What is the value of Game? When is Game appropriate?
Readership: Men in difficult relationships;
I’ve been working on a study of the important role of humility in Game [Update: see the post, Why does Game Work?], and so I’ve been reviewing Deep Strength’s (DS) writings on the subject. One of the most poignant questions I had is why DS believes that Game is fundamentally opposed to “God’s way”, as he puts it. It took me a while to come to the same conclusion, because from what I could see, Game has an important place in soliciting a spiritually obedient posture from one’s spouse.
Because I had this polar opposite opinion, at first, I believed that our difference of opinion might be because we had a different concept of what Game is. So one of my primary tasks was to figure out whether this was so.
After considering a few definitions of Game, I wasn’t sure it mattered at all. What matters is what Game means to each individual man. Some men are naturals at Game, while others aren’t. Some men find Game useful and rewarding, while others find it to be fake, exhausting, or encumbering.
Personally, I am really lousy at Game, because I’m too sincere and conscientious. But whenever I am able to pull off some Game techniques, it really works miracles in her attitude and disposition. Based on my own experiences, I’m tempted to say that Game bypasses my own self efforts, and allows God to step in and take over. But I’m not sure if that is entirely true, or if this impression might just be a form of Machiavellianism. So I still have many unresolved opinions about Game.
Moreover, in this post, I treat the concept of Game as a monolithic entity. Interpret it however you may. But whatever you think of Game, you can still consider the following viewpoints about the matter, and I hope it will spur you to further refine your Inner Game.
During my review of DS’s work, several posts spoke to me in particular. I’ll review these briefly and then report my perspectives.
Game is a game
Christianity and Masculinity: The Failure of Game Redux (2018 April 23)
“That’s what sacrificial love actually means: stepping into the conflict to pull her toward sanctification.”
“This is not to say that men should take on any woman who wants to be in a relationship to fix them. A woman who continually ignores calls for repentance and sanctification is a poor choice for a wife. You want a wife who is going to follow you toward Christ, even if you have to sometimes bring her kicking and screaming. However, it should get better over time as she becomes more sanctified — she will build habits of good behavior and eschew bad behavior.”
The “even if you have to sometimes bring her kicking and screaming” part is the focus of my previous study of Discipline in Marriage (ca. 2018). So what’s wrong with using a little Game to reduce her resistance and increase her interest?
In the same post, DS quotes a comment from Cane Caldo, describing it as “the correct mindset to operate from”.
“Alright God: I’ll do it your way and by the book, Smart Guy! Whatever happens is on you! I’ll be sacrificial and loving no matter what she does, but I will also expect to be obeyed, and I will say so! I will be gentle, but never quit my expectations. I will stop trying to get her agreement, and settle for her obedience, even when she is bitter about it.”
Best thing I ever did. God’s way held up even though I sometimes slipped up and tried to change her mind instead of seek her submission (it confuses them, and prompts them to rebel), or failed to remain cheerful when she sometimes chafed.
I’ve told that story before, but before these last few posts I did not understand that what I threw out of my life was chivalry.”
Reading between the lines in bold, it is enlightening to realize that whatever Cane’s wife was thinking, really didn’t matter at all, and that her submission didn’t depend on whatever she was thinking. There’s something important to be learned there.
“The reason why game fails in the end is that it doesn’t obey God. It doesn’t reflect the fruits of the Spirit. It will never bring a wife to repentance. It dances around and covers up the actual issues present within the relationship or marriage. It operates from a state of judgment of bad behavior instead of seeking repentance through kindness.”
“Game is much like many Christian conservatives’ attachments to chivalry and complementarism. It hides the actual issue of rebellion with a “feel good” alternative. In this case, the “feel good” is making it seem like you have a good relationship instead of doing it God’s way.
Never thought I’d make that analogy like that, but it fits. The only difference is that Chivalry and Complementarism capitulate to the culture while Game does not. All of them nudge you in the wrong direction.”
DS is exactly right here, in that Game is a feral/fleshly interaction. For those who are mature/sanctified, the glorified life in the spirit has little use for Game. But what if you or your girl/wife are not mature/sanctified enough to see things this way? Is it a rebellion for a man to use Game tactics that his immature girl/wife needs and actually enjoys? (although she may not admit it).
I believe God loves us, even in our unsanctified state, even in our immaturity. God’s grace must extend to those who still relate to each other in immature/unsanctified ways. In fact, that’s what grace is all about.
Christianity and Masculinity: The failure of chivalry in Biblical marriage, works and desire, and the failure of game (2018 April 16)
An exerpt from the section on “Works and Desire”
“Working does not work. Biblical marriage is an image of Christ and the Church. The same standards apply to the husband and the wife. It is one of desire and not works.
You cannot work hard enough to placate your wife’s emotions (e.g. make her feel more attracted to you).
You cannot work hard enough that your wife will be pleased (e.g. do enough chores).
You cannot work hard enough that you will ever meet her expectations.
Falling into a pattern of works is falling into the temptation of sin. You are not trying to please her; you are trying to please the black hole that is unrestrained hypergamy. Your works will never be enough.”
“Does this mean that you shouldn’t try to please your wife? Certainly not. But it must come from desire and not working to try to please.”
The presence of desire is the key quality that is necessary in leading one to become humble and open one’s heart to the experience of love and grace. Sanctification occurs when our desires have been met or somehow resolved, and we gain a sense of peace and contentment.
So if your partner is not feeling that desire, then what? Does it mean she is already sanctified? Or maybe it means you are not the right man for the job. What if you’re the one whose desire has waned? Uh oh… What if you’re already married, and desire has faded, but sanctification is still nowhere in sight?
Ask yourself, what does your innermost heart desire? What does your wife/girl desire? If you want to tap into that desire, you may have to exercise some Frame and Game. No, scratch that… if you’re young and wild at heart, you’ll definitely have to utilize Frame and Game. I might be wrong here, but I want to say that rejecting Frame and feral Game simply because it’s “not God’s way”, may very well exclude someone from entering into certain life experiences that may lead to one’s sanctification.
The right Game for the right girl
An excerpt from the section entitled, “The failure of “game”
“The failure of “game” is that you’re trying to work to make sure a woman/wife is attracted to you. If you are under the burden of performance, it is almost inevitable that you will slip up at some point or another and she will be ‘less attracted and leave you.’”
Attraction is the key to dominance in the power dynamic. But if creating attraction is the man’s main goal in playing Game (with the purpose of tilling thatch), then he’s missed the point, and that’s why Game fails. The true goal of game (and discipline) is to foster a spiritual state of trust, humility, and grace.
“While Chivalry is the idolatry of romantic love, Game is the idolatry of narcissism. Instead of feelings as the idol, the idol is switched with the love of self-image. This is why most Game proponents of game laud the dark triad traits as the best way to attract women.”
Game can be the idolatry of narcissism, but Narcissistic Game is just one style that appeals to a certain kind of woman who is proud, spoiled, and apathetic, which just happens to be the majority of women in the West at this time in history. Compare to Kindness Game, which appeals to women who are insecure and have no self-confidence, which is still not uncommon in east-Asia. We must not neglect the particulars of the unique power play within a relationship. If a certain woman happens to ascribe power and Tingles to selfishness and narcissism, then that is what is going to move this particular woman’s heart. If another woman happens to ascribe love and affection to kindness and kino, then that is what works for her individually.
Should we deny the reality of what kind of stuff can touch and awaken a broken heart? Yes, we could say that certain terms of endearment are degenerate, that it’s not Godly. It’s not holy. But even though it might not fit the Biblical model to our liking, that’s the way it is, and we’ve got to come to terms with where we are, and what works in the present state. So let’s start with what works, and strive to make things better. We cannot demand that everything should become perfect, before we are willing to put our hand to the plow. Demanding perfection is one manifestation of sin.
If we come to terms with ourselves, and the nature of the woman in our life, does it mean that we’re outside of God’s grace? Are we living in rebellion? Are we cutting ourselves off from God’s blessings and grace? As dirty as it might seem, coming to terms with our human nature is a necessary step in realizing our need for Christ, and trusting Him to make this mess of a life into something worth living for.
Count the cost of maintaining the mission
Christianity and Masculinity: The goal for Christian husbands whose wives deny them should not be sex but their wife’s repentance (2019 October 29)
The main point of this post is that husbands should stay focused (on their God ordained mission in life), and not let their need for sex make them subservient to their wives. In the comments, GreyGhost and Sharkly emphasized the point that a husband’s godly leadership (however you want to interpret that) doesn’t always lead to the wife’s repentance (in the form of creating attraction and increasing her interest in her sexual duties to her husband).
Because a lack of sex can be extremely debilitating for certain men, thinking outside the need-for-sex box can be very difficult for certain men to maintain. This post offers some regular encouragement for men who are struggling with this. However, more attention should be given to individual contexts, otherwise, the good advice in the OP and from others in the comments could be easily mistaken as inappropriate.
“The goal of the importance of God’s mission and acting as the leader in the home is not sex. Yes, you become more attractive so that generally your wife will want to have sex with you over time. Yes, that’s a good thing. But it’s not the end goal. When you start doing God’s mission for you and acting like a leader in the home, THAT is the way you actually help bring a wife to repentance. Yes, she should be mature enough Christian to realize that she is in sin and needs to repent, but that doesn’t always happen because most Christians are not spiritually mature and can recognize their own pet sins in a world that encourages them.”
The quality of sex in a marriage might be taken as a litmus test of how strong the marriage is. Granted, this is a man’s perspective, and there are probably some exceptions, but I think the point stands. If your wife is frigid for any length of time, for any reason, then your marriage will slowly drift off to hades, and take you along with it. If this is a recalcitrant and recurring problem, and the wife has no interest in repenting of her neglect, then there is not a lot of hope to improve the union.
If you’re a Christian man intent on achieving sanctification, then her non-repentance is totally unacceptable. As important as it might be, the main problem with the husband attempting to solve this problem by being obedient (through cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit) is that it doesn’t guarantee the wife’s repentance, which is taken to be a necessary condition for sanctification to occur. If the wife is unresponsive to the Holy Spirit, and she really doesn’t care about spiritual growth, or the health of the marriage, then what can a Christian man do? In this case, a marriage to such a woman is little more than an open door allowing Satan into the man’s life.
This is exactly why the Bible warns us against “being unequally yoked” (2nd Corinthians 6:14). Most preachers and teachers interpret this passage to specify a marriage between a Christian and an unbeliever. But they have missed the larger point. In practice, it’s destructive to be yoked to anyone who doesn’t share your spiritual disposition, or your values, or goals in life. DS says a man should be focused on his “mission”, but if his woman doesn’t agree with or value his mission, then this approach will detonate his marriage, and not “bring her around to repentance” as would be expected.
A wife who is sexually lazy is actually a subtle rebellion that works through attrition. It seems that the most important piece of information that is missing in the OP is how to deal with this problem effectively. Trey advocates loving discipline, and I agree. There is a severe drought of information about how to administer discipline, and this is why I’ve studied this extensively and written many posts on the subject. For more on this, see the page, Discipline in Marriage.
This is also why I’m hesitant to reject Game altogether. If you have an immature or unbelieving wife who insists on being feral, then you have to be kind of the same. Otherwise, the marriage is doomed, and depending on how much you’ve got invested in your marriage, possibly your life and your children’s lives as well. I think Game can be employed to reinforce discipline in a way that an unregenerate wife will respond to. Getting her response is the first step, and then you can focus on improving her response, and eventually wean her off of the fleshly methods.
We live in an ugly reality. If you can find a better woman, then go for it. But don’t count on it. Good women are as rare as horse feathers. If the best you can do is hooking a selfish sad-sack, and God gives you the heart to love her, then maybe it’s the way you’ll have to go. If Game is what makes her feel loved and brings her around to repentance, then Game it must be. If you’re not willing to do this dirty job, then you’re probably just flinging her to the next Chad. So choose wisely. As DS says, “count the cost”.
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” ~ Luke 14:26-33 (NKJV)
I’ve come to see that Deep Strength’s assessments of Game was essentially accurate. The reason why Game may not be “God’s way” is when it supports the woman’s idolatry of romantic love and the Tingles. It becomes idolatry at the point when she gets addicted to the dopamine rush, which must necessarily be more intense and thrilling with each successive trammeling, and this prevents her from making progress towards sanctification. Sex is supposed to support and contribute towards sanctification, but if Game leads to sex (or the refusal of Game leads to no sex), but not sanctification, then this is reminiscent of idolatry. As long as she finds all her fantastical emotional needs met through a man with tight Game, she won’t strengthen her reliance on God’s love and grace, although she might believe so while the action is hot. The main weakness of Game in this respect, is that the trust and humility, as well as the Rock and Roller coaster of emotions that she craves, cannot be continued for an indefinite period of time.
Now although Game is not “God’s way” directly, I still believe Game has an important place. I can think of several situations in which Game could offer intrinsic value.
- If your girl is not a Christian, or if she is, but she’s spiritually immature, or far behind in her process of becoming more sanctified, then you’ll need to practice some game to keep her going. The simple reason is that if she doesn’t know how to rely on God to get her emotional and spiritual needs satisfied, then you (or the next man she finds) are all she’s got! If you’re cool at Game, and you’ve got some natural compatibility going on, then this will keep her into you (and you into her) for a while, maybe long enough for her to know God better and allow her wayward heart to settle down.
- If your girl is under the age of 25, you’ll probably need some game to keep her interest locked in to you. Women in that age bracket are at their peak SMV, and they have too many intersexual opportunities, and not enough maturity to handle it. In other words, they lack moral agency, and they don’t know their right hand from their left. Given the plethora of affirmation available to them on a daily basis, they may find it very difficult to experience humility, and so they will need a man who knows how to help them to that end.
- Here is some really dank truth. For some women, being Gamed and then being heartbroken might be their ticket into the Kingdom of God, because this forces them to view their idol for what it is – a capricious Chad playing kingpins for the p*ssy. This rude wakeup call will beckon her to find God in the process of recovery. However, this experience will add some negative consequences (e.g. emotional baggage, poor bonding, possibly even STD’s) into her subsequent relationship. Namely, she won’t be able to put her whole heart into the relationship, and this will be a continually burning source of dissatisfaction for the man. In short, she’ll be more worthy in God’s eyes because she’s burned out of her idolatry, but ironically, she’ll be less worthy of a man in marriage because everything about her that was worthy, beautiful, and good, got burned up through her liberation from that idolatry.
The simple reason Game becomes necessary is because some people (like maybe your wife) can’t or won’t do things God’s way, yet love and desire prevent one from writing her off as lost, and dumping her in the gutter. In other words, Game is an indemnity.
In defense of learning Game, it sure helps a man understand himself, refine his social technique, and gain confidence around women, which are all very attractive traits. If a woman, even a Christian woman, has a choice between a man with Game and a man without it, all other things being equal, she will definitely go for the man with Game. Absolutely! Unless she’s been taught to eschew Game, or has had a bad experience that has conditioned her to reject her natural desire.
Game can also teach a man how women operate in their natural state. The grand majority of all women are far from being spiritually mature, so having a bit of Game can help a man know how to deal with women in general.
Lastly, provided that you’re not breaking trust or leading her away from God, Game adds a lot of fun and dimensional depth to the relationship. Adult Play between the two of you is an important part of a healthy relationship.
- Σ Frame: Pick Up Game – Does it serve the needs of Men, or is it for Women? (2017 September 23)
- Σ Frame: Introduction to Game Theory 101 (2018 February 11)