Category Archives: Parenting

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

Tuesday Tips #2

Today is the second in the series of guest posts by reader/commenter Michael K. The subject is food:

Tuesday Tip #2: Stop Being A Food Addict

…his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat…

We live for only a short while. Therefore it’s hard for us to grasp how dramatically food has changed from even recent times. The invention of fertilizer, diesel transport, air travel, and genetic engineering has transformed our food in both substance and quantity.

Food has become ubiquitous for all first-world nations, and our bodies have not had the time to evolve for this bounty. Liquor is a good example here: many Native American tribes lacked exposure to liquor long enough to genetically adjust and many thus banned ‘firewater’ from their communities to save them.

Modern food is unbelievably cheap by historical standards. It is also carefully bred, processed, refined, and even genetically engineered for concentrated succulence. So, of course, we get fatter and fatter every decade. In essence, modern processed food coupled with unrestrained consumption is a dangerous game that we clearly have not yet evolved to handle. If you doubt this, compare the weight of people today to photos from the 1940’s. It’s disturbing.

Years ago my family and I saw these warning signs. We organized food-related activities and stuck with it. It was trying at first (with some social tension). Yet it proved to be one of the best decisions of our lives. What seemed radical then appears blasé now. We will never go back.

We eat two large meals each day (kids eat a noon snack). Meals are reliably on time without exception. Only whole, unprocessed foods are used. Shopping is done every two weeks, with an inflexible shopping list. Recipes are step-by-step, timed, and practiced so anyone can prepare it as needed.

The only “processed” foods in the house are cheese (milk, salt, enzymes), grain cereal (flour, barley, salt, yeast), and peanut butter (peanuts, salt). Zero coffee, tea, cane sugar*, or alcohol (except holidays). This may sound austere but it is actually no privation at all; the fact is that quality home cooking using real foods simply blows away anything else out there. We eat like kings.

Recipes and portion sizes are carefully planned to guarantee heaps of nutrients, fully satisfied eaters, and dietary consistency. Leftover food has been phased out through portion adjustments before each shopping cycle: we literally waste zero food and have zero leftovers.

Summary:

1) Shop only twice a month.

2) Table, kitchen, dishes cleaned every meal (before anyone leaves).

3) Meal quality is incredible; real, home cooked food is tasty!

4) Recipes, cooking, and meal times are firmly consistent.

5) Everyone is trim and healthy (visible by skin, hair, teeth, weight).

6) Strangely, less time is spent on food due to organization/routine.

7) Saves money (processed food is mostly brand profit).

8) We hunt, fish, and garden aggressively for better food.

9) Far less garbage (and no garish packaging).

10) Little to no cavities.

11) Less illness; many prior medical issues have vanished.

12) Fewer behavioral issues, mood swings, and much better sleep.

13) No leftovers due to well-planned meals; zero food waste.

14) Nobody complains about food anymore.

15) Nobody leaves meals hungry, bloated, or stuffed anymore.

Practical tips to actually DO something, not just talk, about food addiction:

A) Vitamix vegetables or fruits each meal. (toss in a multivitamin).

B) Make meal prep/cleaning a routine, organized family activity.

C) If single, make food for several days (planned leftovers only).

D) Use Living Cookbook to track recipe/meal cost, nutrition, and calories.

E) Plan every single meal two weeks out (shop biweekly) and stick to it.

F) Ignore food and diet fads. Processed food is 99% of the battle.

G) Eat mainly vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruit.

H) Be very restrained with grains, nuts, dairy, and tea.

I) Seldom (even never) eat coffee, alcohol, processed sugar.

J) Use lots of spices, experiment with recipes, and learn to cook.

K) Hunt, fish, berry pick, mushroom hunt, and garden.

Recommending Reading:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (Price)

*If modern fruit (genetically engineered for sweetness) such as pineapple, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and bananas isn’t sweet enough, you’re desensitized to sucrose. Desserts sweetened with fruit juice (and topped with real cream!) are deliciously sweet to a normal palate. Yum.

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Filed under Parenting, Red Pill, Temptation

Selected Sunday Scriptures- #104: Rise Up!… And, Er… Ignore The Elephant In The Room

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

(Genesis 1:27)

While this blog is focused first and foremost on masculine matters, I devote plenty of time to discussing women as well. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important is the simple fact that the fates of men and women are intertwined. One can only change men so much before further developments are impossible without affecting women as well.

Sometimes this can be forgotten, both by men outside of this neck of the woods, and by those within. Here is an example of the former. A quote:

In our culture today fathers are becoming less and less a part of our children’s lives and the absence of fathers has led directly to the downfall of Christian culture in America. Currently, 40 percent of American children do not grow up with their biological father.

That number is on the rise as more and more couples choose the lifestyle of cohabitation and decide not to get married at all. Since the men in those relationships are not bound by any marriage vows, they feel less responsibility to stick around, especially if the marriage or childrearing starts to get tough. What are the results of fatherless homes? Let’s take a look at the statistics:

The author goes on from there to talk about the perils of fatherless families. He is absolutely right in this, of course. But at the same time, he missed the huge elephant in the room: divorce. Now Dalrock has covered this blind spot plenty, and I don’t feel it necessary to repeat his many, many posts on the subject. However, this blind spot is not unique. There are others.

To get an idea of one, lets look at what this author talks about next:

Now this absences of fathers in everyday does not only apply to the demise of domestic life. In fact, what we are also experiencing in our culture is the absence of fathers in the spiritual life of the home, even when the father is present in the family. As pointed out by Doug Barry in his “Battle Ready Rally,” we typically praise our grandmas for passing on the faith in our family. We almost never hear about fathers or grandfathers passing on the faith to their children. Typically, “church” or “religion” is viewed as something reserved for women.

These Polish men failed to see that their primary responsibility as head of the household was to fight the spiritual battle for the lives of their family. As Saint Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” It is our duty as fathers to fight that battle and to be a firm foundation for our family. If we don’t do it, our society will continue to crumble around us.

All well and good. I don’t disagree with his general argument- Christian men do need to lead the spiritual life of their families. But as I indicated earlier, the author here is missing something important, something essential. What is missing?

Well, leadership, of course. He mourns the loss of spiritual leadership. But if a man is not a leader in other ways in his family, how can he flourish as (much less be encouraged to be) a spiritual leader. And where does this take us? Why, authority in the family, naturally.

22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

(Ephesians 5:22)

Men cannot fulfill their role as spiritual leaders in their family if the rest of their leadership is cut off at the knees. How effective will a man be if the children see his wife, their mother, constantly rebel against his leadership? I think we all know the answer to that.

Ultimately, the real blind spot here is to the way that the Church treats men, husbands/fathers in particular. The lack of respect, the lack of support for a husband’s authority, all of these undermine any desire or efforts for men to be the spiritual leaders of their families.

As Deep Strength and others have pointed out, men (like women) respond to Incentives. this applies to actions within marriage, as well as before or without. Now, does that excuse men who don’t try to carry out their duties? Of course not. But the blame is not only theirs to share.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes!

(Matthew 18:5-7)

If we want more men to act as spiritual leaders in their families, the Church needs to stop treating men like trash. It needs to encourage and admonish, yes, but also respect and acknowledge. Further, women need to be taught to encourage and aide their husbands in being leaders, rather than be taught to belittle them and usurp their authority.

Male and female He created us. The behaviors of both need to be addressed if we want to see positive change. Ignore one sex entirely, and you will never get very far at all.

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Filed under Christianity, Marriage, Men, Parenting, Selected Sunday Scriptures, Sin, Temptation, The Church, Women

Selected Sunday Scriptures- #103 Isolation v. Inoculation

Free Northerner’s post on the subject of the “Christian culture industry” got me thinking about the subject of parenting and protecting your children from dangerous influences. One of the  points that Free Northerner makes (and one that I hear many parents at my parish make) is that you can’t keep all negative influences away from your children. At least, not unless you are willing to live in an Amish type commune. Otherwise, they will find some way of reaching your children. Isolation- living in a bubble- is just not practical if you are unwilling to completely detach yourself and your family from the world.

A better strategy than attempting isolation, I would think, would be one of “inoculation.” As your children mature, deliberately expose them to some of the myriad temptations and evil influences that are out there in the world. But do so in a controlled way- while you are present and able to explain the subject(s) in question to them. This way their first experiences with these matters can be shaped by you, their parents, and not the general culture.

Of course, this is all easier said than done. But it seems sensible to me. I invite my readers to offer you thoughts on the subject. Also, I invite you to offer any additional quotes from scripture that you think might be relevant. Here are two that seem to connect (at least somewhat) with what I’ve discussed:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons— 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 13 God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

(1 Cor 5:9-13)

My child, keep my words
    and store up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live,
    keep my teachings as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call insight your intimate friend,
that they may keep you from the loose woman,
    from the adulteress with her smooth words.

For at the window of my house
    I looked out through my lattice,
and I saw among the simple ones,
    I observed among the youths,
    a young man without sense,
passing along the street near her corner,
    taking the road to her house
in the twilight, in the evening,
    at the time of night and darkness.

10 Then a woman comes toward him,
    decked out like a prostitute, wily of heart.
11 She is loud and wayward;
    her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
    and at every corner she lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
    and with impudent face she says to him:
14 “I had to offer sacrifices,
    and today I have paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
    to seek you eagerly, and I have found you!
16 I have decked my couch with coverings,
    colored spreads of Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
    aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until morning;
    let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For my husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took a bag of money with him;
    he will not come home until full moon.”

21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
    with her smooth talk she compels him.
22 Right away he follows her,
    and goes like an ox to the slaughter,
or bounds like a stag toward the trap[c]
23     until an arrow pierces its entrails.
He is like a bird rushing into a snare,
    not knowing that it will cost him his life.

24 And now, my children, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Do not let your hearts turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths.
26 For many are those she has laid low,
    and numerous are her victims.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.

(Proverbs 7)

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Filed under Parenting, Selected Sunday Scriptures, Temptation