The heart must reorient towards embracing Covenantal archetypes.
Reader’s Note: This post describes an application of making Bids and Demands.
Length: 3,000 words
Reading Time: 12 minutes
Case Study: Wife Demands Perfect Love
My wife and I had a long argument one morning.* The meat and potatoes of the argument involved two blog posts that we shared with each other the night before.
First, I shared this post with her:
Finer Femininity: The wife desired senses what is needed (2021 February 5)
Then she shared this post with me:
First Cry Parenting: How to be a good husband to keep your marriage happy (2019 February 14)
I won’t go into the article from First Cry here, except to say that is filled with feminist Blue Pill ideals. (It’s actually quite difficult to find anything Based online.)
In summary of the conversation with my wife, she had the idea that unless I did everything described in the First Cry post, I wasn’t really loving her. I knew this was a false, even outlandish claim. I knew even if I did everything in that post flawlessly, she would still find other things to be discontented with. But she insisted that it would make her happy.
I asked her how she would feel if I said she didn’t really love me unless she did everything in the Finer Femininity post I shared with her. She got angry and said she couldn’t and she wouldn’t. I responded, “You refuse to even try! So is it right for me to say that you don’t really love me?” She became confused and didn’t respond.
I told her, “Those articles describe two dichotomous ideals, but reality is far from either ideal. People are not perfect. Everyone has some shortcomings. Love doesn’t begin when the ideal has been reached [as she believed]. Love begins at the point where we embrace the fact that reality fails to match the ideal.”
This was a shocker for her and she went ballistic. But after she sat on this idea for a while (a few hours), she began to accept the truth of it. When she finally did, she felt very sorry for herself.
Since this event,* her expectations have become a little more realistic, and her attitude has improved somewhat. From a wider viewpoint, this discussion had put a crack in her Fairy Tale notions of love and marriage, which was somewhat tragic, but also remedial – and necessary for sanctification.
Looking back on this, I saw that this occasion was not just one, but two answered prayers.
- A guy in my men’s group had recently prayed for my wife to love me more.
- I had been praying to understand the purpose of the Covenant Law more clearly.
Next, I’ll discuss what (2) means.
* Note: This event happened on Sunday, February 7, 2021.
Love as described by Covenant Law
One of the reasons why the Covenant Law is important is because it points out how we cannot reach God’s ideal, but it also reveals God’s love. To explain this, I’ll begin with an insightful description of love from 1st Corinthians 13.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Looking at this chapter from an introspective viewpoint, we can observe the following implications.
Verses 1-3: There is no skill set to be had, no threshold of perfection that must be met, nor any standard of performance that must be reached before one can make the effort to love and be loved. To reach for these things instead of directly embracing the challenges of love amounts to chasing after the Old Covenant at best, or Pharisaical Legalism at worst. The Law of the New Covenant invites us to love God, our neighbors, and our spouses, and this love begins in the here and now.
Verses 4-7: These are good things for husbands to remember when faced with the difficult task of loving their wives. (See Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 5:28, and Colossians 3:19.) Furthermore, when a husband instructs his wife to offer better responses to his bids, he is inviting her to engage with him in a manner that better represents a loving interaction according to the New Covenant. It seems that most women need to be constantly, gently, and firmly reminded of this.
Verses 8-12: Apparently, practicing the Covenantal Law of Love contributes towards our spiritual maturity. These verses also suggest that prophecy** and special knowledge (e.g. Red Pill lore) are required to deal with those who are spiritually immature. (The word “Perfect” in verse 10 refers to spiritual maturity in a person.)
Verse 13: Faith, Hope, and Love are the troika of Christian Living.
Similar to my wife’s expectations of love and marriage, the Covenant Law is like an ideal that is impossible to attain.* We cannot love our neighbor perfectly. We cannot even love God perfectly. Meanwhile, real life is a totally different world. Feministic ideologies encroach our sense of masculine domain and authority, and nasty people test our wits and our patience on a daily basis. Moreover, people are not perfect. Everyone has some shortcomings. But love doesn’t begin when the ideal has been reached (as my wife believed, and some religious folks think). If we work and wait for perfection, then we’ll always be discontented and frustrated. Love begins at the point where we embrace the fact that reality fails to match the ideal, and this is because humility is a key ingredient in experiencing and exchanging love.
Secular culture describes this collision with reality as “coming to terms with one’s self” or “getting a grip on life”. Evangelical Christians believe this point of transformation begins with repentance and forgiveness. Ed Hurst has written for years about how renewal happens when people begin to embrace Covenant Law, and I am coming to see things the same way, because “coming to terms” might help one learn to navigate through life, repentance and forgiveness may stop the (relation)ship from sailing in the wrong direction, but these are not enough to turn the ship around to head(ship) in the right direction. We must know the coordinates of life that are defined by the Covenant Law and head(ship) in that direction.
* People from different faith backgrounds may view Covenant Law differently. Someone with an Arminian background may consider the Covenant Law to be like a standard to strive towards. Someone from a Calvinistic background might see it as a standard to be judged by. But the bottom line is that either way you look at it, we cannot not match the standard. Arminian thinkers must explore the extent to which God is willing to exercise His sovereignty, and must grapple with the question of whether people are truly free to choose (i.e. not knowing the choice that will be made because, let’s face it, if the perfect and all powerful God knows what you’ll choose ahead of time it’s not really a choice). Calvinist thinkers have to deal with the question of why, if God is sovereign and planned everything out, are we still culpable for certain consequences of sin? But the answers to all of these questions can be found in one’s willingness to love in the present moment.
** A prophet is one who enlightens people to recognize truth, pursue God’s will for mankind, and prepare themselves accordingly. See Current Trends in Prophecy (2020-03-13) for more on this.
Different Perspectives of Love
A man wants a woman to offer herself — her affections, her youthful beauty, her fertile body, her passionate enthusiasm, her time, and her feminine intuitions — to lend service to his life purpose. In fact, a man who holds this expectation of a woman, which is similar to what is described by Finer Feminity (which I conveyed to my wife in the case study above), is not in disagreement with the archetype of femininity described in the Biblical Covenant. But unfortunately for too many women, this is the last thing to enter their minds. It just doesn’t stack up to women’s expectations of romantic love from boyfriends, dutiful provision and protection from husbands, or the intense Tingling heat from Chads. Hence, the Feminine Christian Marriage Quadrilemma.
For example, we are used to hearing women say things like, “He should love me the way I am!” and “If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve my best!” But at no point will they ever admit that their attitude and behavior is unacceptable and that they cannot measure up to the Covenant standard (gentle, modest, pure, quiet spirit, respectful, submissive, etc. See 1st Peter 3:1-6 and Ephesians 5:33). That would require humility, you see.
When my wife demanded that I should treat her like what is described in the First Cry post, she intended this as a request for me to express more love to her. But I knew that if I had done so, it would not have had the desired effect to make her feel loved. So instead, I pressed my wife for a response to my request for her to be more aware of my needs (according to the Finer Femininity post). By doing so, I was able to elicit a confession from her that she could not measure up. (She said, “I can’t, and I won’t!”) Although she intended this statement to be a refusal, in fact, it was a confession that ushered her into a repentance. The way I expressed love to her was to make her aware of her confusion about her expectations of love, and guide her towards a repentance. Afterwards, she did begin to feel loved, and she expressed this to me by loving me more in return.
A similar dynamic happens with men, but from the opposite extreme. This may be due to a misunderstanding and misapplication of love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13. Christian men and women alike consider the behavior described in 1 Corinthians 13 to be reminiscent of the proverbial “Nice Guy” (c.f. Robert Glover’s book) which we know can never score any points in life. Christian love has the “nice guy” image partly because a works mentality is assumed by those who don’t know God very well and also because they have some sort of covert contract with God or with their partner, thereby becoming a modern example of prodigal son’s older brother – a legalistic Pharisee. That is, people think that God and/or a spouse should reward virtuous behavior with blessings, attention, or sex, respectively, and misdemeanors with punishment, so they work their @sses off in order to avoid the consequences of their sin and to build a better life for themselves. But that’s just not how it works. (The Book of Job dispels this false myth.) As a result, men are doing backflips to accommodate women’s bad behaviors (usually in the hope of getting laid).
The point is, men might behave in loving ways, according to 1 Corinthians 13, but these actions are not perceived nor received as love by the wife. The reason is because these men will never admit that their effeminate concepts of “love”, characterized by a simping attitude and pedestalizing behaviors are unacceptable to God and to women as well, and that they cannot measure up to an authoritative Headship role. In other words, it’s not their actions that are wrong, it is their faith in their God ordained masculine authority and the accompanying frame of mind that are missing. By focusing on these false concepts of love and authority, many other virtuous traits are neglected and fall into disuse, or are never developed in the first place.
These false images of Christ, Christian love, Covenant authority, and masculinity are where Christianity has gone wrong.
It’s quite common for western men to think this way, given decades of feminist indoctrination, but this notion does not originate from feminist culture nor even bad church doctrine. It originates from the fallen mind’s desire to orchestrate our own lives. So to some extent, we all have to watch for this tendency in ourselves — to think that following the rules obligates God to reward us in certain ways according to our conveniences, desires, pleasures, or preferences. In addition, too often it is assumed that the rewards will be financial, temporal, and/or carnal in nature, instead of the power that comes of fitting ourselves into the Covenant archetype and finding joy in pleasing our creator.
This is a shocker for men, especially Christian men who are familiar with 1st Corinthians 13, and who have the idea that if they just “love” (viz. worship and obey) their wives more, then their wives will magically reform themselves into sexy monogamous Proverbs 31 ex-bimbos! But women just don’t function this way, and men don’t know what to do about this because they won’t embrace the Covenant standard for men, or worse, condemn it as misogynistic. Some men cannot accept the truth of this idea even after many years of marriage. When they finally take the Red Pill, it only comes after a devastating heartbreak and/or fiscal ruin. They have to hit bottom before they know which way is up. (Me included.)
Why are those ideals expressed in the two blog articles cited at the beginning important? Those articles express ideals that we can strive to attain, and also which reveal our shortcomings and weaknesses, and our need for love and grace. However, the article from Finer Femininity is closer to God’s Covenant Law, and is therefore a better ideal to strive for. But the bottom line is that we cannot ever match the ideal (either one, really), and that is where love begins. We begin to receive God’s love and grace when we face our weaknesses and shortcomings. We trample the grace of God when we deny them or refuse to admit that we cannot measure up.
As I wrote earlier, love begins at the point where we embrace the fact that reality fails to match the ideal. We must then follow through by adapting to the relational structure outlined in the Covenant Law.
Here’s a simple way to sum up all the cognitive dissonance about love:
- The worldly ideal of love is focused on what one gets out of the transaction (For women, e.g. protection, provision, status, Tingles, etc.; For men, e.g. sex.) Of note, the Covert Contract is a transactional view of what one gets out of the interaction. It might be accompanied by loving behaviors, but the contractual context displaces the discernment necessary to employ wisdom in the interaction, and thereby destroys the delivery of the message.
- The Covenant ideal of love is focused on what one gives towards encouraging the other person’s growth towards maturity (For women, e.g. childrearing, companionship, help in various ways, a quiet heart, respect, sex, submission, etc.; For men, e.g. direction, guidance, protection, provision, purpose, etc.)
With these differences in perspective in mind, it becomes clear why worldly minded people misinterpret the nature of Christ as described in 1 Corinthians 13 as a weakness, and how the Covert Contract (or a similar mentality) transforms gestures of love into pedestalization.
Applying Deep Strengths list of vetting qualifications, Scott’s axiom, and Deti’s techniques are quite helpful. However, these are merely adaptations to the current malaise, and won’t necessarily lead to successful (i.e. sanctified) marriages and families. We need more than these tactics and strategies. We need to embrace the Covenant Law and the authority of Headship that it grants.
So if you are dealing with a person who is entirely focused on what he/she gets out of your relationship, and who never gives a thought to how they enhance or contribute to your life, then you are dealing with a selfish worldly person. You may want to reconsider how much of yourself you wish to invest in this person.
Likewise, if we are only thinking about a relationship in terms of what we can get out of it, or if we are making a lot of “loving” efforts with the expectation of getting something in return, then we need to reorient our desires to align with the Covenant Law in order to get into the correct frame of mind in which we can recognize the potential for synergy. Instead of lingering in a subjective poverty mentality and/or a works mentality, exercise discernment to detect the superposed synergy that the two of you could achieve. Making this paradigm shift will change the realm of possibilities that we are able to perceive.
Some questions arise from this, which I’ll pose here.
- What does Covenant Law mean to the reader?
- What does Covenant Law mean in the context of romantic love and marriage?
- Why would we not experience/feel/recognize Covenant Law as God’s love?
- Does this mean that husbands should anticipate wives to fail in exercising agency, and arrange reservations or make a Plan B in the event that she does?
- If a wife is insufficiently mature enough to exercise moral agency, does this mean that husbands should employ prophecy (e.g. expounding on Biblical principles and how they are applied), and/or knowledge (e.g. Red Pill theory, “Married Game” techniques) to keep their wives in line and feeling loved? Is this what love would require in this case?
- Should men who take the Red Pill feel sorry for their past Blue Pill selves? On one hand, true repentance is necessary, but on the other hand, excessive self-pity is not helpful for moving on.