Kindness and Grace are not what we are led to believe.
Readership: Christians; Married Men;
Length: 1,300 words
Reading Time: 4.5 minutes
There are three things which are too wonderful for me,Proverbs 30:18-19 (NKJV)
Yes, four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,
And the way of a man with a virgin.
Kindness, properly understood as a spiritual characteristic, is the impartation of the quality of acceptance into God’s presence and His world of Shalom. Grace is when one is given the opportunity to enter into that Shalom when one is yet unqualified or unfit to do so. (The term “unearned” is often used, but I feel this is a misnomer, since it cannot be earned.) Once the doorway to Shalom has been opened to an individual by the power of God’s kindness and grace, it is expected that the individual will realize that there is a parallel paradigm in which to navigate life and that through the participatory experience, one will learn to adapt and become a part of the Covenant Life.
Modern Christians, and many non-Christians as well, have somehow gained the notion that kindness and grace are “nice”, patient, polite, soft, and “caring” — something akin to agape love. While this may often be the case, this quality is not absolutely necessary, and can sometimes work against the process of integration. I won’t pretend to know where this notion came from (maybe we’ll figure it out as we go), but I’ll guess that it went hand in hand with chivalry and the feminization of Christianity.
This post will examine how kindness and grace are not very “nice” in the context of intersexual interactions and marital sanctification.
An Unregenerated Character is a Loose Cannon
From an evo-psyche perspective, the goal is procreation, while simultaneously, the goal of the Holy Spirit is our sanctification. For kindness and grace to take effect, there are various “obstacles” to these goals that need to be “removed”.
In the Answers to the Exit Questions for the Series on Masculinity (2021-07-02), one of the conclusions was that the character of the wife is a large determinant of whether or not a man can be honest with her.
“This got me to thinking about my wife and her character. Whether it’s the ability to be honest around her or really anything else we do as a couple, a lot of what makes our relationship work is her character. Yes, there is/was visceral attraction, and as important as that was back in the day when we met, the character issue was as important, and probably more important to making the marriage last in the long run.”
“So, it’s not just about ‘maintaining frame’ and all the other stuff we guys are supposed to do that makes it work. Her character is/was the difference maker. In other words, I could have done all that stuff and it still would not have worked out in the long run if she didn’t have the character.”
In other words, the standard implementation of Frame and Game is not consistently effective towards sanctification (i.e. entering into a state of Covenant Shalom). In order for her to be cooperative to this end, she must first be made to “see” the parallel paradigm.
Deep Strength responded,
“Generally, “reframing” fixes most of these issues. If you’re going to emote and cry over a fear or worry you have that’s generally something that a woman would do. Some men do this. Their women are repulsed. Sharing it the “masculine” way per se by indicating that this could be an issue and sharing it with a wife and asking her suggestions without getting overly emotional and problem solving the issue is good potential leadership.
It seems to me that some of the issue might be the way in which someone does something rather than what they are actually doing. The way in which a confident man would ask out a woman rather than a timid man is pretty stark even setting aside physical appearance.”
There are a couple things about Deep Strength’s viewpoint that need further explanation. First, early in a relationship, it is necessary for the man to construct the Covenant relational archetype by being assertive, confident, and masculine. In other words, he must establish Headship. This is Deep Strength’s point. However, this alone is not enough to impart the kindness and grace necessary to draw her into Shalom.
Secondly, if a man is going to be totally honest and authentic, then he doesn’t have much of a choice about whether it will come off as “masculine” or “feminine”. The only choice he has is whether to go on pretending to be what he thinks he should be (which is usually much easier), or to be real. If he chooses the latter, then when the real person comes out, whatever is inside will be manifested, quirks, farts, warts and all.
The value of being honest and authentic is that it is a confession/profession of character – it allows the real person to come out where it can be seen and dealt with, and this creates an opportunity for any shortcomings to be improved. It is a step towards grace. It also helps others understand the man for who he really is, and not what people want to think about him.
The problem with this is that if the man is not sufficiently mature, then taking this approach may benefit his own growth, but it does not fit the Covenant relational archetype, and will not yield any sanctification in an intersexual relationship. This is the main point that Adam Piggott made in his critique, Husbands must not unburden themselves (2021 July 6).
Deep Strength continues [emphasis mine],
“I can choose to be fat or muscular and one is obviously better for attracting my wife versus challenging and negatively influencing her in submission and respect.”
Yes, physical “candy” (as well as other LAMPS qualities) can be an effective “lure” to draw her in (if he has it), but this too is not enough to achieve sanctification. A man must address the spiritual interaction, and not only the physical.
“[Likewise,] I can be “open and honest” with my wife if I do it in a masculine way but not in a feminine way, and it shouldn’t have much negative blowback whether I was attractive to her or not. However, the exception is if the way you do it (or the way she perceives it) perpetuates an inverted roles relationship in which that would be bad all around.”
Once again, the exception proves the rule. Ultimately, it is about maintaining Headship, which goes back to my first point. The only way that a man can assert Headship, and come across as more masculine than feminine, is by improving his character, or as past Manospherians have put it, “You can’t fake being Alpha. You actually have to become a better man!”
Challenges Bring Maturity in Men
Much of this maturation comes through acculturation and upbringing, but this venue of personal growth has failed in our modern culture. However, a spiritually minded man will recognizes that the challenges of life, as orchestrated by God, have the effect of refining his character. A man can be more willing to embrace the challenges, engage in this process, and nurture a positive attitude about it (which admittedly can be difficult at times), but ultimately, the process of maturation is the work of God in a man.
Why should God challenge the character of a man? It is for the benefit of his own refinement, and by extension, the spiritual lives of all those whom he may influence throughout his life. This is an expression of the kindness of God towards that man specifically, and towards his family and community in general. I know the word “kindness” will cause some readers to flinch and think twice, so I’ll say that it would be unkind for God to allow a man to wallow in an immature, unregenerated state against his will and His purposes, so God allows pain, pressures, and challenges in life as a form of refinement and growth.† Of course, during this process of regeneration, it is to be expected that the man’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities will become manifested. But this is a part of the process. Those things must become apparent, so that those issues can be dealt with and resolved.
Challenges bring Maturity in Women too
“Given what I already said in the previous section, why challenge the character of your wife?”
The answer should be evident. It is for the benefit of her own refinement, and by extension, the spiritual lives of all those whom she may influence throughout her life.
In fact, a man doesn’t need to make much effort at all to challenge his wife’s character. His own weaknesses and the hardships of life are sufficient for this purpose. But the problem is that many men try to play the proverbial Chivalrous Nice Guy™, and they even believe that it is the “Christian” thing to do! By doing so, not only do they prevent a woman from ever waking up to her worst nature, but they stoke the flames of her indignant discontentment even higher! So from a spiritual viewpoint, the Chivalrous Nice Guy™ is more misogynistic than not, because he neglects his God ordained duty to teach and mould his wife (if he has one), and thereby allows her spiritual constitution to stagnate and fester.
A man who has fewer weaknesses and a bit of Game is a little better off in this regard, but not much. A man who relies on Game tactics to appease his wife’s worst nature may be doing what it takes to keep his marriage intact, but he’s still being rather unkind to his wife because this still allows her poor spiritual constitution to continue on unchecked. A kinder man would allow the character of his wife to be challenged, just as God allows his own character to be challenged, all for the purpose of growth and refinement.*
All of this is just another way of saying something we already know — that being “nice” won’t produce sanctification in a relationship, and in fact, it can be rather annoying.
* Before anyone labels this misogynistic, of course, this must be done without violating trust, or else it all falls apart. Exercising discernment is key.
Case Study – Make no bones about it!
Here is a case study to help readers understand what I am talking about in this post.
I won’t eat the cartilage on the end of bones, but my wife likes to eat that. She told me that eating soft bone and epithelial tissue is good for her skin. (Actually, it’s true!) During meals, she often expressed that she wanted me to give her the soft bone to eat instead of passing it to the garbage. So after a while, I developed a habit of eating the meat off of the bone, and then putting the bones and cartilage on my wife’s plate for her to gnaw on.
Then one day, I gave her a chicken bone and it made her angry. She said, “I always give you the best cuts of meat, and you always give me the bones! You only give me what you don’t want for yourself!” In response, I told her, “Yes, I always give you the bones… because I love you! [said with sarcastic emphasis] If I didn’t love you, then I wouldn’t give you any bones at all! I would just throw them in the garbage.” At first, she interpreted my words as arrogant chauvinism, which made her more angry and indignant. But after a moment, she recognized the inherent and ironic kindness of the act, and it brought her into Shalom! This made her feel loved and she burst into tears. Since then, we laugh about this whenever we remember it.
Isn’t it surprising how being a chauvinist @$$ can bring Sanctification? I believe this is what the author of Proverbs was referring to in verse 19 (cited before the introduction). It is the power of God at work!
My main point here is that Kindness must be properly understood as an acceptance into God’s presence and His world of Shalom, and Grace (in this specific context) is when the wife is given the opportunity to enter into the Shalom of Headship when she is unqualified or unfit to do so. As you can imagine, western men need a lot of grace towards their wives these days! A man who extends kindness and grace to his wife may actually need to be very rude in his efforts to wake her up from the prevalent worldly paradigm and make her see another way of living. A man’s task of making this goal evident to his wife may be just as difficult as God making the goal of suffering understood by a man.
We are tempted to cling to Red Pill tenets of being masculine, developing Game, and maintaining Frame, thinking that this should be a magic bullet for relational woes. But while this is necessary, it is not sufficient. Men must not lose sight of the overall goal, which is to make his wife realize that there is a parallel paradigm of Covenant Headship in which the marriage can be harmonious and satisfying, and that through her participation, she can learn to adapt and become a part of the Covenant Life.
Anyone who says this is unrealistic, or that “it doesn’t work”, is only thinking along a short term humanistic strategy and fails to understand God’s prerogatives of Redemption and Sanctification. Those who can understand the deep inner workings of the Holy Spirit and “the way of a man with a maiden” may come to understand why “Chicks dig jerks!”
- Σ Frame: Confidence and Authenticity in Speech (2009-12-28)
- Σ Frame: On the Authenticity of Appearance and Avatar (2018-11-21)
- Σ Frame: The Relinquished Life (2021-03-08)
- Σ Frame: When walking on eggshells, step boldly! (2021-06-30)
† The problem of pain and suffering: In a nutshell, many people believe that if God were good and kind, then suffering and evil would not exist. But in fact, God’s kindness is what allows men to have (1) the free will that results in their own sufferings, and (2) the divine grace necessary to produce regeneration in the crucible of life. Only those who (1) idolize pleasure, comfort, and convenience, or (2) cannot envision God’s plan of redemption will conclude that God is negligent, evil, or does not exist.
Wintery Knight has reviewed the problems of evil and suffering.
- Wintery Knight: Greg Ganssle Explains the Problems of Evil and Suffering (2014/09/18)
- Wintery Knight: Why Does God Let People Suffer? Why is There so much Evil in the World? (2015/09/20)
- Wintery Knight: Should We Expect to Know What God’s Reason is for Allowing Evil and Suffering? (2021/07/02)