Friday, January 16, 2015

AWPATT XIV: December 22-January 16 (Thoughts 205-230)

The A-Z Compilation (#1) : 7,000 word excursus on what sort of qualities I would desire for my wife to have. 

If you're young, you may read something you've never heard of before, so I encourage you to take a look.

Here is the start of the list, and the rest of the AWPATT will be found after the jump break.

205 I want a woman who is assertive. Without forcing her way, she needs to be able to express her mind and take a confident stand on everything she believes. A woman whose opinions I can never find out, or which are prone to change at any moment, is not a woman I can trust.

206 I want a woman who is bold. Who will not withdraw in fear or shame or uncertainty but will passionately hold fast to what she knows is right. She ought to be impervious to mere disagreement, however strong. This foreshadows her faithfulness as a spouse.

207 I want a woman who is compassionate. She ought to care about others – this is not only very feminine, but an important human trait, and as a Christian she should have a well-developed sense of empathy. It should be tempered with truth and not given to the wrong people, or emotionally, but decisively.

208 I want a woman who is discerning. A woman who can’t tell “right from almost right” is like a door that is always open. A woman with poor judgment or capacity to spot lies is dreadfully unreliable, and I will flee from her.

209 I want a woman who is elegant. That mystery quality that is difficult to define. Most people would probably use the term “graceful,” but I prefer to limit my use of that word to the strictly Biblical meaning. There’s a certain combination of clothing, physical beauty, confidence and character that goes into my attributing it to someone. Someone for whom it seems effortless to be convivial, restrained, cheerful, relaxed, mutually engaged, thoughtful and kind, rather than for whom it is an exhausting role-play.

210 I want a woman who is faithful. This contains the concept of loyalty in commitment, as well as the importance of believing what is true and right, and not just believing something strongly. “Can two walk together unless they are in agreement?” Amos 3:3. Believing the same will enable us to do that. And this is the second main purpose of this blog – to allow her to evaluate that.

211 I want a woman who is graceful. Grace, Biblically, is “giving something good a) that is not deserved, or b) unconditionally.” The two go hand in hand. Suppose you have trouble comprehending the first meaning, because you believe your beloved deserves good things from you. If they deserve it, consider nevertheless that you do not love them because they deserve it, but as a matter of fact unto itself. And consider further that they deserve love because God says that’s how they ought to be treated, not because they have an innate character quality or deed to their name that empowers them to require such treatment from others. For if there is good in them, where does it come from but God, after all? So you treat them well based not on them but on God, who never changes. This means that you act in love toward them whether or not you think they deserve it, because it’s not based on their performance but the character of God. This love is unconditional.

This is grace. I will treat you this way. And it’s an absolute requirement for me that my fiancée understands and lives this truth out.

Applying grace to your view of how you should be treated leads to the understanding that you have two options:
1) believe you deserve to be treated in _____ way
2) believe you don’t deserve anything in and of yourself

There are consequences based on two outcomes:
1) you “get what you deserve”
2) you don’t

In the 1st case, if you ‘get what you deserve,’ you might be grateful, but you were expecting it anyway. If you don’t get it, on the other hand, you become bitter, and resentful at being mistreated. In the 2nd case, you have shelved your expectations, because you don’t believe you deserve (are entitled to) anything. Then, everything good you receive makes you incredibly joyful and thankful, as if taken by pleasant surprise, because it’s a special and wonderful thing each and every time something good happens.

Which would you rather have?

Choose grace.

212 I want a woman who is humble. She needs to know the difference between passion, and ambition for its own sake. The latter begs the question as to why it should be pursued. A woman whose dream it is to have a prominent, “successful” career is not a woman who is preparing herself for marriage. Make no mistake, work is required by both spouses to sustain a marriage and raise children. And there is certainly room for taking advantage of opportunities available to single people, before you become married.

But is this the end goal? Refusing to lay aside personal pursuits for marriage’s sake indicates one of two things:
1) you don’t trust your husband’s ability or willingness to provide for your family – the sin of faithlessness. And not, mind you, in your husband, but in God: can God provide for you no matter the circumstance, or can He not?
2) your career, education, and/or income is a higher priority for you than your husband and children – the sin of pride.

Spouses have had to work side by side since ages past because of financial hardship. But leaving home and staying out day after day, when you already have food, clothing and shelter, is not from necessity but from selfishness, and self-worship. Can you be humble enough to let it go?

213 I want a woman who is intelligent. She needs to be able to understand what I say, and make herself understood by me. She needs to be able to reason logically, consistently. I can’t marry someone significantly less intelligent than me, because she’ll resent me for being smarter and not respect my decisions. I’m no genius, but that’s part of the problem. Because I’m not obviously and outwardly geeky, people I’ve met, when we’ve conflicted, would rather choose to believe that I’m an idiot and not thinking straight. They reject what I say, rationalizing that I’m ignorant because I’m young, or obsessed, or for any other reason, so that their conscience doesn’t bother them when they decide that I’m not worth listening to.
                The irony is that I might need a woman who’s smart enough to recognize and acknowledge that I’m smarter than her – not to make her feel inferior, but to enable her to trust me and find security and comfort in my wisdom. This blog is here to help convince her of the fact that I have complete command of my mental faculties and think wisely.
Treatise: Confessions of A Smart Guy
Do we distrust God because He’s omniscient? Do we ignore what He says because He knows more, as if He’s being a ‘know-it-all?’ Do we shut out His advice, His opinions, His words, because we think He might be arrogant, or youthfully ignorant? No, right? And if both my mind and the knowledge contained in my mind are redeemed and given by God (upon salvation/sanctification in the former case, and upon revelation/illumination of the Scriptures in the second case), how can this be an issue of my arrogance rather than my ability to “think God’s thoughts after Him” because of zealous study of His truth? A woman who agrees with nearly everything I say but refuses to accept a perfectly logical recommendation of advice when it concerns her conduct is not being clever and pointing out my capacity for being mistaken as a sinner, but is really rejecting my God-granted wisdom out of sinful pride on her own part. And I consider that offensive. Not that someone is disagreeing with me. But that someone is 1) disagreeing with God, 2) for something so petty as rebellious arrogance, and 3) disrespecting me in the process – an innocent bystander, offended for the sake of sharing the truth, reduced to collateral damage in someone else’s faithless trajectory of spiritual destructiveness.

I hardly think it’s arrogant to be offended at someone else’s arrogance in calling me arrogant for being right. Sorry, but not sorry. This is a no-compromise area. Recall in AWPATT XII where I said that a deal-breaker for me is when someone decides to start conflict with me because they refuse to think rationally? This is an elaboration of that notion. Stupidity isn’t just dumb, it’s insulting. And it destroys relationship. So give me a smart woman. A wise woman. A woman who can reason, and respect me when I’m right(—which isn’t always, but a lot more often than most people give me credit for). I’ll have no other kind.

214 I want a woman who is joyful. She needs to know the difference between happiness and joy. For that matter pleasure and delight, gratification and satisfaction, and weariness and discontent. Her feelings must be influenced by her view of herself and her situation, they cannot be what controls how she perceives herself, God, her husband or the situation she’s in. A woman who seeks after joy, not “happiness,” will not become depressed and question her husband/God/marriage when in the midst of a tough season.

Jan 1, 2015. 

215 I want a woman who is knowledgeable. Whereas I desire her to be intelligent and willing to listen to me, she should have extensive knowledge of spiritual truths herself. I’ll think something’s wrong if she’s my age and doesn’t know anything. It would, if receptiveness or intelligence are present, indicate a lack of zeal, and then we wouldn’t be seeking the same goal.

216 I want a woman who is loving. Self-sacrificially invested in doing for certain others what they cannot do for themselves, what is in their best interest, and with no expectation of reward. Many people in this world see relationships as a tit-for-tat, and I’ll never marry into that willingly.

217 I want a woman who is meet for me. The early modern English phrase in Genesis means someone fitting for him, someone complementary to him, someone who suits him, someone who overlaps him, someone who completes him. Many of my remarks about what I’m looking for are wise for others to consider, but many are also personal expressions unique to me. I’m definitely not judging all women here, and imposing requirements on every woman who wants to be married to anyone, ever, at all. When I get particular about someone who’s smart but humble, reserved and passionate, pure and sexy, feminine but strong, discerning but teachable—all of my personal emphases are of crucial importance to me for the simple fact that it’s my marriage, and I need someone who’s perfect for me. Only one woman needs to pass that test, and only she needs to care about meeting my desire (and I, hers). I don’t disdain any other women for the mere fact that they’re unique. In my AWPATTs, I’m talking both about the ideal godly woman and the ideal perfect woman for me. Please make sure not to mix up the two.

218 I want a woman who is natural. This AWPATT thought can be expanded into many more down the line. But suffice it for now to say that I am not interested in someone who uses non-nutritional chemicals to manipulate her appearance or feelings, nor anyone who puts on a façade, out of either insecurity or narcissistic desire to have control.

219 I want a woman who is open. Someone who holds nothing back from the relationship and does not hide anything. I believe perfect intimacy comes from perfect trust, and perfect trust comes from perfect transparency and honesty. Obviously, this sort of relationship isn’t one most people are able or willing to enter into. Based on my experience of casual conversations with various women and girls, I suspect this alone cuts my chances of finding a partner down by a factor of 50.

220 I want a woman who is patient. She would have had to be patient enough to withhold her virginity for some 20+ years. She’ll have to be plenty patient while I extremely cautiously evaluate her suitability as a spouse, and try to expose hidden problems through various provocations. Making her wait longer than she expects, to ask her to marry me, is just one more test of her endurance, loyalty, confidence (in me, in God), hope, contentment, security, willingness, strength against temptation, commitment, certainty, etc.

221 I want a woman who is questioning. I don’t want her to blindly accept anything. She should confidently step out in faith in any matter concerning me as her husband or God leading her, BUT this should only be after having questioned everything and found it sturdy, such that she is confident that she can place her trust in God, and me second. Her willingness to be led by me is VERY conditional, and should come at a very high cost = total commitment to her and self-sacrifice with the responsibility to lead her as if on God’s behalf! She should be so discriminating in what she believes that if anything seems to contradict or seek to usurp God’s or my spiritual authority over her, that she would come to me with the issue, to inquire of me and to search for a Biblical answer together. She should be wise to the scheme of the devil, which is always to drive a wedge between husband and wife, in her case by tempting her, like Eve, to seize final authority for herself, to abandon her (willingly-entered-into!!) role and compete for her husband’s, polarizing the two and creating conflict through her pride. Knowing this, she should be extremely cautious to take certain acts/decisions on her own—not because she’s inferior, but because this subtly separates her from her spouse by making them into two independent actors, instead of one cohesive entity. The simple fact is that one must lead, and the other submit, and it was God who decided who should be who, not me.

222 I want a woman who is romantic. Specifically, the kind of language of romance that I speak should be the kind of language of romance that turns her on. Some women might long for a guy who can sweep her off her feet in dance, or soothe her ears with music, or pamper her in domestic ways (candlelit dinner & bubble bath), or take her on a thrillseeking escapade, or brag about her in public, or maybe it’s sensual, or purely sexual. There are many forms of romantic connections that I haven’t suggested.

I might have a language of love, which she responds to, that I haven’t considered. If I had to guess what’s most likely, because of its prevalence in my speech, it would probably be my poetic vocabulary combined with penetrating spiritual intimacy and a self-sacrificial, God-centered emphasis that I’ve come to take for granted as being the true expression of how love should be. I can imagine that the kind of woman who would find me desirable would appreciate me respecting her in a physical way (demonstrating that I in no way think I have a right to her body) in our interaction prior to marriage. Perhaps my unorthodox manner of complimenting her would stand out and be refreshing. Also, lingering eye contact – but if I weren’t good at that, I could learn. Just like you can learn to speak any language.

I think there are few things that romantically rival rightly-applied theology. [read these sentences slowly, with a pause between each]  “I don’t deserve you.” “My body belongs to you.” “My purpose is to serve you.” “I care for you like my own body.” “Thank God that He gave you to me!” “I will love you even when you’re unlovable.” “My feelings are less important to me than doing my best to bring you joy.” “I will put my life on the line for you.” All of these are incredibly forceful statements (imagine how you’d react if any one person said them to you), but outside of Christian marriage, they’re frighteningly destructive. Every one of these would worry me to hear from someone who considered their partner as an object of property, or who had a debased view of self where they put themselves down. Only when the two parties have a right view of their relationship with God, and their relationship with themselves, do these statements represent a healthy romance. It’s not based in putting oneself or the other down, nor in exalting either one to a position they aren’t suited for. Christian love is focused on truth, and recognizing each other for who they are: sinners, both unlovable and undeserving, allowing no arrogance. But forgiven sinners, made in the image of God, able to both give and receive undeserved love, to rejoice in the freedom and complete trust of a relationship built on an unseverable commitment and irrevocable truth, not in emotions or flimsy cultural and legal expectations. That’s romantic.

223 I want a woman who is submissive. To understand what submission means, it’s important to explain what submission is NOT.

- it is not being timid. Remember that I want a bold and assertive woman.

- it is not insecurity. She doesn’t need someone else to make decisions for her, in any epistemological sense. She wants to help her man guide her rightly.

- it is not indecision. Remember that I want a discerning, intelligent, and knowledgeable woman. If she allows herself to be led only when she is uncertain of what choice to make, what then when she is certain? Submission should not be based on or relevant to whether she knows what the best course of action happens to be.

- it is not fearing her husband. The Bible says that “perfect love casts out fear.” There is no room for fear when you have complete trust in someone. A more appropriate focus for fear is on the natural consequences of disobeying God; of what havoc she may cause via sinning by refusing to submit to her husband as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)

- it is not unquestioned obedience. If the man sins, his wife honors him and God by not submitting to his sinfulness, and by lovingly correcting him as his sister in Christ.

- neither is it mere obedience. If ‘obedience’ means doing what someone else says or asks, certainly some measure of that is implied in spiritual authority. But it is not simply jumping whenever hubby says ‘jump’ for the simple fact that he said so. Exercising her intelligence, discernment, and faithful knowledge of Scripture, she evaluates everything her husband asks of her with these questions: 1) is it in accordance with God’s will? 2) does it reflect the loving leadership of my husband, i.e. is it for my good? 3) will following his lead honor and do good for my husband? 4) is there a colossally compelling reason NOT to do it? | She’s not a robot, or marionette puppet, who does whatever the whim of her husband might be. Neither should the husband think that it’s his prerogative to give “marching orders.” His first goal should be her good, and changing his behavior in pursuit of her good. The only reason for him to give her direction is if she herself can do something that would love her, her marriage, or God in a way that he cannot, or to steer her away from sin, temptation, bad company or doctrinal error, for her soul’s sake. That’s it, and with restrictions like these in mind, it’s difficult to imagine how a godly husband could be bossy to a godly woman.

- it is not being controlled. It’s giving up a measure of control. And in reality it is not truly given up—no one can take away your ability to make your own decisions. In a Christian marriage, you essentially lease the right to your husband for life. (Please immediately go to the next point)

- it is not passive resignation. Submission is active involvement. Your husband doesn’t just “call the shots” and you have to “deal with it.” Both of you make major decisions together: purchasing a house, changes to your schedules, filing taxes, raising children, events to attend, people to meet, major expenses, etc. Submission is not not having an opinion. It is brainstorming, discussing, offering suggestions, even trying to persuade inside and outside of passionate argument, BUT THEN leaving the final decision up to your husband. There should be no reason to not accept it if he didn’t violate one of the 4 red flags. Certainly you can continue to resist if he is 1) sinning, 2) hurting you/your family/himself, 3) making a colossal mistake like going into debt he can’t repay, etc, and there are avenues to deal with that. But if it’s not the case, then even if you don’t love the decision, you have no reason to instigate or perpetuate conflict on the issue, so submission would call you to let it go and love your husband by allowing him to love you the way he deems best, and not to harm your relationship with him by opposing him for something so insignificant as a mere opinion of yours. Exercise grace and let God be God, man be man, and submit in love.

I’ll confess that my instinct used to be toward egalitarianism. What complementarianism does not deny is that husband and wife are equal—both are in the image of God and “there is neither male nor female…in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) But they are not equivalent. Their differences are good; they don’t make one or both inferior to the other, merely better suited to certain things. And even if there were no differences at all that could be seen or felt, I can’t deny that God says Himself in His Word that the wife should submit to her husband, and the husband should love his wife self-sacrificially, with love, as his own body. (Ephesians 5:28) God Himself exists as an economic, not ontological, Trinity, where the 3 persons fulfill different roles but share in all the characteristics of Godhood. Wife submits to husband NOT because all women should submit to all men (they shouldn’t), but because in seeking to imitate and be like God, a Christian husband and wife recognize that God created marriage as a living metaphor for Himself, and that the man thus leads because God leads, and the wife submits because God submits. Submission is godly, and it is only out of love toward God that it is possible.

224 I want a woman who is transparent. It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance I place on open, honest conversation. Truth is a huge deal to me, and to minimize the possibility of secrets being kept from either spouse, total transparency is called for. If being one flesh means that what is mine is as good as yours, and vice versa, then that would apply to the mind, also. Since telepathy and mindreading is impossible, knowing the mind of your partner as fully as possible through free access to their thoughts through their total transparency with you is the next best thing.

In a courtship scenario, transparency is a big key in determining whether to pursue a person. At a certain point, there shouldn’t be a reason to hide things or hold back. There are two basic reasons for not being forthcoming or completely open: a) you have guilt and fear because you don’t feel truly forgiven for some sin b) you don’t trust me. You don’t trust me to honor you, guard your heart, to not hurt you if you let me close, etc. A woman who can’t trust me can’t submit to me. [By the way, keeping secrets is one form of control. See the point about relinquishing control in the section on submission, above, again]. And a woman who can’t submit to me can’t be a wife to me. It all hangs together. If you don’t eventually go “all in” and help me know you as you know yourself, then it’s clear that you don’t want to be married to me. You’re not ready for that sort of relationship. Marriage isn’t for girls. It’s for women.

225 I want a woman who is undesirable. This is not an unhealthy fixation on broken or flawed personalities, due to either a messiah-complex or being incapable of accepting things that are better than one thinks they deserve—or worse—actually desiring negative qualities and esteeming them as good.
                I simply want a woman who is real. And real women are sinful. There are no other kind. Someone who appears too impeccable outwardly, then, simply must have their brokenness much deeper down inside, where they can hide it for a time, than others. Everybody’s imperfect. If your imperfections are easy to spot, that’s encouraging. Knowing what you’re dealing with makes the problems easier to address. But someone who cannot accept the truth about herself and tries to cover up, downplay, recast, ignore or deny her sins and imperfections is not a flawless person, but just a more insidious type of flawed person.
                Another reason to want a woman who is “undesirable,” is that she’ll be less disposed to arrogance. Consequently, she’ll receive love as the gift it is, not as what she is owed, but as what her husband freely gives her out of grace, and out of love toward her. Consider thought #211 about a graceful woman. The paradox is that if you think you deserve something, even if you do, you won’t appreciate it. Whether you do or don’t deserve something, if you don’t have the attitude that you deserve it, you will appreciate being given it. So even if your husband thinks you deserve his love (which in one sense you do, because God requires him to show you love, whereas in another sense you don’t, because as a sinner you deserve nothing but the hottest hell), it is imperative that you – while acknowledging the above theological truth – don’t allow yourself to be persuaded to have an arrogant expectation of his love. It will destroy your relationship through corrupting your emotions.
                Another reason for wanting an “undesirable” woman is simply that others will be less interested. It’s a fantasy for many people to have someone who is unimaginably beautiful, but that only you can see it. Certainly, that is true for me. If she is “beautiful” by the standards of corrupt worldly men and women, then those people would be drawn to her. Since they do not know what love is, they would not honor her out of any attraction they’d have to her. Whether out of envy or lust, they’d wittingly or unwittingly seek to harm our union by driving a wedge between us. Anyone would be a fool to wish this upon themselves. Does that mean that supermodels don’t deserve love? Hardly. It simply recognizes the fact that a person can be beautiful to a thinking man without being attractive to a worldly man, and as the man who has the prerogative to choose whom to pursue, it makes sense to me to gravitate toward the type of woman that for whatever reason is not like blood in the water to the sharks of the world, but whose beauty is visible to me. If I know nothing about someone, and I have two scenarios: a stereotypically cute girl who I always see hanging out with guys who I know don’t have the same respect for her as I, and on the other hand, an awkward-looking young woman who is either by herself, or talking with another female friend. The first is far more likely to be perverted by peer influence and not even be the sort of person I’d be interested in. The second is simply more likely to be a match. With a finite amount of time to search for love, it’s not a sin to make snap judgments—well reasoned, I would add—of this sort in order to maximize the chance that you’ll meet someone you’re a match for. And so a woman who doesn’t have the attention of the world is a woman who’s more likely to have my attention.

226 I want a woman who is volitional. I’ve been and will be writing on this from many different angles, offering multiple contexts to it, but volition is simply the word for choice: autonomous agency. You consciously make decisions. YOU are the one making your decisions. And you are MAKING your decisions. The emphasis is not to be silly, please read it slowly. To be volitional is to be aware of the choices you are making, it is to assume the responsibility to make those choices, it is to accept responsibility for those choices, it is to consciously think through your choices before making them, and to thereby be intentional and decisive in every action you commit. Consider that word: commit. Commit to your choices. If you can’t commit to it, don’t do it. Just like marriage. To do anything, you must be certain that you want to do it, and that you think it’s the best thing to do. This thought process should characterize your every day mentality; it will help me determine that you are actually able to commit to a relationship, and that I can trust you because you think rationally. And of course, you actively engage in your decision making, you don’t passively let things happen or let yourself do things without conscious oversight. You don’t resign from your right and responsibility to be accountable for yourself. You don’t give your choice to someone else.

Think back to my statements on submission. Submission is not passive, it is active. You’re not simply letting your husband make decisions for you. You’re letting him decide what is best, and then intentionally, actively and willingly choosing to support that decision and align yourself with him, so that you may be as one. This is a choice. And a continuous choice that must be made every moment of every day. That is why there must be commitment. That is why you cannot simply make decisions, but must be volitional.
227 I want a woman who is willing. This ties in to volition very closely. Choice and will can be separate, but they should not be. They must be fought for, to be united, as much as possible. Paul wrote “that which I will not to do, I do, but that which I will to do, that I do not do.” (Romans 7:19) What’s he talking about? He’s describing the essence of what it is to be a Christian, to have a sin nature and a Spirit-led nature in the same body. So to the extent that we do what we don’t want to do, or don’t do what we wish or know we should do, that is sin. So a godly wife (and husband) should not only make conscious decisions, and not only will to love each other, but they must both will and choose to do what they should do. If you choose to submit, but don’t want to, that’s a problem. If you want to submit, but choose not to, that’s a problem. You really can’t separate these concepts without conflict. In a person I can consider reliable and trustworthy, they must be united. Everything that you know you should do, you should want to do. And you should be so committed to doing it, out of a desire to pursue God’s will and glory, that you actually do it.

A lot of my more philosophical, reflectively self-analytical writings, both those private and those which are published here on the blog, are outgrowths of my attempts to align myself with God’s design. I am striving to learn what’s true more and more day by day, and I am seeking to find ways to apply my knowledge to my conduct, and I am working my thoughts to convince myself irrefutably that what is right is not just right but good, in a very personal way, and at last, by writing to myself and reading my thoughts, I am seeking to help alter my very desires, so that I will very viscerally want what I know is true and right and good. It helps that I am zealous for truth. Convince myself that something is true, and I’ll unwaveringly pursue conformity to it.
 Does Sanctification Come Through Experiences?
This same process should be apparent in any believer who is being sanctified. And I will look carefully for it in any potential fiancée. A woman who doesn’t just know the right thing, but does the right thing. A woman who doesn’t just do the right thing, but desires to do the right thing. A woman who doesn’t just want to do the right thing, but wants to do it for the right reasons.

228 I want a woman who is xenozoan. Couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head for X, so I invented one. xenos means strange, different, foreign. Zoe means life, and in an Answers inGenesis article discussing the difference between biological organisms with and without the “breath of life,” the terms bios and zoe were distinguished, with the second referring to life forms with spirits. So in other words, I’m saying that I want someone who is markedly different outwardly from others, which results from being totally transformed on the inside.

There’s something different about her spirit.

Christians are in the World but not of the World. To the rest of the world, their conduct, character, and beliefs are strange. They are set apart, either by conscious choice or by social ostracism, but they don’t seem to belong. And Biblically, we know that we have the Holy Spirit in us, guiding us in all truth (John 16:13) and enabling us to resist sin, whether it is the lust of our flesh, the schemes of the Devil, or the lures of the World. This makes us very different, and because the World is so full of “ordinary” people, a truly saved Christian stands out, to other Christians. I’m not saying we have special powers to spot everyone—hardly; if that were the case, there wouldn’t be such a crisis of discernment in the global visible Church today. But I’m saying that because of the real differences in a person’s spirit because of regeneration, salvation, and sanctification, spending a certain amount of time with them will render discovery of their true nature unavoidable. Just as I remarked that I could see through worldly women in Thought #204, a short period of observing and listening to a sanctified saint inevitably triggers a sense of suspicion that they might be saved. After all, most of our communications with other people are not done with an introduction of “Hi, I’m a born-again Christian.” That’s why I’m couching this as if it were a jungle where you weren’t sure if you’d just caught a glimpse of an exotic animal, but if you sit still long enough, or track it carefully, you might be rewarded.

A godly woman will be weird in all the best ways. Foreign to society at large, but delightful to anyone of a shared spirit – overflowing with intense virtuous passion. Vibrant, and alive. Truly xenozoan.

229 I want a woman who is yielded, and yielding. Both of these are with respect to God, but the effects will carry over into any relationship, especially the closest one you can have, man and wife. What does ‘yield’ mean? Road signs are helpful. Stop means stop completely and let others have the right-of-way. Green lights tell you you may begin, or continue; speed limits tell you to maintain a measured intensity; dead-end/no exit/cul-de-sac signs indicate that you can keep going, but you’ll have to reverse course at some point. Lane-merge signs tell you to move over because the path you’re on ends, but one like it is nearby. And U-turn signs say that you need to not only stop, but turn around and go the other direction. Yield, though, means that you don’t necessarily need to stop, limit your speed, move over, or change course, but only that you need to give others greater priority than yourself, that if the road is yours, take it, but if someone’s moving in your lane, slow down and give them the right-of-way. In a marriage relationship, this would be related to submission, but it is in a negative (that is, limiting your actions) sense whereas submission is more positive (that is, actively acting to conform yourself to someone’s will).

To yield is the opposite of being overbearing. It means that the winner of the argument is the one who gives up first, and shows meekness. It’s nearly impossible to fight with someone who won’t fight back (unless you’re a monstrous wretch who can keep yourself angry for hours by the sound of your own voice, until the person you’re wearing down cracks and pleads for mercy, giving you an excuse to accuse them of being aggressive or insulting you). Someone who wants to do whatever they can to resolve any apparent conflict, and seek your good at any reasonable expense, is disarming and defuses conflict, enabling the other person to push back, admitting wrong and offering a more equitable meeting point, choosing to collaborate rather than compromise or dominate. If you think I’m talking about this point in order to push the idea that “women should be yielding to their husbands, and not vice versa,” you’re wrong. To be yielding simply means to be willing to give up things that you may think are important to you. What does the call to be a sacrificially loving husband embody, if not yieldedness? To sacrifice means to give up something for something else. Yielding to the other, being willing to “lose,” is the valuable personality trait that should be vigorously pursued and exercised by both spouses.

I happen to have a very ‘yielded’ personality when it comes to conflict. Mark, I’m not afraid of confrontation and will endure conflict 10 times out of 10 when it’s a matter of justice and righteousness. I will never shy away from conflict at the expense of truth. But I’d nevertheless much rather have truth and peace, than conflict. My first approach to an issue is always to try to reason it out and explain my view on it to the other person. If someone’s angry, I’d rather wait for them to calm down and talk to them when they’re reasonable (in most cases, angry people are unreasonable. Certainly when it comes to ‘the wrath of man’ rather than godly wrath). Then, I try using “I” words and assuring them that I’m not against them. I try reflective listening. I try dialectical reasoning. Then I, perhaps desperate, try to show them that they don’t have any logical reason to be angry, so stop it, for goodness sakes! With most people, this is where the attempts derail, because someone who’s determined to be angry and have conflict, will have it. But a wife, someone who has so much rich history with me that she knows I mean her good, that she knows I’m not an idiot, that she knows I’m not angry or trying to provoke her, and who wants to strengthen our relationship by being as amenable as possible, will herself be doing just what I’m doing, and listen to the other person, speak non-accusingly, reason with each other, and not be preoccupied with anger. She won’t try to “win” by overpowering me with anger and noise and emotionally shutting me out. And neither will I to her. By having and exercising yieldedness, we’ll keep each other close and not voluntarily drive a wedge between us.

Yielding need not only be concerned with conflict resolution, but this was an apt example and I chose to major on that point.
7 Ways to Destroy Your Marriage -- and be a winner! (yay!) (sarcasm alert)

230 I want a woman who is zealous. This is the one point that should be most evident in everything I’ve written outside of these lines. It needs very little further explanation; it’s mostly self-explanatory. I want someone who’s passionate for God, which does not necessarily equate to wanting to be a missionary. That’s not the only way to be ‘on fire for the Lord.’ Zealousness is to have such a strong desire to pursue Christ-likeness, plumb the depths of sound theology, mortify sin (Romans 8:13), conform to God by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), live obediently, live humbly, live a quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11), sleep peacefully at night knowing your every need is cared for by God and you lack nothing (Ecclesiastes 5:12)…such a deep passion for Godliness that it is not only at the forefront of your thinking but that it controls everything you think about, so that the real relevance of everything in your experience to God’s Kingdom is plain to you – and moreover, that you don’t just want this, intellectually, but really feel it. It’s a two-edged sword. Passion without Truth is emotionalism. Truth without Passion is fatalism. You don’t just know what’s good, you don’t just do what’s good, but you have an unshakable deep-seated urge to do what’s good, and nothing but that, for the glory of God. That’s zealotry. It consumes you. And if your zeal is for truth, it is all well and good. We all know what zeal for falsehood produces. Zealot is generally a pejorative word for this reason, as is Fundamentalist, or even Conservative. What matters is, what are you conserving? What are your fundamentals? What is the aim of your zeal? When you’re a doctrinally sound, saved-by-grace Christian, and you start to notice that you have an instinct apart from reason, to love Christians, to relish good theological teaching, to rejoice in (the doing or witnessing of others’) good works done for God’s glory, to be anguished at sin and darkness in the World, to hate your sin, to yearn for the fulfillment of God’s will, to become emotional when you’re naturally logical, to become logical when you’re naturally emotional, to become confident when you’re naturally shy, to become reserved when you’re naturally audacious, to love what you didn’t love, to hate what you didn’t hate, and much more besides – then you are being sanctified. And when relishing in the realization of what’s happening to you, and intentionally feeding the process, then you are experiencing the habit-forming escalation of zeal in your soul. Have you wondered how God accomplishes His will in people’s lives? Since He doesn’t simply drag-and-drop you to where He wants you to be, or move those things to you, what does He do? He puts a yearning in your heart for that goal which He wishes you to aspire to. He places godly desires in us, so that by simply acting consistently with what we know to be His will from the Bible, and by pursuing our passions, He takes us exactly where He wants us to go, by working within us.

Desire to pursue God’s calling on your life is attractive. In my zeal for God, I am passionate in my yearning for a woman who has a similar measure of zeal for all the things above and more besides. And I know that through our mutual desires, He will enable us to find and recognize each other when He sees fit that we should have our yearning for marriage finally satisfied.

~ Rak Chazak

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