My post Lighting the Fire led to a spirited debate over what causes/maintains/builds attraction inside of Marriage. During the debate Velvet suggested that there was such a thing as “utilitarian tingles,” deriving from a man’s provision. Naturally, this evoked a considerable amount of opposition from male commenters, as well as the author of this blog. Elspeth instead suggested that there was a sort of “negative tingling” in play when a man can’t provide. This made sense to me, as a man’s ability to provide is tied to his employment, which is tied to his Status.
Matters went back and forth, and a number of other topics were addressed, including how nerds are clueless about women, how men shouldn’t take relationship advice from women, and why so many men seem to think that women can only love conditionally. Fortunately, just as the thread was dying, Je Suis Prest left this comment:
On the subject of utilitarian tingles, I’d like to suggest something I’ve been thinking of that may or may not be correct…
I think there are two distinct things being said on that subject:
1) that the lack of provision prevents tingles; and
2) that provision is attractive.
In general, I buy the first statement. If a woman has spent the day stressing out about feeding the kids and finding enough money for rent, she’s not likely to be interested in procreative-type activities when she gets some time alone with her man. Stress has numerous negative effects including killing the mood for both men and women. Also, if a woman thinks of her husband as being less of a man because he doesn’t have a job, that attitude will definitely move him down on her mental scale.
This is a good explanation of the “negative tingles” concept arising from a lack of ability to provide. But the real gem of her comment is this:
At first, I was disinclined to accept the second premise, but then one of my female friends sent me a message about a thankfulness challenge that she’s embarked on. (Bear with me, this does tie in to the main point). She found that the more she looked for things to be thankful for so that she could journal something each day, the more she realized how blessed she was throughout the rest of the day. I’m wondering if when Velvet describes provision as being attractive, she’s experiencing something similar. If a woman is actively looking for attractive aspects of her husband and takes note of how well he provides for her, I can see how that would lead her to think about what a good man he is, how lucky she is to have him, and how many other women would want a man just like him. All of those thoughts could raise his status in her own mind and make him more attractive. I can also see how it would be possible for a woman who is actively looking for positive things about her husband to be warmer and more pleasant to him, which could lead to his interactions with her to be more positive and how that could feed into attraction as well. Could it be that this is what is meant by utilitarian tingles?
[I put those parts that I think were most relevant in bold.]
I think JSP is definitely onto something here. Gratitude has a profound effect when a wife shows it to her husband. It affects them both in a positive way, and binds the two of them even closer together. The way I see it, when a wife develops a healthy sense of gratitude for everything her husband does for her, she is elevating him in her eyes. This increases his Status relative to hers, which has the double effect of both satisfying her hypergamy and making him more attractive. Increased gratitude can only be a net gain.
Commenter Deep Strength then followed up her comment with his own:
That would be taking on the attitude of gratitude and thus by extension our actions change to that of “praos” (the greek word for gentleness / meekness / humility) which is a key player in submission. One of the fruits of the Spirit. The very opposite of which is entitlement.
The reason why we as Christians would willingly submit to God and his commands because we know of the grace and mercy that we are afforded in Him through Jesus. We are forced to accept humility / meekness / gentleness before Him, as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is, we cannot do enough to save ourselves on our own. It is the gift of God. And this is why we willingly do the will of God, even though it cannot make up for the gift that He has given.
Provision in this sense can be viewed as something to be grateful for, and thus as wife realizes she is grateful for that she willingly can take on “praos” which leads to submission.
He has kindly provided a missing link here, connecting gratitude to submission. This allows us to see that in a wife with a respectful attitude and a warm Christian spirit we get this:
When we see things in this light, we can understand that everything a wife does is connected to her attraction to her husband. While his dominance and overall masculinity is important, it is only part of the puzzle of ensuring a healthy relationship between the two. She must also clothe herself in “the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:4). A good place to start is with being grateful for all that her husband does for her, because every act of gratitude just adds more kindling to the conjugal fire.
Here are some other discussions on gratitude:
If anyone knows of any other good posts on gratitude, let me know so that I can include them here.