Thoughts on wife selection and wife molding.
Readership: Marriage Minded Men
Theme: Giving the gift of your self to others.
Author’s Note: The contents of this post are the gleanings of an email string between me, deti, and Jack. Jack helped organize and compile the content. Email addresses and real names have been omitted to protect the innocent and mild profanity has been edited, also to protect the innocent.
Length: 1,850 words
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Last Wednesday, deti hit us with a barrage of raw truths in his post, Deti’s Advice to Underqualified Men (2020-12-08). In the comments that followed, the general observation I had was about the pessimistic tone which bended towards hopelessness.
What struck me in reading comments from some of the men is that they mentally eliminate any woman in her late 20’s because she’s done the horizontal tango too many times with other men for their liking. (With the risks involved, I can understand why.) Then they look at the remaining pool of potential women in their early 20’s and discard them as well, because they don’t see any good ones based on observed behavior. (I think we’d all agree that they’re too entitled, flighty, indignant, emotionally immature, and cling to feministic attitudes toward sex, men, children, and family, not to mention the constant obnoxious moxie clichés.)
I recall one regular commenter running through this logical deduction and it struck me as defeatist. This prompted me to bounce my thoughts off deti. A string of emails ensued, and deti urged me to write up my observations in a post.
I used to handle information and make decisions by process of elimination in the same way that the commenter described. In doing this, I defeated myself before I ever even tried. But I learned to think differently, more faithful rather than factual, through the example of the guy who started the insurance agency I work for. I’ll call him Sam. He always thinks things will work out in his favor and so he tries in spite of not perceiving any good prospects. It doesn’t always work out the way he thinks it will, but he will adapt mid process and he rarely ever fails.
One day, Sam told me that he’s told other agency owners exactly what he does and how he does it in order to generate the sales volume he does. I asked him if he was worried about whether the competition might adopt his ideas and thereby ramp up the competition, and he told me he wasn’t concerned at all because they convince themselves it won’t work and so they’ll never even try.
What Sam told me that day about marketing is so applicable to men struggling in the SMP. I realized that whenever we are faced with a situation in which there are no easy answers, cultivating a sense of vision and purpose is an expression of our faith in ourselves and in God. Being innovative when dealing with unknowns, sticking with it, and rolling with the punches are all part of the process. Success is never easy nor can we think of it as a sure thing. We have to work out our faith. (Philippians 2:12-16; James 1:2-12; James 2:14-26)
So when I see men discarding women who, with the right guidance, could be at least adequate as wives, the defeatism picks a nerve with me. I have the same attitude with my boys too. It makes me livid when they tell me they “can’t” do something, because I know there is a very real mental barrier constructed in the act of saying, “I can’t”, that limits the realm of what is possible.
Applying Faith by Considering Future Wife Potential when Vetting
What this means for men who want to be married is that, first, they have to be engaged in the challenge of conquering themselves and reaching towards their life’s purpose, and second, they have to be willing to look at woman’s potential to be the wife he wants — a woman who can fit into and support his life’s purpose — instead of dismissing all women because none are exactly what they want from the very start.
When we begin to look at women through the lens of their potential as wives and mothers, then it is obvious that the probability that her sex and dating history might become a hinderance to pair bonding and marital sanctification only increases with her age and experience. Around the CRP sphere, we urge men not to consider women over 25 or past an N count of 2 for this reason, but these are just estimated numbers based on probabilities. IRL, women vary case by case. A 20 year old virgin might have a latent inner hoe tendency that blows up after marriage. A 30 year old single mom ex carousel rider might become a very wise mother and devoted partner. You never know for sure until you open her up. But employing discernment, wisdom, and faith can give you a clue.
All that said, going younger has many potential advantages.
- The beauty and vitality of youth
- Longer fertility window
- Fewer sex partners
- Less set in her ways
- Being more apt to adapt to her man
There is also the biological reality that if a man wants a larger family or wants to avoid the increasing risk of birth defects from a higher risk pregnancy, then he needs to go younger. My wife’s OBGYN says various risks start to increase exponentially around 34 years old, and pregnancies over the age of 35 are called “geriatric pregnancies” within the medical field, which gives us a rude idea of the situation.
Yes, there are potential disadvantages of going younger, such as emotional immaturity, impulsivity, not being marriage minded, or being prone to enjoy (too much) the male attention that youth affords her, but between the two options (under 25 vs. over 25), the under 25 class will typically have easier flaws to overcome than the over 25 class.
Since we as men tend to be able to accept reality and adapt to it, then younger is going to be the option with the higher probability of working out the way the man wants. There’s much more potential, but also a lot of work in the moulding and shaping. But the biggest hindrances are in the mind, in forming a vision, and in doing what is required to step up to the challenge.
Men need to Gain an Eye for Potential
The concept that you have to look for the potential in a woman is an important one. Much like a piece of real estate that is undeveloped or poorly organized but which can be renovated into a fantastic space, you have to envision a plan, invest the time, and put in the work to make it into what you want.
In my email exchange with deti, we were getting at how a man can find a woman who can become a good wife. I mentioned to deti that women are better at recognizing potential in men, and he commented that men are not taught to look for potential in women. This is a vetting habit that has been neglected, if not entirely forgotten. Men of late have fallen into the feminine frame of sizing up a potential mate based on the feeelz and performance, especially sexual performance, but thinking this way guarantees that you’ll get a woman who has already been broken in and shaped by other men, and this severely reduces her potential as your wife.
What men need to do is to start assessing women on their character to see if they will stick it out through the change process. Of course, no woman wants to change herself for a man. They will resist and protest all the way. But how hard she fights the process depends on her temperament. If you think of potential wives on a resistance spectrum, the Tingly Respect model woman would be on one end and the raging, man loathing feminist would be on the other.
The interesting part of how God designed marriage and us as people, is that the more a man can mold a woman into the wife he wants, the more satisfying and secure the marriage will be for both. All the Christian RP ideas and tactics fall under this concept. Tingly Respect, Headship, dread, outcome independence, being dominant, making demands, improving yourself… you get the idea, are all pointing towards molding a woman into being the kind of wife the husband wants. The better a man can mold his wife, the more she becomes what he wants. The more she wants to please him for the attention and affirmation, the happier he is with her. God made us to create this positive feedback loop because this symbiotic oneness in marriage secures the union.
Although it is assumed that a woman has to willingly choose to remain with her man, I don’t know if her willingness to submit is necessary. Deti and I certainly fall much more on the coercion side than the “wife willingly submits” side, unless you count “dragged along kicking and screaming by force of my will or divorce ultimatums” in deti’s case as willing submission. What seems to matter more is that the wife gets to the point where the feedback loop can work.
The Challenge is an Integral Part of the Process
I had another thought about deti’s post that I think is relevant. His advice for some men to wait until 30 to start dating could contain a fatal flaw, which is that our growth comes from struggle. The marriage I have now, which is further down the road in the sanctification process, required endurance, faith, breaking, recognizing God’s actual model, and then a ton of work to begin to drag the marriage towards God’s model. Without the pain, and the faith to endure it, I’d still be buying into the cultural BP “Happy wife, happy life” lie, and I’d still be reading scripture through that frame of mind, and adapting my interpretation of scripture to fit it. My growth and development came from going through the struggle.
The same is going to be true of men who are not at the top of women’s dating wish list. Going through the struggle is the honing process that leads to a more refined man. If a man skips all dating until the age of 30, then he’ll be less experienced and miss the refining benefits that come from enduring the struggle. He’s already not the physical ideal and on top of that, he’s going to be prone to the mistakes of inexperience. That’s a harder spot to be in than merely having to overcome not being the hypergamous ideal.