I grew up in a legalistic Church. Think Amish with cars. The rulebook for how to operate in this “fellowship” wordwise was somewhere in the vicinity of Atlas Shrugged. The elders had met over the years and decided upon the propriety of everything from bicycles to how to best hold up your pants and whether photography was “the debil”. Higher education was frowned upon and there was no doubt when the wifely submission verses came up they were NOT glossed over. I’ve really put a lot of my life into realizing what was wrong with all of this. While the rules would always be justified and many made a lot of sense they are reactionary. Worship songs were sung at Alvin and the Chipmunks recording speed in a capella because over 100 years prior people had danced to their singing. Plain was the watchword. They needed a preformatted answer to EVERY situation and the “right” answer could very easily be right because it was the opposite of what everyone else was doing. In short, they reacted to EVERYTHING. (I never joined that church to the dismay of many parents whose sons and daughters looked up to me).
It dawns on me that strict adherence to Game can be very similar. I’ve been reading Dalrock for a couple of years now and seen the pro and anti game arguments and have had something like a pragmatic ambivalence. I’ve been chided for making game-like or even white knight type correlations between a husbands good behavior and a positive outcome on the marriage front and I am better seeing why that is happening. My faith can easily be regarded as determinism, that if you follow the rules that nothing bad will happen. I know better. Tight game AND/OR epic feats of white knightery do not automatically result in a good marriage (quite the contrary); as I have stated even perfect obedience to God is often insufficient to keep a relationship together (Jesus and Judas). Here is the rub as I see it, having an understanding of hypergamy and the basic understanding of human nature is a useful tool as is having all of the verses which tell us to love our wives as Christ loves the Church memorized. The application of those tools is a field where many problems arise.
I suggest that game and white knightery are two sides of the same reactionary coin. They are both the feeble efforts of men trying to take control of an uncontrollable situation. The white knight supposes that he has a Godly blueprint for success with the opposite gender and that all he needs to do is more zealously apply himself to make the system work, following the rules and pressing harder will surely reap success. The gamer supposes that he understands the flesh nature of women and goes about trying to work it to his advantage and like the cocaine addicted monkey he thinks that as long as he keeps pressing the “right” button he will be assured game success. Both of these positions are in an orbit around women, not as it should be centering on God. We seek a rulebook like those plain folks of my youth to evade the facts, we don’t want to hear from God and we want to pretend we can handle it in bite size rules.
Turning to a rulebook to guide us in human relations is a mistake just as turning to God with a rulebook is. Yes, there are rules, but if they define the entirety of our interaction then we have NO relationship. Never fail a fitness test. Display higher value. Utilize preselection. Those can be rules that replace relationship, I’ve even seen this advocated (Don’t share your day to day struggles with your wife). This type of legalism can feel like it has all the answers, a solution for every problem, in our wives the appropriate reaction to every display of fitness testing, in the case of God a way to measure up in our own strength:
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Rules don’t replace relationship. That was one of the biggest lessons the plain folks taught me. Does my wife have a sin nature, exhibit hypergamy, test my fitness? Of course and it’s good for me to see that dynamic. Do I want to systematize my interactions with her? To turn my responses into a static “defense”? Absolutely not. I want to relate with her and that is the interaction that is under attack by Satan and his minions in the feminist movement.
If we are not careful we will be pushed into two reactionary tracks in response to this attack. I reiterate, game and man-up. The third way is God, who understands the sinful nature that we are fighting in ourselves and in our wives better than we do, He knows the plans and schemes of feminists and He knows how to beat them before they even show up. God is neither reactionary nor static.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
It’s all about relationship. We turn to Jesus, and that life under His yoke becomes an organic way of dealing with feminism, our wives and each other (without pulling out a volume that rivals “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” for verbosity.) It’s no guarantee of marital success, but in my estimation it is far superior to the rulebook.
I have an analogy that I go to when discussing relationship. Jesus described Himself as “the way”, so I cannot claim originality with this picture. I have a road map and a set of rules for operating my car, I can use them to envision a trip to Anchorage. For some people this seems like enough, they have the directions, the rules. I want to drive to Anchorage (rarely, but you get the point). I want to go there and interact (buy stuff). I want to enjoy the mountains on the drive. I have to get in the car and apply myself, understand the directions yes, but the trip is always about more than the directions in practice while not in theory. One is rules, the other about experience.
It’s all about relationship.