In our notes last week we talked about feminine social checks, and how they can be confusing to men. There are (at least) four kinds of these tests, and the first is the congruence test.
This is fundamentally to check: Are you the man you say you are?
Here’s an example: “You’re weird.“
This is a simple test to see if you will get defensive/try to convince her that you’re really not weird. In other words, can your center of gravity be shifted easily? Will you let her perception become your frame?
There are lots of ways to pass this kind of check, and how you respond will depend on the context and your own personality. The important thing to bear in mind is that the words themselves don’t matter so much as the feeling that you evoke. She is like a sensor, feeling out whether the image you project, or the things you say about yourself, really are true (assuming it’s good).
- You, acting concerned: If you think I’m weird, I hate to imagine what normal is for you.
- You, deadpan: It’s weird that you think I’m weird.
- You, acting nonchalant: People say that.
- You, amused: Lean into it.
Congruence checks can be playful, or serious, implicit, or explicit. They usually are playful and flirtatious if you’re getting to know each other, but they can get deadly serious when you’re married—as we’ll talk about in a second. But before we do, bear in mind that checks like this are not, as some red pill pundits like to imagine, inherently sinful; they don’t actually represent an innate hermeneutic of suspicion in the female psyche. (Ironically, that opinion is itself an example of a hermeneutic of suspicion.) Congruence tests certainly can cross the line into sin, as any social check can. They are not a result of the fall in themselves; rather, they are part of God’s good design for human nature, for establishing natural hierarchies and relationships.
But the way in which women have to check for congruence in a fallen world certainly is a result of sin—because men sin. Men misrepresent themselves. Men fail to live up to the ideal. Men lie about their intentions and commitment.
Congruence checks are often an example of instinctive wisdom. A woman who tests you in this way is not necessarily sinning. She is ensuring that you are good marriage material. She is checking for congruence between your personalities, and between what you say and what you do. If she marries you, will you be capable of providing and protecting? If she gets pregnant, will you stick around? Are you a man worth giving her life to? Are you a man that it is wise to promise to submit to?
Where congruence tests cross into sin, it is often a sin of immodesty. Women are called to keep their behavior between the ditches of foolish deference and gullibility, on the one hand, and foolish wantonness and loudness on the other. Modern women mostly veer into the latter ditch, and do so with vigor and enthusiasm. It is easy to find such women, even in the church, and if you are single you will probably have to put up with your fair share of it.
Another way in which congruence tests often verge into sin is later in marriage. Because of the nature of congruence checks, they tend to come in bursts. First when she is getting to know you; later, often during times of sudden or significant changes. Wives naturally perform these kinds of tests when their husbands start trying to up their game. They want to know: “are you really changing for real? Will you keep your word? Can I trust you?“
Big changes mean upheaval, and upheaval means uncertainty and insecurity about the future. It is normal for a woman to freak out if she senses that the status is no longer quo—just as, btw, it is normal for anyone to freak out when something threatens the stability of their lives. Women, as weaker vessels, are simply more vulnerable to such anxieties, and especially to changes in you. This is why Scripture instructs men to live with their wives in an understanding and gentle way.
If your wife senses major changes, she is going to get anxious. And anxious women are more likely to lash out; this is where the phenomenon comes from of a man starting to (e.g.) get in shape, and his wife laying into him, mocking him, noticing every tiny discrepancy between his goals and the reality, and generally trying to tear him down.
Obviously this is sin, and requires a firm response. Nonetheless, be aware of your own propensity to sin back: to not be provoked into an overbearing response, but rather be gentle, recognizing that she sins on account of her weakness.
Much of this problem can be mitigated by simply starting change quietly. You are much more likely to have a problem—or, if a problem is inevitable, as it may be depending on your wife’s spiritual maturity, it is likely to get much worse—if you try to broadcast what you are doing. This is because you set yourself up for failure. Don’t predict your future to her, so that she can test you against what you thought would happen. It adds an extra and very volatile layer to her existing sense of instability—a clear indication of change for her to angst about, and especially to test you against. And because it is volatile, you are much more likely to fail; every change worth making takes three times longer and is three times harder than you expect.
Instead of telling her what you’re up to, just start doing it. Work on it yourself for as long as you can, to make it solid, before you involve her. If you must talk about it, talk to other guys. Your change needs to be deep and integrated; not superficial. Then, when she starts noticing it, it will already have the roots for you to have confidence in it, which is what you need in order to be genuinely unswayed by her testing…and what she needs to have faith in the new status quo.
A strong man seeks advice from his wife. A weak man seeks approval from his wife.
Which “red pill philosopher” has a marriage and family worthy of emulation? Which celebrity pastor? It’s amazing that people look up to folks when they don’t even know the reality of their day-to-day lives.
Things people are taught in church:
- God is gracious and kind
- Worship is to be passionate
- Jesus is Savior
Things people aren’t taught:
- God is holy and wrathful
- Worship is to be reverent
- Jesus is Lord
This is why the Church is so messed up.
“Dead marriage beds” are often directly tied to the prevalence of premarital sex even if it was only with the person you ended up marrying.
Why? Two reasons come up repeatedly…
- premarital sex was more exciting because it was forbidden;
- premarital sex resulted in attaching guilt/shame to sex, and that doesn’t immediately disappear in marriage.
But…a missionless man will also produce a sexless marriage.
We made marriage merely about being happy.
Consequently, we made being unhappy a grounds for divorce.
And yet we descended even further into making marriage about you being your happiest.
So now the mere potential of being happier elsewhere is a grounds for divorce.
New content this week: #
Michael recently turned in an article entitled “Standing Up to Crybullies” to be published in a print magazine. You’ll dig it. More info soon.
- Breaking Down the Twitter Debacle About Modesty • Eric Conn.
- The Warrenton Declaration on Medical Mandates, Biblical Ethics, & Authority - The Warrenton Declaration. Some money quotes:
…commands to obey “in everything” must refer to the obligation of Christians to obey all non-sinful commands of true authorities which are also within the proper jurisdiction of the authority giving the command.
WE DENY that any human or group of humans who claim to be civil authorities are in actuality, recognized by God to be civil authorities, solely by virtue of their claims to that authority or the claims of those who support them (Hosea 8:4).
XIV. WE DENY that the only reason one may lawfully disobey an authority is if they are commanded to sin by that authority.
- Using a gator to open your beer.
- The Sheepdogs That Wouldn’t Bark | Blog & Mablog.
- Why Conservative News Is Worse Than Liberal News - YouTube. Like we say, focus on controlling the controllables. Most news just exists to demoralize you or disperse your energy.
Talk again next week,
Bnonn & Michael