It is my very great pleasure to announce the recent nuptials of readers NSR of Night Sky Radio and Allamagoosa of Morning Sprinkles and Evening Gunfire. Long-time readers will recall that NSR and Alla met right here on this very blog (well, my old one actually).
NSR gave me permission to announce that they are now man and wife, and he also made me an official Yenta banner:
I never really meant to take on the yenta role, but it has come about as readers have asked me to make introductions between them, and being a woman, I naturally find it all quite thrilling.
Though I’m not at liberty to publish them, I’ve seen several pictures of the wedding taken at the church where they were married, and NSR looks handsome, tall, and serious, and Alla looks beautiful and as delicate as a little Nightingale bird. HHG and I wish NSR and Alla every happiness; may the blessings of the Lord be upon their house and may they always say as Joshua did:
as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Now, after extending our heartfelt congratulations to NSR and Alla, let us turn our minds to the topic of Christian marriage. Here are five essays readers may find as thought-provoking as I did:
1. Donal Graeme discusses biblical marriage in his recent essay, Thoughts on Marriage and Game:
Something I have noticed…is that some bloggers and commenters confuse Marriage 1.0 with Christian Marriage (or Biblical Marriage).
Marriage 1.0 is not Christian Marriage, it was a legal regime which established how the State treated and recognized marriage back in the day. Christian Marriage is an ideal, a spiritual construct, something that exists outside of any legal context. The various “versions” of Marriage, starting with Marriage 1.0, moving on to Marriage 2.0 and now with a nascent Marriage 3.o in development, provide a background and context for Christian Marriage, they do not set it. For example, the State could theoretically outlaw marriage all together. Under those circumstances, Christians could still marry, because marriage is set by God, not by earthly authorities. Yes, it would make you a criminal to go ahead and marry anyways, but isn’t that a consummately Christian thing to do? Certainly it is in keeping with the spirit of the earliest Christians in the Roman Empire, who suffered persecution and death for their beliefs.
The confusion probably arises from the fact that Marriage 1.0 was the state of affairs for so long that bloggers/commenters…mistake it for having been the background for all of Christian Marriage. But it wasn’t.
2. Zippy Catholic discussed consensual commitments in general and marriage in particular in a post from a few months ago, Imperfect contrition and marriage, or, why positivists don’t have to go to Hell:
A common sentiment I’ve seen expressed shows up in the comments of Dalrock’s guest post at the Orthosphere:
Thus, in effect with the advent of no-fault divorce, marriage has effectively ceased to exist, one’s marital contract is simply an illusionary contract, not a real contract at all. Thus when marital obligations gets subverted by “feelings” or “wants”, etc, it ceases to be an obligation, and thereby ceases to be a marriage in the first place. A promise to do something with the clause that, “provided I feel like it”, is not a promise at all, it is an illusionary promise.
This can only make sense if we take marriage – or consensual commitments more generally, for that matter – to be things which come into existence based on State enforcement. This can only make sense if we are incapable of distinguishing between the actuality of a commitment and the enforcement of that commitment by some external authority. This can only make sense if we have no concept of actual morality at all: if moral obligation is not deontologically objective reality, but rather is merely a matter of the selfish avoidance of personal negative consequences: in short, if the only reason to do good and avoid evil is to escape punishment by the State.
A promise which is broken doesn’t cease to exist as a moral object. Nor do the eternal consequences of breaking it. Whether that promise is or is not enforced by some earthly authority or other is just a side show: a given authority’s failure to enforce may represent the self-destruction of that authority; but it cannot, in any way, affect the existential reality of the promise [...] People with the understanding that obligation literally doesn’t exist without State enforcement are bound to think that way. But back here in reality, any marriage which can be unmade by the will of the State is not true marriage. It was never true marriage in the first place.
3. Scott at The Courtship Pledge shares a recent success in which his teenaged son used the Biblical Courtship principles that Scott is teaching him in order to pursue a young woman and ultimately decide not to court her further at this time. I am watching all this with great interest because our time to start dealing with courtship will come within a few years when our eldest daughter, now 14, comes of courtable age.
4. Vox Day at Alpha Game Plan discusses a recently-published research study in which the husband was instructed to agree with everything the wife said; the wife was not told that this would be the case. Over the course of the study, which was terminated prematurely due to how miserable both the husband and wife began to feel, the woman became increasing negative and critical toward her husband. Vox concludes:
In most male-female relationships, the woman will push until she is metaphorically slapped down. Whether they actually need them in the way children do or not, the observable fact is that women crave boundaries. Men who don’t provide those boundaries, consciously or unconsciously, will tend to incite contempt and infuriate them.
5. Wintery Knight discusses how former-Christian Katy Perry was raised by her parents in a way that was highly conducive to apostasy. He uses this to exemplify why he has a checklist for evaluating a potential wife. He writes:
Now the whole point of the list of 10 questions is to detect women who are not going to help me to produce effective, influential Christian children. If I am going to spend north of $100,000 per child + tuition, then I expect to get some sort of return on that investment for God. That money doesn’t earn itself, and it needs to be well-spent serving God.
It’s my wife’s job to help me to do that. My goal in choosing a wife is to find a helper to make the relationship serve God. Otherwise, it’s better for God if I give that money that I worked very hard to earn directly to effective Christian scholars. I don’t have money to burn “playing house” with someone who is guided by her feelings. I can just give the money to Reasonable Faith or Discovery Institute instead.
And definitely check out that list of questions he made for evaluating a potential wife. He gives ten questions, along with sample answers he would accept, answers for which he would give bonus points, and an explanation as to why each question is important. Here are five of the questions:
The resurrection of Jesus
Assume you are talking to a non-Christian. Explain how you would make a case for the bodily resurrection of Jesus on historical grounds. This person does not accept the Bible as inspired and/or inerrant.
The moral argument
What is the is-ought fallacy? What is the difference between moral objectivism and moral relativism? Give one reason why moral relativism is false. Give one reason why an atheist cannot rationally ground prescriptive morality. Explain why objective morality relates to God’s existence.
Explain the public purposes of marriage, and then outline three threats to marriage and explain what legislation you would propose to neutralize these threats. What choices should people make before marriage to make sure they will have a stable, loving marriage?
Explain a person you admire and then tell me what you would do as a mother in order to produce that person from one of your children. What are some people and laws that you would change to make your job easier?
Explain the roles of a man in a marriage, and tell me some of the things you would do in order to help your man to achieve those roles. What groups would oppose your husband from fulfilling those roles, and what have you done in your life to prepare yourself to help your husband in his roles? What are some of the most important things that a man needs from a woman, and what specific things should a wife do to provide them?
I really like the idea of a young man insisting that a young woman qualify herself for marriage. To my mind, it used to be the case that the woman was the prize, but in the modern day, I think we need to switch our mentality and see the man as the prize. After all, in the present day, young men have more to lose if a match turns out badly, and their children stand to lose the most, so a wise man evaluates a woman carefully in order to screen out those women who are not suitable, just like Scott’s son did. If men expect and demand more from women, perhaps women who truly desire marriage will step up; if they don’t step up, men can thus ascertain that they simply aren’t worth marrying.
And finally, from the word of the Lord in Jeremiah 29:
4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.
10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
Readers, though we dwell in Babylon, let us carry on doing good and praying without ceasing. Even so, come Lord Jesus!