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We get asked a lot of questions by men who are trying to navigate the dating world. In this issue, we are going to answer a few of the common ones:
How important is doctrinal agreement? #
As a rule, it’s socially important.
Theological positions aren’t worked out in a vacuum. They tend to be connected to a young woman’s relational network, and the tradition she comes from. This means that a credobaptist girl with a devout credobaptist father who grew up in a solid credobaptist church is going to feel like she is rejecting an important aspect of her background, if she marries a paedobaptist man.
Asking her to change her position, or even implying that she should, is a big ask when you’ve got very little by way of relational capital in comparison to others. Even when you are in the right.
Depending on your ages, and your backgrounds, you may be able to adapt. You may both have much growing to do, and you may be able to grow together. Obviously it is much harder to have that experience when you are both fairly set in your ways. But all this to say, a lot of the angsting over theology isn’t as abstract as it seems. It’s about testing and establishing social and relational boundaries.
How important is attraction? #
We often have men ask us about whether they are shallow for not wanting to pursue a relationship with a girl because they don’t find her especially attractive.
You obviously don’t have any obligation to pursue a relationship with someone you’re not attracted to. But that said, it’s important to evaluate whether your standards are reasonable, or whether they are being warped by things like porn or pop culture.
Physical attraction is important, but it’s still just one aspect of the whole picture. And while it is perhaps the most significant aspect for men, it is also the most temporary.
Other qualities, like how well she orients herself toward you, how well she helps you toward your mission, and her overall spiritual maturity, are much more important and enduring qualities of a good wife.
Pray for realistic standards influenced by God more than the world—but if you are truly not attracted, let her go. It doesn’t make sense to pursue a relationship in such a case. Know thyself.
That said, don’t let an initial lack of attraction prevent you from getting to know a woman who is otherwise a good prospect. Plenty of men can attest that they were not initially very attracted to their wives. Sexual appeal is not merely based on looks, and therefore the physical component can sometimes be malleable. Spending time with someone will tend to increase attraction if they are the sort of woman worth marrying. A wise man will choose a “normal” looking faithful wife over a smokin’ hot one with questionable character any day.
Bear in mind, too, that the more physically attractive a woman is, the easier it can be for her to coast on that while she is young. Many beautiful women are stunted spiritually because they don’t need to develop inner beauty.
TL;DR: Keep it between the ditches. Evangelical nice-guy-ism will shame you for valuing physical attraction at all. But there’s another ditch that will keep you from being content with a woman who is actually a good match for you.
Is it ok to kiss before marriage? #
We don’t have a hard rule. However, once you start to kiss in a relationship, you won’t stop. And it will naturally lead to a desire to move onto even more intimate things.
There is a real danger of moving things forward too fast with a girl who hasn’t been properly vetted.
Doug Wilson’s advice is sound: don’t preheat the oven if you’re not going to cook a roast.
That said, perhaps you should rather be asking: how can I build vocational skills and store up resources, so if a high quality girl comes into my life, we’ll be able to move towards marriage rapidly?
You can judge motives.
I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. (3 John 1:9)
John here attributes motives to Diotrephes’ actions.
Namely, Diotrephes loves to have the preeminence.
Make every effort to come to me soon; or Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica… (2 Timothy 4:9)
Paul here attributes a motive to Demas’ dessertion.
Namely, Demas loves the world.
Do we really think that these two men announced their motives?
Of course not. John and Paul both exercised discernment.
County Before Country ’22: #
County Before Country ’22 will be happening in Batavia, OH from Sept 2 to 4. Tickets are selling fast. Get them here »
- Letter 1: And At Least Six With Chubby Cheeks | Doug Wilson - YouTube
- I Became Transgender. Here’s Why I Regret It. - YouTube
- How I stopped The Washington Post from canceling me and Fossil Future - Alex Epstein
Talk again next week,
Bnonn & Michael