Marital Competency

{Bit of a stream of consciousness post tonight.]

I had an interesting discussion with a friend recently about the difficulty of living a Christian marriage. Our faith, our God, demands a lot from us. I don’t think I am alone in thinking this either…

His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

(Matthew 19:10)

After discussing the difficulty of living up to marriage, we briefly talked about how few are up to that these days. Which leads me to this post.After giving it thought, it occurs to me that what is going on is as simple as most people these days not being competent enough to marry.

Marriage, successful marriage, that is, requires a lot of life-skills and disciplines. Traits such as patience, strong self-control, charity and kindness all go a long way towards making a marriage succeed. An absence of those traits, and more, makes it more and more likely a marriage will fail (divorce), or will end up miserable for one or both spouses.

It seems to me that, assuming they were quantifiable, one could make a score of each of these core traits. Then you could create an Index of them, to get a rough value for how well someone scores overall. This would lead to a Marital Competency Index, or MCI score, that you could use to measure someone’s marriageability.

Of course, I recognize that a really precise way of measuring the MCI is impossible- quantifying different traits is either impossible or arbitrary. All the same, as an abstract concept I think that it has some worth.

For example, one could use a theoretical MCI score to explain whether or not someone was “marriageable.” By marriageable I mean a score which was high enough to represent that they possessed enough of those essential traits for them to be likely to live a successful marriage. Certain traits, being so essential, would be so heavily weighted that they naturally fall in line with the overall score. Others would have much lesser values, and so might not be “make or break” in terms of meeting the threshold.

Another advantage to this concept is that it helps to understand the role of culture and the surrounding society. This is because the MCI score which represents the threshold for “marriageable” would not be fixed. Rather, it would fluctuate with the culture. A healthy culture that respects and promotes marriage would have a lower threshold. People would be able to marry with less traits and yet still have successful marriages. On the other hand, in a sick culture that actively works to undermine marriage/marriages, such as ours today, the threshold increases. People need to bring more to the table in order to make marriage work these days.

Also, the MCI concept would help explain why someone “turning to Jesus” doesn’t simply make them marriageable. After all, these traits take time to build and develop. Many require years of development. A sudden conversion would not instantaneously cause someone to grow skills that have been stunted for years or decades. To provide a metaphor- a fruit tree that has been sick for a while will not instantly produce good fruit the moment a cure is applied.

[In addition, this highlights how important it is to raise daughters right. They have far less time to correct deficiencies than men, given that their fertility window is far more limited.]

I could probably continue, but at this point I think I’ve covered enough for a single post. Now, I know that I’ve covered this topic in different ways before. But having thought on it, I don’t think I have had a post which is as (hopefully) clear and specific as this one.

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20 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Civilization, Marriage, Marriage Market Place, Moral Agency, Parenting, Red Pill, Uncategorized

20 responses to “Marital Competency

  1. Pingback: Marital Competency – Manosphere.org

  2. Rodimus903

    You make excellent points about being ready, competent for marriage. Not perfect but competent. As a Christian, I think the biggest problem is when you are 18-25 and you find your self in two similar but distinct situations. 1. your ready but you can’t find a mate and 2. life deals you a bleep sandwich that derails your readiness. In both situations family and friends tell you marriage and kids will happen. however, when it doesn’t I think many young Christian men fall into despair or something like it. It is a hard situation to get out of.

  3. fuzziewuzziebear

    It sounds good in theory but, in application, it wouldn’t work. OkCupid had an index for compatibility that was based on questions numbering in the thousands. I think that too many chose answers not on how they felt but to appear better.

  4. fuzziewuzziebear

    As for marital competency, that may be a secondary issue after considering that socially, men are just hated. At my usual haunt, one of the commenters, who takes jobs in Mainland China, remarked how pleasant it is to be in a place where men are not hated.
    Something this fundamental is going to affect all relationships between the sexes, from selling widgets to being married. I don’t think anything quite like this has ever happened.
    A little advice from the Big Guy upstairs would go a long way to helping because, I don’t think that we are doing too well on our own.

  5. A Visitor

    “I do think I am alone in thinking this either…”

    I think you mean I don’t think…

    That aside, interesting concept. Yeah, American culture aggregately speaking isn’t man friendly; diamonds in the rough can still be found here.

    Speaking from experience, dating women from other cultures is a mixed bag. China, as one commenter pointed out: still Communist…sure she wouldn’t use an American for a green card or citizenship (esp. to conduct espionage)?

  6. Maea

    This is individualistic. Christians today forget marriages weren’t about “competency” or “readiness,” as much as they were about forging bonds between families and communities. I come from a culture where some of my cousins were married off (arranged) whether or not they were competent. They just did it, and they’re still married. FWIW, most people from my background aren’t Christian.

    Here’s what makes a marriage “successful”: stay married and get over yourself. Marriage has a lot to do with learning. Whether or not people are “ready” for it is a rather moot point. People need to do it, and remain chaste and faithful to their vows.

    All of this theorizing and abstraction only accomplishes as much as what you can see from a computer screen. We don’t need more scores and assessments. People need to start doing heavy lifting. Raise both sexes right and there will be plenty of people getting married despite the sickness of their current culture. Christians did it despite suffering heresies, political turmoil, and cultural upheaval. For some reason, people in the modern age believe they’re above that.

  7. As I read this, the first thought that sprang to mind was a book quote from a classic literary work:

    “If people only made prudent marriages, what a stop to population there would be!”- William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair

    What Maea said. I don’t know that 20 year-olds of any era have ever been particularly mature and self-controlled. At least not to the degree required on this “marital competency index”.

    There will always be marriages born of passion and I for one am not averse to that [insert admission on strong bias here], any more than I am to deliberate decision making. But no matter how you get there, you can teach those who marry to stay married and to honor their vows, and that from an early age.

  8. Michael Kozaki

    Fuzz…one who takes jobs in Mainland China remarked how pleasant it is to be in a place where men are not hated. I don’t think anything quite like this has ever happened.

    Yes. Humans never walked on the moon nor built atomic bombs until the USA 1950-70’s. This is something new. People disparage overseas as ‘no better’, yet the sweetest, most thrifty, most family-focused women I know were all raised overseas. From no particular place: Asia, Europe, SA, Africa. This is not an accident. I can tell by the smile alone.

    Maea, This is individualistic.

    Yes. What matters? NO divorce YES kids NO exceptions. Never met a couple with those pre-marriage conditions who didn’t do well. Not one. Even if one or both were not exactly, err, “marriage material”.

    The term term “marriage” means nothing today. Certainly not what it meant under Christendom (NO YES NO). Today, it’s something new (ME FREE ME). You get what you pay for. Buyer beware.

  9. “Here’s what makes a marriage “successful”: stay married and get over yourself. Marriage has a lot to do with learning. Whether or not people are “ready” for it is a rather moot point. People need to do it, and remain chaste and faithful to their vows.”

    Tell that to the women entering into marriages and ending them at a 50% rate. Tell that to the women who file around 70% of divorces.

    Tell that to the hardworking man who’s just received divorce papers from his wife. This man has been doing the “heavy lifting” you demand he do, and his reward is “I love you but I’m not in love with you”.

    Most men who are considering marriage do not need to be told to stay married, to get over themselves, or to prepare to do “heavy lifting”. They’re already there. It’s the women who need to be told these things.

    People are still getting married. something like 85 to 90% of women have been married at least once by the time they reach age 40. All that’s happening is that their age at first marriage is being pushed out later. The issue is, who needs to “get over” themselves? Who needs to do the “heavy lifting”?

    When you’ve been “getting over” myself and lifting heavy shit for 20 years now, like I have, then I’ll hear you. You’re preaching to the choir here, babe.

  10. The other problem to Maea’s diatribe is that we don’t live in a world or a culture where even a Christian marriage will make it without some competency and preparation. Even the CHURCH is standing against lasting marriages. The Roman Catholic divorce rate in the US is at 25%. The Protestant/evangelical divorce rate is 38%. So clearly, “stay married” and “get over yourself” and “do some heavy lifting” aren’t cutting it.

  11. “There will always be marriages born of passion and I for one am not averse to that [insert admission on strong bias here], any more than I am to deliberate decision making.”

    We’ve had this discussion before. In the current climate, the only way to make a marriage work is for the man to be sure his wife is very strongly sexually attracted to him. Those are the only marriages that truly work now, the only marriages in which the man has a reasonable expectation that his wife will stay with him; and the only marriages in which the man has a reasonable expectation that he will get what he wants and needs from said marriage.

  12. You know thedeti, for once you’re not disagreeing with me. You’re doing just the opposite in fact.

    The last thing I want to hear from any of my daughters upon their impending nuptials is that they are feeling they made a “competent” choice or that they are feeling “prudent”. I’d shudder. On his behalf.

    With proper training about the sanctity and permanence of marriage first and foremost, there is a lot about marriage that can, as Maea said, be learned. In fact the lion’s share of marriage (the first decade at least) is a learning journey. No amount of bet hedging is going to change that.

    Even an overwhelming amount of passion can’t change it.

  13. Michael Kozaki

    deti, the CHURCH is against lasting marriages; RC US divorce is 25%.

    More than 25% RC marriages are invalid from lying about those pesky NO divorce YES kids NO exceptions Christian marriage rules (see: pope). Why blame the Church? Their job is just to tell it like it is. It’s in the Catechism.

    Personally, I’m surprised it’s a mere 25%. Should be 30% (80% of married RC use birth control x 38% Protestant divorce rate = 30%. If you write your own marriage rules, you have a protest…ant marriage.

  14. Donal, I’ve been in the manoshpere/alt right for about two years now (for reference, I first came in when Sunshine Mary had Sunshine Mary and the Dragon for public view). I wanted to say thank you for this site.

    Most people today (including me) score very low on the marital competency scale simply because our elders have abandoned the duty of training us to be good marriage material. The question now is: is it recoverable? I think so, but it’s going to be very painful.

  15. Just have time for a quick response right now.

    @ Rodimus

    I know what you mean. The empty platitudes only make the situation worse. The lack of support from the church drives a lot of young men away. Unfortunately, very few can see that.

    @ Fuzzie

    Compatibility and competence are two entirely different things.

    @ Maea

    Thank for re-affirming part of the concept, especially the role that culture plays.

    @ Elspeth

    Prudence and Passion are not incompatible.

    @ Michael

    Those No Yes No points are a key part of “marital competence.” Don’t believe in them? Great! Expect failure.

    @ GoldenEye

    You are welcome.

    Most people today (including me) score very low on the marital competency scale simply because our elders have abandoned the duty of training us to be good marriage material.

    Agreed. There is a massive amount of failure going on. Many are suffering, or going to suffer, for it.

    The question now is: is it recoverable? I think so, but it’s going to be very painful.

    Yes, it is usually recoverable. But it takes serious time, effort and willpower. For some that first component is a real problem- they can’t afford to lose any more.

  16. A thought that comes to mind here is that of Salmon swimming upstream. Only those with the strength and determination necessary to make it all the way up will actually make it there.

    @ Visitor

    Speaking from experience, dating women from other cultures is a mixed bag. China, as one commenter pointed out: still Communist…sure she wouldn’t use an American for a green card or citizenship (esp. to conduct espionage)?

    Yep, you gotta be just as careful with non-western women as you do with western ones, for that very reason. I actually have a cousin that married a girl that was born and raised in China. She did just that – as soon as her American citizenship was finalized, she divorced him. She never admitted (as far as I know, at least) that this was her reason for leaving him, but the timing was just too spot on to be a coincidence. She knew what she was doing the whole time too. Wouldn’t even have any babies by him, and now it’s obvious why (and as a side note, she wouldn’t do the cooking either, and I’ve heard her take feminist approaches to traditionally feminine things). She told him she didn’t love him and that there was nothing he could do to change her mind. So yeah, it happens. Just because someone grew up outside of the west doesn’t mean he/she is marriage material.

  17. Yes. I know that prudence and passion can be compatible. I know it first hand. It just often sounds as if (at least in the case of women) the rest of you think they are incompatible.

    I stand corrected.

  18. “the MCI concept would help explain why someone “turning to Jesus” doesn’t simply make them marriageable. After all, these traits take time to build and develop. Many require years of development. A sudden conversion would not instantaneously cause someone to grow skills that have been stunted for years or decades.”

    A lot of people seem to believe in the “magic bullet” concept. My favorite example is “The Red Pill” – lots of people seem to think it bestows instant truth instead of simply telling one that they have been lied to and can go out and learn the truth. It seem like every time someone tries the “born-again Christian” magic bullet, the same pattern plays out – convert, clean up a bit, go on TV once, find out it’s hard after all, then slide back to their old ways.

    The MCI is a good concept, but you may want to come up with a different name for it. Every time I see “MCI score,” I want to ask if I’m eligible for a discount on my long-distance rates.

  19. feeriker

    Even the CHURCH is standing against lasting marriages.

    This is a MASSIVE (though wholly unsurprising, for a body so thoroughly compromised by cultural modernism) part of the problem. The church in the Western World today is at best indifferent to and at worst overtly hostile to marriage, particularly among young Christians in their optimal family formation years.

    Ask yourself the following. In not just your own church, but every other one you’re familiar with:

    – How many weddings take place each year, especially among young first-timers?
    (ANSWER: in the single digits, usually always well below “6.” In fact, even the biggest of megachurches that were to perform six weddings in one calendar year would be setting some sort of record.)

    – How many pre-marital counseling classes are held?
    (ANSWER: MAYBE one, if that, and usually very perfunctorily performed)

    – What kind of spiritual mentoring programs are in place for newlywed couples in which older couples with years of successful marriage behind them can help shepherd them through “rough patches” and share biblical wisdom on Godly marriage?
    (ANSWER: HUH?????!!!! What in God’s name are you talking about?)

    – How many sermons are delivered that focus on marriage and family as a fulfillment of God’s ideal plan for his people?
    (ANSWER: see answer to previous question)

    And church “leaders” today wonder why so many of them struggle to keep butts in the pews on Sunday, why attendance and membership are at such inconsistent levels, and why so many young people –especially young MEN– abandon the church during those years of their lives most optimal for the formation of new Christian families.

    I don’t know that 20 year-olds of any era have ever been particularly mature and self-controlled. At least not to the degree required on this “marital competency index”.

    I would have to beg to differ with you on this.

    In the not-all-that-distant past, life was a struggle for survival. People simply did not have the luxury of “adultolescence” that they do today. They grew up fast and early because they had no other choice. It was “make your way in life or perish.” That’s why young marriages were common. Sure, that obviously didn’t mean that young people went into marriage loaded with years of wisdom, but older married adults (i.e., extended family consisting of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) were always there to lend a guiding hand, something that is, sadly, mostly unheard of in today’s dysfunctional, me-centered culture in which family bonds are easily shattered (hence the “answer” to my third rhetorical question above).

    Maybe the past wasn’t all that terrible after all, and that the blessings of modern life have been a very sharp and destructive double-edged sword.

  20. Pingback: Martial competency | Christianity and masculinity

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