Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Nicking wisdom from the papists

Gotta love the Traditional Catholics. They hold as tightly to doctrine as the most ardent member of the “Wee Free” (in Ulster). I agree completely with what Darwin Catholic is saying here

The message that we keep putting forward is that sex belongs only in marriage. If you are not married do not have sex. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, if you think of yourself as an “alpha” or a “beta”, if you think you are deeply in love and committed or if you are just out for a good time, sex does not belong outside of marriage and violating this moral law is not only a sin but (and for those with an understanding of moral law this is an obvious corollary) it will also end up causing short and long term problems for your current and future (if any) relationships. While I’m stating the unpopular, let trot out the point that really gets scorn heaped upon us traditionalist conservatives: Not only should you not have sex outside of marriage, but sex itself is inextricably linked with procreation. So even after you’re married, if you don’t want to get pregnant at the moment, there are going to be periods of time when you need to abstain from sex even though you’re married

This is one of the reasons for modesty. Us single men are not dead, yet, and some of us are straight, and will be (ahem) distracted. Keep that for your husband, woman. You are allowed, indeed commanded, to distract him.

On procreation, since I’m not Catholic, I’d argue that one can licitly use contraception. But… you have to be aware that the pill has side effects, as do IUDs… or barrier methods. (Some of the side effects are useful. I understand that the Mirena(TM) IUD has markedly decreased the amount of surgery for menorrhagia (if you are male, look it up) and this is a good thing. Some women simply have a horrible time and sometimes this can be ameliorated by a combined oral contraceptive. Don’t work in that field, but my GP friends tell me this).

But Darwin continues…

In this day and age, not having sex till marriage (which these manosphere types seem expect of women, though I’m less clear whether they expect if of themselves) and remaining married until death after marrying is very, very countercultural. Why would you go through the work? For us, it’s because we believe that acting otherwise would be a mortal sin — a sin for which, unless truly repented of, one goes to hell.

If you believe that too, you’re a good part of the way there. Now just find a woman who shares that belief just as deeply as you do. It is, to my mind, far more important that a potential wife truly shares your deepest beliefs about what marriage is than how old she is or what her sexual history is prior to reaching those beliefs — if you are dealing with a woman who routinely violates her own stated beliefs, as opposed to having had a history prior to reaching those beliefs, you may well have a problem on your hands and should do some very, very serious thinking.

Yes, it is. And DC met his wife when they were 18 and married at 22. I met my (then wife) at 24 and married her at 28… but when you have people saying one should routinely wait into one’s thirties you need a really firm religious basis. I clearly recall a colleague saying I would never go with a Christian as they would not have sex with me and what’s the point of that?.

Now, Divorced, no relationship with anyone for three years, and my friends are saying I’m too snarky and need to find someone. Yeah… but finding such a woman is hard, really hard. Most church women are simply not serious enough about this. Again, it is not necessarily their past but (and this is a point that does not get hammered their repentence of their past. I am not perfect: my number is not one, but if I am in a relationship again I want to not jump straight into bed even though I will probably want to. Because you lose discernment.

So I am looking for advice, wisdom if you will. Darwin describes the problem thusly

If you have a highly counter-cultural idea of what marriage is, your pool of potential mates is far, far smaller than the average. Especially if you’re spending a lot of your time moving around mainstream circles, most of the people you’re meeting simply aren’t marriage material for you. But even if, like MrsDarwin and I, you spend most of your social time in a sub-culture of like-minded people, who share your beliefs and desire in regards to marriage, finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with and raise a family with (and who shares the feeling) is often going to take a lot of searching.

Yep, correct. but he loses it when he describes the manosphere in this way.

Dalrock accuses me of being in the “man up and marry those sluts column”. I suppose it’s one of the contradictions of true Christianity that it scandalizes both those who hate the fact that we believe that the moral law exists in the first place (this would be the people who are always telling us we need to get out of their bedrooms and stop judging) and also scandalizes those who’ve endorsed a sort of post-Christian (or for the Christians, perhaps neo-Puritan) shame-society — these folks are shocked that we actually believe in forgiveness

Well, I’m not Dalrock. I have a past, and I am quite aware that I have tendencies to sin. I have no difficulties about being held to account — and at times the manosphere does commit the feminist error of “boys are stupid throw rocks at them” — but both parties need to be repentant.

Skipping a bit of a straw man argument around repentance, he continues with something that is wise…

It’s not enough to just be sorry for past sins. Virtue is a habit towards the good. If your virtue muscles are underdeveloped because you haven’t been living according to the Church’s moral principles, the only way to get back into shape morally is through rigorous practice. Like any kind of strenuous training for those who aren’t fit, it takes a lot of time, effort and pain. And it’s not something you can just quit once you’ve gotten in shape if you want to stay that way.

If you’re trying to decide whether to marry a woman who has engaged in sexual sin in the past, but who now says she shares your beliefs about sex, then the obvious question is: How long has she been living according to her new beliefs, and how successfully has she done so? Sexual immorality (like any other kind of immorality) is habit-forming, and breaking habits takes time and hard work.

The same thing, of course, applies to me. I have to work at virtue. There is a reason I blog the lectionary daily. It’s quite selfish. It forces me not just read the word but think about it.

However, I’m going to add a gloss. This is more for people like me… looking at women who are not 20, but a decade or two older because you are a decade or two older and you have families, responsibilities, and an aversion to living a standard marriage 2.0 life.

  1. You may be celibate for a long, long time.  You have other responsibilities. Your children need your input. You have to get your own life in order. The number of frogettes in the church is huge, and finding godly women ain’t easy. (Finding women who talk churchspeak is.
  2. You have to think about the real difficult issues. I. Am. Not. Talking. About. Sex.  There is little difficulties talking about that. Rather, budgets. Finances, Provision for other children. Careers. The mission field.  And theology.
  3. You better agree on a Pauline model.  That means you need to talk about the submission word, and how you think it will work.
  4. She better have a clue. Silliness is cute in a young girl, but irritating in a woman. Competence is attractive. If she wants to be a homemaker, she needs to have the crafts down — can she clean, sew, decorate? Can she work with me? Can she live small, and moderate her lifestyle when those around are living large?
  5. (Acid test question) Will she move to follow you? This is where submission hits the road. Example. I get an offer to move to Australia and we pray about it and it is the right thing. Will she move with me?
  6. (Finally) does she understand the venusian arts?  Does she understand that us men are visual? Does she enjoy male sexuality? Is she “cute”? — not just lust, but aware that there is a sexual nature to marriage and will guard you and her bed jealously?

If so…. and the families agree… then sort out the financial situation, organize a small wedding, and make a strong marriage.

If not… bread and water in peace is better than a vexatious woman.


PS. The title — wisdom has no owner, and even though I consider the Roman Church is greivously in error, there is practical truth to be extracted. Hence this anti-Fisk.

12 thoughts on "Nicking wisdom from the papists"

  • “…bread and water in peace is better than a vexatious woman..”. quote of the month.

  • Chris,

    Thanks for the response. As you say, we’re probably 90%+ in agreement here.

    On the contraception point, as I said, I think it’s worth at least considering that it’s only over the last ~60 years we’ve seen what a society completely formed by the expectation that sex has no reproductive consequences is like, and in general the results are abysmal. Not only do we have both women and men engaging in all kinds of sexual immorality which can sometimes end up making them unable to every have stable and happy marriages, but the very problem which contraception was allegedly going to fix (unplanned pregnancy) is worse than it’s ever been. I don’t know if things are as marked in New Zealand as they are here in the States, but it’s nearing the point where the majority of children born are illegitimate here. That makes for a sick, sick society.

    (Hey, I’m a Papist, I gotta get my anti-birth control pitch in.)

    On your gloss: Again, I think we’re mostly in agreement here. I’d zeroed in on sex in the post since that seemed like what was being argued about, but clearly there is a lot more to a successful marriage than dealing with each other’s sexual past (or, hopefully, simply not having any.) Having agreement on finances, where to live, decision making, educating the kids, etc. is absolutely essential. And I imagine that gets all the harder when you’ve got people already well set in their ways who are having to adapt.

    Since I’m in the business of throwing out counter-cultural opinions today: I think one of the things that settles a lot of these at once is when it’s agreed that the wife will be staying at home with kids full time. Division of labor like this isn’t just economically efficient, it also makes the family more of a unitary whole. I realize fully that my wife is more instrumental in the day-to-day rearing and educating (we also homeschool) of our kids than I am. And she realizes that I am fully responsible for providing for our family and the decisions around where we live and where I work that relate to that. Obviously, these decisions aren’t made in totally separate spheres, we discuss all these things together, but having separate and complimentary spheres in the family organization can be helpful. I wouldn’t say that the wife continuing to have a career is always a bad idea — I know a few families where it works well — but I think the breadwinner/homemaker model is tested and true for a good reason, and it avoids a lot of the conflict I see among my more secular co-workers who are always having to work through “whose career is more important” problems in their marriages.

    • chrisgale says:

       One of the things that we forget in the secular society is that marraige is not really about us. It is about children. Now I am aware that some people cannot have children — I know plenty of men and women who would love to have kids, but can’t — but the system is set up to make the 20 –30 years you spend raising little people bearable.

      And you need two heads. His to deal with her weeping with disappointment. Hers do moderate his wish to take to that teacher or policeman or kid in defense of his brood.  Both to pray, and both to guide.

      It is a lot, lot harder when you are doing it solo.

      On breadwinning… in this climate, I am not as prescriptive as you. Ideally the mum spends the bulk of the time at home, and you live within his income. But there are times when she (school teacher, nurse) can get work and he (engineer etc) cannot. Or he’s injured, disabled, sick.  What I agree with is that young kids need someone around basically full time, and that doing that is a job, a worthwhile occupation. Demeaning fulltime mothers is wrong: let is leave it to the feminists.

      It is more about having a strategy around this and modifying tactics to allow things to fit.

      • Will S. says:

        I’m not so sure about that, that marriage is about the children; it certainly can be, but the children are the fruit of the love between the husband and wife; remember, Scripture says Eve was created to be Adam’s helpmeet, i.e. someone who helped him meet his needs.  And while one of those needs may have been to propagate his genes, mere companionship (“It is not good that man is alone”) was also one of them.  And I note that children did not even appear till after the Fall had already happened.

      • chrisgale says:

        I agree that children are the fruit of marriage.

        I was still quite naive and foolish and following the idea that we could be egalitarian when I married. And the old archdeacon said… and the children you will have.

        Children were not on my mind then. Something else was — but when kids come along, things change. I found myself looking at SUVs when I prefer to drive small cars (the Fiat 500 and mini for instance) because I wanted the babe inside her (now son one, all 186 cm of him) to be safe.
        I found myself driving to keep them safe. I became tender in a way I was not before.

        We now can do MRIs on Dad’s and we find their brain changes in lockstop with their pregnant wives.

        So there is more to this one flesh thing that we really want to acknowledge

  • Smithborough says:

    The “Wee Frees” are a Scottish group. Here in Ulster the church you’re thinking of are the “Free P’s”.

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