by hooking up
  7. Some of these children are aborted in order to keep the woman free for work and having more fun
  8. The children who are born are often raised fatherless, causing all kinds of damage on them, especially making the girls prone to have sex much too early and the boys more violent
  9. Any marriages that emerge break up shortly after since no one  is willing to sacrifice for the marriage or the children
  10. Government expands to address the broken homes with more police, day care, welfare, etc.

I never really knew much about this until recently when some of the people who read my blog have been explaining it all to me. The thing that strikes me the most about what secular people do is that they have no agenda for God when they go out and meet people – especially when it’s men talking to women. They don’t bring their relationships or group activities inline with religion, and so there is no reason to be self-controlled – they have no plan that they are are trying to achieve, they are just there to have fun.

Now what about Christians? When I go out with my male friends, we are not drinking anything – we’re going to play a sport like racquetball/squash or something and then we are going to go to a restaurant to eat and talk about apologetics and science and war and education and investments and parenting and education and the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. After that, we might go back to someone’s house to play video games or play pool or watch a debate and discuss that. But always we have an agenda – we are trying to build each other up in our Christian lives and planning different activities like conferences, debates, etc.

But when dealing with women, who are very often influenced by feminism these days, it’s different. Most men seem to think that if a woman has sex with them, that this is some great affirmation of them. I don’t think that and my friends don’t think that. I have learned from women that they give up sex as a way to control men, to make them hang around and buy them things, but without having to be led by the man. Women who have been influenced by feminism hate the idea that men will tell them to read books, act morally, honor their obligations to men and children, develop religious convictions that exclude others and make them unpopular, mentor other Christians, and so on. They want to have men around, but they don’t want to be told not to act selfishly/irresponsibly/amorally.

Sex is a tool that feminist women use in order to get men to “like” them, without having to let men do what men do – lead, provide, set moral boundaries, defeat lies, and fit the woman to a plan so that she can help him achieve it. So the bottom line is that a woman giving me sex is no good for me – in fact, it would be bad. It would be a way for her to control me and to prevent me from having the leverage to lead her and fit her to my plan – a plan that includes a stable home for raising children who will have an influence. Instead of standing her up with duties and obligations (read this book, stop spending money, debate your non-Christian friends), I would just shut up and let her continue to let her act in ways that are no good for marriage and parenting. Men with plans understand what women are for, and the thing that we are looking for is not sex, but help. We need someone to help us achieve our plan.

So that brings us back to the topic of the post. The reason why I don’t play the hook-up game is because it gets me nothing.  I cannot get a woman to do the things I need her to do by giving her leverage over me. When you first meet a woman, she is very likely not to be ready to do what you need her to do in a marriage – she needs to be mentored. Right from the start, I want her to know that what I am offering her is the ability to do useful work, to achieve important goals, and work together with someone who is supportive, appreciative, thoughtful, romantic, devoted, faithful, attentive and caring over a long period of time. And the way that I communicate that I am not here just to provide women with fun is by giving them tasks to do right from the start, and making it clear to them why I need them to do things.

Back to the original topic, I hope that this makes clear why religious people exhibit self-control when secular left people do not. Christian men have a goal for our relationships with women. We need them to support us in our plans by having particular skills and performing particular tasks. During the courtship, men refrain from sex to prevent a woman from escaping from her obligations to get those skills and train to perform those tasks. To have sex is to give up leadership in the relationship and to let women control the relationship. And when women control the relationship, it means that the goal of the relationship is almost always going to be to please them – and not God.

Christian men should never give up control of the relationship by giving up sobriety and chastity, because we know that relationships work better when men lead and emphasize what men care about most: morality, reason, chastity, evidence, theology, apologetics, marriage, family, parenting, free market capitalism, personal responsibility, law and order, illegal immigration, protecting the unborn, national security, traditional marriage, the debt crisis, etc. Self-control is the tool we use to lovingly prepare women for the tasks that we need them to perform – tasks that we often cannot perform ourselves - and always with the higher goal of making the relationship please God by achieving something for him.

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Have you turned away from God? Here’s what to do about it

A good foundational article from Kevin Alan Lewis. It explains what Christians believe about how people who turn away from God can be reconciled with God. The Bible calls turning away from God “sin”, and it also talks about how to fix the sin problem, and so be saved from God’s anger.

Summary:

While the means of biblical salvation includes many concepts such as justification, adoption and regeneration, the objective of biblical salvation is easy to understand: to enjoy a loving, mentoring relationship with our Creator, the one true God. As Adam walked with God, so should we. But how can one restore a broken relationship with God?

The requirements for restoring a broken friendship are easy to understand but difficult for most to do. To restore a lost friendship, the offended person must be willing to forgive by bearing the harm caused by the transgressor, electing not to hold it against him if certain conditions are met. The conditions for forgiveness are that the offending party must repent, confess his sin and want to restore the relationship with the offended party. Since the goal of forgiveness is the restoration of a genuine friendship, the offending party must begin with repentance. When the sinner genuinely repents, confesses and receives the offer of forgiveness, the estranged parties reconcile, walking together again in righteous harmony. If anyone has ever lost and genuinely restored a meaningful friendship, they know this is the only way to do it.

One purely hypothetical illustration may help. If I screamed at my wife, calling her unmentionable names, my wife would rightly be offended and our intimate fellowship would surely be broken. So how would I return to a genuine state of e-harmony with my wife? First, my wife must be willing to bear the harm I caused her and not hold it against me. But to restore the relationship in any meaningful sense, I need to realize that what I did was wrong, repent, and confess my sin to my wife — preferably with symbols of my repentance in hand, such as flowers and candy! When these conditions are fulfilled, my wife will forgive me.

So how does this relate to Jesus Christ as the only way? Simple. To restore the broken relationship with the one true God, the offended party, God, must be willing to bear the consequences of our sin. God accomplishes this by means of the Second Person of the Trinity assuming a full human nature, living a sinless life, and satisfying our penalty for sin on the cross. Sinners, the offenders, need to repent, confess and trust God’s offer of forgiveness. When we do, we are reconciled to God for the purpose of fellowship with him as his beloved children. This is biblical salvation.

Very often, people don’t reflect on how they treat God. Many of us are born in wealthy countries, and are relatively free of pain and suffering, with many years of leisure in which to puzzle about things. Yet many of us are content to go through life without giving any serious consideration big questions; does God exist? what is God like? what does God want from me? People know that the answers to those questions can mean the end of our autonomy, so we just don’t ask them – or we ask them and don’t answer them honestly.

God certainly provides enough evidence in nature and conscience to cause us to puzzle about his existence and character, but many of us don’t We want to do our own thing, and can’t be bothered to care about what anyone else thinks about it, including God. Maybe, especially God. This is not the way that we should be treating the person who created us and who has designed us to know him. This turning away from God is not good. There is a way for us to be reconciled with God, but we have to be reconciled with him in a way that is on his terms.

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