Why The “No Divorce” Belief Can Ruin Your Marriage

Okey-dokey, I gotta talk about this post on The Bible and Divorce over at Alpha Game.

And as my standard disclaimer when I talk about religious thought – I’m an ex-Christian and now an atheist so be advised. I don’t care about any particular belief about God / Jesus / The Flying Spaghetti Monster / The Star Goat of Thollian IV, my only interest in religion is how it affects your marriage for better or for worse. I’m not debating belief, just pointing out what I see. It’s up to you guys to figure out how well my thought meshes with your religion.

Anyway, here’s the original reader question…

My marriage is in bad shape. I have dug pretty thoroughly and do not believe there has been any actual sexual activity by my wife with anyone else. However, I have discovered other things that cause me to seriously doubt whether this marriage can ever rise to the level of mediocre. I now see her with eyes of contempt mixed with love (still). It’s a weird/unpleasant combination.

I would greatly appreciate your views on what are biblically solid grounds for divorce. I have come to the edge where I am about to prefer divorce over trying to rebuild/game up/man up/whatever. However, my preference does not matter if it violates God’s commands. I would rather suffer in obedience to God than seek pleasure in rebellion.

Minus the question of my view on biblical grounds for divorce, I hear this exact same question from a reader about twice a month. “I’ve tried everything, but I can’t divorce because I’m a Christian. What do I do?” So this isn’t an academic question to me, it’s a real world issue and I do my best to help out. Unfortunately the “no divorce” rule makes Christian men very resistant with doing what they need to do to fix their marriage. They always worry it’s going to crash and burn into a sinful divorce. So they play it far too safe and end up bringing a banana to the knife fight.

Here’s the key problem that Christians miss with their “no divorce” platform. Once you remove the possibility of divorce from the equation, there is no longer an effective consequence for what would otherwise be a genuine relationship breaking problem. Which means relationship breaking problems can never effectively be addressed and end up simply being tolerated. Oh sure you can beg and plead and pray and take her to the elders and they can frown at her yada yada yada, but that’s all just talk and making threatening gestures with the banana. Like she cares about that. Thus the “no divorce” platform can actually be a significant causal factor in a really shitty Christian marriage.

Let me explain…

Jennifer and I love each other a great deal and there’s not a whole lot we wouldn’t do for each other. But we both have a great deal of expectations about the other, that we know are simply deal breakers if broken/not met. For example, if I ever hit Jennifer in anger, I’m pretty damn sure that it’s over between us. No counseling, no thinking about it, I’m just a bit too big compared to her for her to ever relax around me again. It would be over. Jennifer can hit me once. I don’t know why that is, I think because if she ever hit me I would have earned it by not listening for way too long and generally being an asshat. But hit me twice and it’s over. Thus we have a standard of behavior and a serious consequence for breaking it. No hitting. End of discussion.

We also have an agreement that we’ll both work. Sure Jennifer and I slack off once in a while and do nothing, but that’s a rest after a long period of working. If that rest turned into a consistent pattern of one of us just slacking off and doing nothing much, that’s not going to be tolerated. We don’t have to be making a ton of money, we just can’t be permanently lazy. If lazy goes on for long enough, the other would start getting unpleasant about it. Ultimately if the other person downed tools and refused to pick them up, I don’t see that lasting much more than a couple months before divorce would be coming to the surface as a considered option. Thus we have a standard of behavior and a serious consequence for breaking it. We’ll both work and hold up our end of the marriage. End of discussion.

We also have an agreement that we’ll both stay basically attractive to each other and have a strong sex life. Jennifer knows that if she just lets herself go and/or stops being a fun sexual partner for me, I’m gonna head for the door. I also know that if I become a crappy sex partner for her, she’s not going to be able to be responsive to me the way I want her to be. I’m not going to reasonably expect her to be into me if I’ve let myself go, or if I’m cruel to her. So I treat her very well. Our marriage is a sexual relationship, that’s why we’re married. Thus we have a standard of behavior and a serious consequence for breaking it. Sexy Time is very important. End of discussion.

So our standards and willingness to enforce genuine relationship breaking issues with the ultimate consequence, means that we never actually develop those relationship breaking issues. Our willingness to divorce, averts divorce.

But, if Jennifer figured out that I would never, ever, under any circumstances divorce her because of my religious beliefs, that would allow her a lot more leeway on those standards of behavior. Maybe she could scream and yell in the kitchen about something. Maybe she could bounce a cup off my head on alternate Tuesdays. Maybe she could come home one day and tell me she just quit her job because it was all so tiring and made her unhappy. Maybe she could put on 100 pounds. Maybe she could cut me back to once a month sex. Maybe she could take all the money and go shopping for cute outfits for her little purse dog. Or maybe she could buy $1500 of Mary Kay cosmetics to “start her business” and only sell $40 worth to her mother.

Or based on the emails I get… she could do all of that at once.

Because I would never be allowed to divorce, can you see how I’m screwed? I can’t really do anything to stop myself from being trapped in this horrible marriage. I mean what I am going to do? Ground her? Be mad? Sure I can make myself look sexier and all hot, but that’s no threat if I can’t leave her and hook up with someone else. I’d have to just stick it out and love her unconditionally.

Do. Not. Want.

See how blindly being on the “no divorce” platform can ruin your marriage?

So let me come around at this from a different angle to hopefully help my Christian friends understand this better. The original guy’s key statement is this…

“I would rather suffer in obedience to God than seek pleasure in rebellion.”

Dude you have it backwards. As the Captain of the household, you are responsible for the safety, well being, happiness, and overall functionality of your household. Complaining that your wife is crappy isn’t very Captainy. My hunch is that your actual problem is that you’ve been asleep at the switch for the longest time, too frightened to actually stand up for yourself. You’ve been without effective demands for some basic standards of behavior and she’s just run riot on you. Your whole marriage is like trample porn without the nudity.* Whether you want to admit it or not, she’s always looked to you to act like the Captain. It’s not 100% her fault that you’re in this pickle. Some of it is her fault, but some of it is yours… and because the Captain is always more responsible than the First Officer, it’s more your fault than hers. The Captain is last off the ship and doesn’t ask for a legal loophole to allow him to be first to the lifeboats. That’s what being the Captain means.

Or put in Christanese… you’ve been disobedient to God the whole time you haven’t been taking responsibility for your marriage. You’re in rebellion now.

And yeah I know what Jesus said, but he wasn’t giving advice in a Marriage 2.0 world was he. Maybe he would have said something different if the wives could call the Roman soldiers in to arrest their husbands for not appreciating the meatloaf appropriately. As it was, a divorced woman in Jesus’s time was pretty much going to have to learn to turn tricks, which literally sucks… so I’m with JC on that one.

So my advice is pretty simple, put things right. Both in you and in her. Set some standards for behavior for each other. Allow time for everything to work itself out and change direction, there are no instant fixes with marriages, but you can greatly improve things. If you put in the proper effort with the right attitude, you have a reasonable chance of making things better. If you do all the right things and she proves herself to be utterly defiant and unwilling to hold up her end of the marriage agreement, that’s her choice to make and you may as well accept it. If so, then just let her go and be Gods plan for feral cat colony management.

Jennifer: The whole no divorce thing is important because you can’t over react to every little thing and reach for the divorce button. I don’t worry Athol would ever leave me for something silly, but there’s plenty that can go wrong in a marriage that isn’t cheating. We respect each other.

* No offense intended to believers of The Star Goat of Thollian IV



  1. RedPillNewb says:

    We have a children’s book called “No Hitting for Little Hamster” which has struck me as funny since I started with MMSL. “But he totally deserves it! He didn’t appreciate my paella! He’s always bugging me for sex! I’ll only hit him once!”

  2. RedPillAwakening says:

    Amazingly well-thought out post. I could not agree more, especially regarding the legal environment and consequences of divorce in Jesus’ time versus 21st century USA. We are playing under a whole new set of rules and the vast majority of men just don’t understand those rules yet. Especially Christian men. And I know, because these are my people (well, were my people), during my entire formative childhood experience. We’re operating under a completely new paradigm and the consequences are all around us, but for some reason it seems to take a couple of generations for a majority of people to catch on. Wish I had caught on sooner. If I ever have a son I will raise him to be acutely aware of the dangers of oneitis and the completely unromantic financial contract (marriage) between a man, his wife, the government and the courts.

  3. Your hitting rule reminded me of something. Both Rihanna and Pam Anderson hit Chris Brown and Tommy Lee multiple times. Aggressively before they made any sort of retaliation. Sure Chris hit Rihanna, but she was nailing him in the head with a stilletto heel, which is much more dangerous than you’d think. Of course he should have hit her, he should have beaten her senseless for basically committing the idiot girl version of battery. And Tommy Lee didn’t even hit Pam, he restrained her from hitting him multiple times, and he ended up in prison. Ladies if you don’t want to play the weaker sex game anymore and start hitting a man like men do, then be ready to get hit like men do.

  4. While I totally see your point, I cannot agree with you because the premise is flawed, for a Christian. The goal of a Christian is to glorify God, whether the marriage is good or bad. If it is bad, instead of saying, “How can I get out of this?” the Christian should say, “how can I honor and glorify God through this?” It’s not about us getting what we want, it’s about giving God the honor that He deserves. There are only two Biblical reasons for a Christian to divorce-infidelity, or having an unbelieving spouse who does not want to stay in the marriage.

  5. If my wife were to hit me, she’d be spanked. Not brutally, but seriously. Not in fun. And she knows it.

    For some husbands, being hit can be a wakeup call that they’re married to the wrong women, and they should heed it. But if the marriage is generally acceptable, or if you just don’t want to travel the divorce road, there needs to be a consequence for her between being ineffectually seethed at and being divorced. Having a true consequence in place frees her from ongoing guilt and him from ongoing resentment.

    This is far different from saying she should be “beaten senseless,” which sets off my psychopath alarms.

  6. I think this is true, and I constantly wish for a solid Christian voice (there are few, I know…) to pick this website up and start talking about the goodness of it. Most Christians would concede that an abandoned man or woman could justify divorce (“unbeliever who wants to leave, let them leave”), and there are more ways than one to abandon your spouse.

    A point from the other direction, though: Christian husbands who have been referred here by their beta-weary Christian wives ought to consider whether they are resting on their no-divorce laurels as well. When you as a man start working on your MAP because your marriage is in trouble, don’t putter along knowing your wife is a good girl who loves you very much and who doesn’t see divorce as an option.

    In other words, don’t drip-feed your wife some occasional Alpha just to keep the relationship limping along.

    Either own it and reform your weak points aggressively, or admit you are not interested in stepping up to lead so that she can take something tangible to the church elders and get real help for the emotional abandonment. Because she, by sending you here, is probably very very frustrated and all is not as well on the home front as your beta-lenses make it appear.


  7. I also find it interesting that the denominations strongly against divorce also hold to a very strong authority/submission paradigm. But since sex and beta behavior are not discussed, and because pastors are often the most beta types in the church, there is no accountability in these relationship problems that would naturally lead to divorce. Back when Jesus was walking around teaching, a wife could be put away for not giving her husband sex, and he was expected to provide and lead and bear the responsibility socially for the state of his family or face scorn and low standing in the community, possibly discipline by the authorities. She could depend on him to provide and lead; he got sex when he wanted it. Not NECESSARILY a guarantee of affection and a warm happy home, but goodness–at least it pointed in the right direction. Those social/religious expectations paired with the “don’t divorce” policy work. Marriage 2.0 paired with “don’t divorce” doesn’t work. Athol has it right. The culture has changed, and we Christians have dropped half the equation while holding firmly to the other half.

  8. Those men just don’t understand that if she takes a divorce, it’s a jackpot. In God’s eyes you two were still married, and the moment she has sex with another man because she fancies herself an divorcee, she becomes an adulteress. Making the husband free to remarry. As that actually is a legitimate reason for Biblical divorce.

    No Christian man should worry that using Game is going to crash and burn into her divorcing him, because that’s the second best option.

  9. Changed Man says:

    Star Goat? Really?!? No disclaimer for Pastafarians? Does the Star Goat have a bible for sale on Amazon?


    I’d like to see the Star Goat top that! :-P

  10. I notice (as a Christian) that most Christian women don’t seem to have a problem with divorce. Just saying.

    Just because the man has removed the tool from his toolbox, doesn’t mean the woman has. (what is it, 70% of all divorces are initiated by women, most men don’t see it coming)

  11. Since I don’t have a dog in this fight, I won’t comment except that I wholeheartedly agree with Athol and Jennifer’s conditions — Mrs. Ironwood and I have a similar arrangement. Predictable, stable income, no violence or other disrespectful behavior, and sex on a regular basis. Apart from some baseline rules about child-rearing, everything else is open to negotiations. We’ve never discussed divorce seriously because it’s never been a serious option for us. We vetted each other thoroughly before we wed, and once we committed, we committed hard.

    (Ironically, one of the few things that would actually make me consider revisiting my commitment would be if she converted to Evangelical Christianity in a serious way. Not that I’m worried — she’s a firm secular humanist — but it would make pagan rituals awkward around the holidays and cause the kids more issues than they deserve)

    But thanks for the Douglas Adams shout-out, Athol. That’s pure nerd street-cred, right there.

  12. This post only works if the purpose of marriage is to be happy and to get your needs met. I agree with Jessie. The purpose of a Christian marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church to the world, it is ultimately supposed to help save others by being an example of how great the love of Christ is. The bible often compares the bride of Christ (us, the church), to a harlot or a whore, times haven’t changed that much. Yet He still tells us to stay married and only because of the hardness of our hearts are we allowed divorce. The desire of God is for us to stay married.

    But staying married is a law and like all of God’s laws; grace, love and mercy are more important, so if you need to divorce out of love (helping your spouse recover from a sin to ultimately help save his soul), or mercy (abused spouse scenario), then it is acceptable. But remarriage shouldn’t be an option because then we would become adulterers, because even though we are divorced on paper, we are still connected because marriage is a covenant and man does not have the authority to break a covenant. Only God can break a covenant.

  13. I am not sure I entirely agree. As an atheist you have no reason to respect Gods law and I respect your right to do that, but Christians should not ignore a specific commandment of Jesus without very good reason to suppose they know better. I think you are right to question whether he has worked his way entirely through the MAP, but for the final step there are other options other than divorce. Vox highlights one on his blog when he points out that whilst Jesus explicitly proscribed divorce, he never made any similar comment about polygamy; A Christian man is not permitted to divorce his wife, but he is permitted to take another. If that seems a little unorthodox one might consider that although a husband has an obligation to provide for his wife’s material needs, those needs should not reasonably include annual holidays and monthly shoes.

    Equally however, one could argue that since the biblical concept of marriage is my the same as the modern legal one, a man could ‘divorce’ his wife and terminate his legal obligations to her, without ending the spiritual union.

    As an aside, I think your readers might be interested in a guest post from Vox.

  14. I like the concept of what a Catholic marriage requires…

    A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements: (1) the spouses are free to marry; (2) they freely exchange their consent; (3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; and (4) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister.

    So you decide you want to marry this person and are not forced by other circumstances, they both know they want to marry each other, they have conditions on how the marriage will be, and somebody sees and officiates it.

    But remember gentlemen…your biggest allies in keeping a woman around is saying no at the right times, and looking at the door when things get bad.

  15. I think the modern Christian perspective on divorce/healthy marriage is weak because they emphasize the teachings on divorce and neglect the parallel teachings on divorce-prevention, i.e. leadership and responsibility, not denying each other good sex, showing respect, etc. Because the moorings of a healthy marriage are not taught, “Christian” marriages have as horrible a track record as non, and the spouses are stuck with no recourse, no accountability, and few counselors who have a clue as to why marriages are falling apart.

  16. I’m a Christian and I see a lot of value in Game as presented here, especially the awareness it provides. It’s not hard to “Christianize” a lot of it, just as one could do with parts of Buddhism, Tao, Tolle, and so on. Wisdom is wisdom, truth is truth. I’ll take from it what I can. My wife and I have both been Christians since childhood, and had we been more mature as Christians, we would have abided in Christ as in John chapter 15, practiced Deuteronomy 4:29, Joshua 1:8, and other well worn scriptures, and have avoided problems. Just the mutual practice of the golden rule would have been so much better. 1 Corinthians 13 says “…love seeketh not her own” (is not selfish). How does a marriage have problems unless one or both spouses become selfish? How is oneitis a problem when you both have it? Christian marriage done right is precisely mutual oneitis, doesn’t everyone have it until one or both go back on their promises to each other, such as to love (unselfishly) and cherish?

    The gist of John 15 is Christ saying “Abide in me…for without Me, ye can do nothing.” Our true nature is selfish, so unless a Christian abides in Him we revert to it like a dog returns to its vomit.

  17. I suspect that, for a lot of people, religious objections can be a smokescreen for the fact that they have been utterly traumatised by other peoples’ divorces, like their parents.

    It’s actually a lot easier to contemplate divorce if you come from a background where it’s unusual or, ideally, unheard of. I come from a family with no divorces or separations. But I know many children of divorce, who are so utterly traumatised by it that they would rather stay in miserable situations than do to their own children what their parents did to them.

    So, having spoken to a lot of them, especially in communities where having children out of wedlock is the norm, a lot of them find it easier, and less painful, to term it in religious terms than say something like “I grew up without a daddy, and it still hurts”. And the people they’re talking to seem to accept religious beliefs more easily than beliefs based on personal experience.

  18. The Outsider says:

    Whoa, really, Athol?! The idea that easy divorce actually makes marriage better is… absurd. Sure, it’s the threat of easy, one-sided divorce that makes what you teach vitally important. But let’s not have the alarm salesman telling us how wonderful a high crime rate is.

    I didn’t say easy divorce made marriage better, I said believing that the ultimate consecquence was immoral risked making your marriage worse. Just like believing installing an alarm system is immoral and not installing one, would make your house robbed more easily.

  19. I’m Catholic, so I’m obviously anti-divorce, but I do see the wisdom in what Athol has to say about this.

    Withholding sex from a spouse is a sin worthy of confession as well, but I doubt the priest hears that one on a regular basis.

  20. Random Angeleno says:

    Divorce can be tantamount to child abuse for the effects on the children. That’s the magnifying glass that must always be brought out when children are involved. But at the same time, saying “no divorce” does no good if a man can’t (or hasn’t been taught how to) assume the reins of leadership AND women can’t (or haven’t been taught how to) accept that leadership when they get it. And we’re mostly not getting taught by the same institutions that espouse “no divorce”.

  21. I disagree with Athol’s claim that if you aren’t willing to take the nuclear option of divorce, you’re screwed into accepting bad behavior from your spouse. I am a single Catholic Christian, and when I contemplate a marriage with a bad wife, indeed I do cringe with dread: which motivates the hell out of me to choose as ^*%@$%* well as possible.

    For someone who accepts divorce, the threat of choosing badly is less severe, and so such a person is more likely to marry someone with nice physical *assets* and a terrible personality because in the back of their minds, there’s always, “well, I can always get out of it.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking for as tasty as I can get in the physical assets department, but she needs to have the *whole* package, or else I know that I am in for a world of hurt, for the rest of my life, especially with the legal environment of Marriage 2.0.

    You say that lack of divorce will lead me to accept bad behavior. As for not accepting bad behavior, Marriage 2.0 has not taken away an arsenal of actions I could take to negatively reinforce my expectations. I wouldn’t hesitate to move away from my spouse if she were physically abusive or cheated on me, but I would always hold out hope that we could rebuild and I would stay in contact. An ordinary woman is motivated body agenda-wise to implement the required changes even if I step up my game in the next city, because she will want me to give her offspring the needed genes. In addition, if I am away in the next city, I may have said it a thousand times that I will not cheat, and I will not be cheating, but just the fact that she knows that I have the opportunity and sexual motivation to cheat on her, if I were to lose my resolve, is enough to scare her into compliance as surely as the nuclear option, if I am really looking sexy and have upped my game.

    Finally, I think that you neglect the incredible beta comfort, which you say adds to the happiness of the couple although not the animal attraction, of a wife who is happy with her husband, and whose husband informs her of the fact that he will never, never, NEVER leave her for ANY reason, and say so honestly (because she WILL know if you’re lying). I think that the woman is likely to respond well to that and strive to reward you for your faithfulness accordingly.

    I’ve tried to leave the religious reasons out of it, since I know that you, Athol, are completely pragmatic in your approach. But I think that the Natural Law, as in that-which-works-best, hates divorce just as much as God does (Malachi 2:16 for fellow Christians who care).

  22. Interesting that many Christians/Churchians view divorce as the one sin that God will not forgive. You can do anything else and be forgiven, but if you divorce, no? You sure about that? I’m not sure about that.

    Other thoughts…

    Even if the man leaves divorce on the table as an option, it’s not as much of a threat these days as it used to be, but it’s better than nothing. If things were a little more equal legally, or if we still had fault divorce, I believe people would have some additional incentive to behave and we’d actually have less divorce.

    But still, being prepared to walk is something at least, otherwise you’re just all bark with no bite. Ask what you want of your spouse but if there is no ultimate consequence for failure to perform to a reasonable standard then your spouse winds up with the option of operating like some crummy tenured .gov employee that can’t ever get fired.

    There are negative consequences for the wife in a divorce, (and to all parties of course), if the husband walks. Even if the wife refuses to believe it at the time and thinks her post divorce life will be faaabuulous! Ask my ex-wife. She’s living the dream. Not.

    Speaking from experience, It’s not as fabulous as imagined for anyone. Especially the kids. I’m not glad I’m divorced or that I had a crap marriage experience. I would have greatly preferred otherwise. Only a fool would gleefully look forward to poking a stick in his eye.

    I am glad that I’m not married to that woman anymore though, if that makes sense.

    Divorce should be avoided if at all possible if you can make a reasonable (not ideal, but just reasonable would be a good start) situation out of the marriage. If you can’t, despite Herculean efforts to do so, as distasteful as you may find it, you’re better off leaving the option of divorce or walking out on the table. Even if you know in your head you would never use it. Just don’t tell her that.

    It would be like the US promising the Commies that no matter what, we would never push the button, and then expecting them to behave with restraint. People aren’t like that. When they see and advantage they take it and press for more. You have to have a counter-balancing incentive (positive or negative) to encourage good behavior.

    Oh, and don’t bluff too many times either. People will figure out your tell and call you on it. Only raise the option when it’s just that serious.

  23. Oh and for you love is “unconditional” types.

    A couple quick riddles for you.

    Your spouse comes home and announces they are gay. No, they haven’t cheated or done anything with anyone. They are just gay from now on. Love them unconditionally? Stick it out?

    Your spouse is arrested for possession of child porn. Love them unconditionally, forgive them, stick it out?

    Hmm… WWJD

  24. The “no divorce” rule is one of those religious rules that people take radically out of context. I believe there actually is provision in the Bible for divorce, if the behavior is severe enough (been a long time since I studied this; maybe someone can help me out here?). And “better or worse” does not mean the same as “even if you turn into a lousy shithead for no reason”. Spouses are supposed to take care of each other and give the best of themselves to each other in a Christian marriage…and obviously that’s a pretty good standard for any marriage.

    Similarly difficult to the religious “no divorce” rule is the “we have kids together so we can’t get divorced ever” rule. I’ve seen awful marriages carry on just for the kids’ sake, and that’s a bad situation for everyone.

  25. @ZLX1

    First scenario is called fraud. Catholics would allow an annulment for that one.

    Second scenario is a little more dicey, forgive them but just because they are thrown in prison isn’t grounds for divorce/annulment that would allow you to pursue another spouse. You’d have to wait until they get shanked in prison.

  26. The problem here is conflating God’s rules with Man’s rules. In the US, the first screw up is when followers of Christ allowed the government to institute marriage licenses to govern Christian marriages, circa 1860s – the why is another whole interesting topic.

    Bottomline – if Christian marriage was separate from the intrusion of government into the allocation of resources and children, divorce would truly be the nuclear option and not a lottery ticket for women only. Until such time as overreaching government is denuded of it’s power to wreak havoc in families, the current Marriage 2.0 is sucker’s deal, especially for serious Christians.

    Even with a equally serious pre-nup, I would advise against Marriage 2.0 for most Christian guys given the current environment.

    It is no more serious a sin than any other sin, but the destructive potential, especially if you are planning on children, is indescribable.

    Working with live ordnance is not for the foolish, the careless, or the weak of heart.

  27. Hearing all the different perspectives in the comments makes me think it might be interesting to see the results of a survey of the religious opinions of people who read this blog. Maybe with little boxes with the options:

    Roman Catholic
    Other Christian
    Other Religion
    Non-religious or Agnostic

    It would be very interesting to note what takers of the red pill think about God.

  28. OpenYourMind says:

    I’m an active Mormon, and I’ve taken the Red Pill. There are parts of it I have a hard time with and this is one of them. But I was forced to add this option to the table to save my marriage at the very risk of losing it. The Red Pill has turned the toxic parts of my marriage into a happy thriving one. I don’t know how to square everything about the red pill with my Christian beliefs, but the results are there.

    That’s because they don’t really match up together. Which for a believer is very awkward, but you have a happy marriage as a result so you live with the awkward.

  29. @ZLX1…plus if a Christian thinks God doesn’t forgive divorce they’ve really been clearly brainwashed. People seem to look at sin as what other people do…I think a better concept of sin is what did you do to bring it about. God will forgive a sinner that takes that responsibility 10 times out of 10.

    Now if you hate the Holy Spirit…and say the devil is doing those works, that’s another story.

  30. Milf_in_training says:

    Foster, you left several important religions off your list, including mine. I am not, and have never been Christian. I read this post and the comments and I’m confused. I want to ask a few questions.

    What if the husband is doing the right thing by Christian rules, and the wife is ignoring them? If Christian rules state the wife is to submit to her husband and he makes clear she should submit and she refuses, how does that affect “marriage in the eyes of God”?

    Is a Christian husband allowed to walk away from a bad wife? Not divorce, but set up his own household, pay her support, and arrange for shared care of the children.

    Is there a Christian list of marital duties, and consequences for ignoring one’s duties?

    In the cases Athol brings up, the wife seems to be acting in very poor faith, not fulfilling her marriage duties, and in general, not being a good Christian (or human of any religion). Does Christian law require a man to life with such a poor example of her professed faith?

  31. I was recently reading Chesterton againist Divorce, and he certainly felt seperation was allowed, just not remarriage.

  32. Milf,
    I tried to answer your questions by bolding or underlining, but I couldn’t figure out how, lol. So I just answered in order that you asked them. I hope it isn’t confusing!

    1. If the husband is doing the right thing and the wife is not, it is his job to confront her so that she can repent. If she isn’t willing to repent, then there are serious issues at heart that God will address. If she is a true Christian, God will not allow her to stay that way. He want His children to be repentant and conformed to His likeness, so He will discipline as He sees fit. Being disciplined by God is miserable, so it is very loving for a husband/wife/the church to confront a sinning spouse. The husband needs to remain obedient to God’s word and fulfill his role regardless of the wife. He can enlist the help of church leadership if things are going badly, as well. Church leadership will encourage her to repent and act in a godly way.

    2. He is not allowed to divorce, but if things are bad, he can be separated. But this is in hope of reconciling-he can’t find a new wife. He should pay her support if it’s his fault that things aren’t working out, but he is under no obligation to pay for her support if she decides to move out.

    3. The husband’s job is to love the wife, provide for her, and protect her. The wife is to respect the husband and submit to his leadership, as long as he isn’t asking her to sin. She is also supposed to take care of the home and love the children. Neither the husband nor the wife are permitted to deny sex, unless it’s agreed upon by both spouses, for a short time to focus on God.

    4. Steps can be taken through the church to bring about repentance from the wife, and the separation option exists as well. In the case of illegal activity (child porn, drugs, domestic violence, etc) then it is good to involve the law. God can use the court system to bring about repentance.

  33. Re ZLX1: “Interesting that many Christians/Churchians view divorce as the one sin that God will not forgive. You can do anything else and be forgiven, but if you divorce, no? You sure about that? I’m not sure about that.”

    As a long time Christian I’ve noted lots of inconsistencies. For example, in many of the same lists of sins that most all church people are horrified by, like drunkeness, murder, and adultery, are other sins that somehow are ok. Or at least not seen as shameful. Such as gossip, gluttony, and indolence. As I recall, there’s even at least 1 scripture lumping cowards in there with those bound for hell.

    So, yes, the same Bible that proscribes divorce except under relatively dire provocation also proscribes either partner becoming a fat ass. While all sins are perhaps not equal, I don’t think there’s anything indicating any of them aren’t serious.

    Actually, the cynic in me knows the rule: My sins are not serious. Yours are. So for a woman sensitive about her weight, who doesn’t want to change, divorce is a horrible sin. But your objection to her being obese is another sin on your part.

  34. Horrified by drunkenness? Wow . . .

  35. The sins of women are countless in feminist society due to the absolute primacy of all female desires, but most men today have a big sin that without the red pill they won’t let go of: the worship of women. Its ingrained into society and serves the feminine imperative, so women won’t try to stop it. Blue pill Christians: face your Maker, and repent of your worship of women (or A woman). It is adultery against God.

  36. LongLostFriend says:

    Athol makes some good points here, athough I usually diverge from his judgment when he starts waxing (anti-) religious.

    For the Christian, divorce is off the table except for some very extreme circumstances. Having a bitch for a wife is not one of them. I do believe that Jesus was addressing marriage for every age (i.e. not just pre- “Marriage 2.0″), so we can’t just slap on the “cultural” label and go on our merry way if we hope to honor Christ.

    So, what are the options for the Red Pill Christian?

    1. Choose a wife carefully, and be prepared to be looking a long time. There simply is not an abundance of women who embrace the genuine biblical model of submission to a husband, so this needs to be a prime litmus test. If she views the idea of submission as horrendous and outmoded, or even if she seems to grudgingly accept it as distasteful but biblical, pass on her. She is not ready to be a good wife. Be bold in examining her on this issue, because it is your livelihood that may very well depend on it. In addition, look for traits that she will be a good mother, if she is frugal and industrious, etc. If she does not exhibit those qualities as a single woman, do not expect her to suddenly take on those traits post-wedding.

    2. If you have already blown it on number 1 above, run the MAP, sans the “final solution.” In addition, take charge of the finances and don’t be afraid to cut her off. You are the head, whether she acknowledges it or not. Act like it. In other words, repent of your own passivity and abdicating the headship role to your wife.

    3. Realize that doing number 2 above may result in your wife’s repentance and falling into line, or it may result in constant grief or her divorcing you herself (which was always a not-unlikely scenario). It may result in your church taking her side in a very prejudicial manner, because they themselves have adopted an unbiblical, feminized view of the husband-wife dynamic. Stand firm, do not acquiesce, and suffer for the cause of Christ if necessary. The idea that you can leave your marriage that you willingly entered just because you yourself aren’t happy is just hamster-thinking.

    There is a third alternative besides passively accepting your fate or being willing to divorce. That is the path of the Red Pill Christian.

  37. LongLostFriend says:

    I will add to my “number 1″: if you are too reticent to be bold in conducting an extensive “interview” process on potential wives, you are not ready to be a good husband. To tip-toe over questions of submission as a single man will almost inevitably lead to you doing so as a married one.

  38. @LostLostFriend Your #3 accepts the possiblity of divorce if you persue your plan of action. You’re just trying to frame it as taking a moral high ground over my advice that divorce is a possiblity if you persue your plan of action.

    By trying to take control of the marriage without having the will and ability to remove her from the relationship if needed, while she has the will and ability to remove you, she has the vastly better position and you’re much less likely to succeed in your goal of saving the marriage.

  39. Milf in training,
    I am not Jessie, for the record. As for my supposedly “leaving several important religions off the list,” I did mention “other religion” on the list, so I did not neglect you, although you might desire more specific recognition. What are you, by the way, since you bring it up? I think it likely that “other religion” would be a small chunk of the demographic if the poll I suggest were carried out, but you’re right. I don’t know, and that’s why the poll would be interesting. To ameliorate the potential problem you suggest, when someone responds “other religion,” a textbox could pop up where the respondent specifies.
    While Jessie and I share a good deal of common ground, I want to answer your questions as I believe they were directed at me in response to my comment.
    Is a Christian husband allowed to walk away from a bad wife? Not divorce, but set up his own household, pay her support, and arrange for shared care of the children.
    The entire situation revolves around love, not even sexual love, but radical desire for the good of the others, often to your own detriment. Within that framework, in order for physically leaving my wife for an extended period to be loving my wife, her failure would have to be catastrophic (like the physical abuse or cheating mentioned, or substance abuse). Love for children involved would also be a factor if the spouse is abusive. I would have to talk to priests and experienced friends I trust to make sure I was being objective, but I think that yes there are cases where loving your spouse best is withdrawing yourself from them to allow them to experience the natural consequences of their behavior, but not seek remarriage so as to leave room for reconciliation. A Christian should always obey the law unless it goes directly against the Faith, so if the law requires child support then give it. If not, I’d approach the question in terms of “would giving money to my separated wife tend more to make her happier, or tend to support her destructive behavior.”
    Is there a Christian list of marital duties, and consequences for ignoring one’s duties?
    Christian? I don’t think there’s an official list. There are Catholic guidelines the Church specifies in the Catechism, but of course it is impossible for any manmade list to cover every situation. My duty is to love my wife and there are many species that can fall under, including withdrawal from her and calling her on it when she does what I know is not healthy for the relationship–that is, displaying the alpha traits Athol talks about because your spouse wants them in her mate and the father of her children.
    In the cases Athol brings up, the wife seems to be acting in very poor faith, not fulfilling her marriage duties, and in general, not being a good Christian (or human of any religion). Does Christian law require a man to life with such a poor example of her professed faith?

    Christianity requires a man to love his neighbor as himself and not to live for himself, but for others. Anyone who denies that has not understood the Gospel. Now usually what Athol teaches tends toward the same ends as this, in that he wants to promote marital harmony, which is a good for the spouse, the children, and (but not especially) you. Where his teaching departs from Christian teaching is when things are so bad that the man no longer benefits at all from the marriage arrangement—when the “for worse” clause of your vows comes into effect. Poor choices have bad consequences, and even good ones through the imperfection that is human existence, can end in regret at the end of a lifetime.

    A Christian man who has read MMSL and grasped the truths of evolutionary Psychology contained therein has the responsibility to use these truths to the benefit of his marriage and the people around him. But knowing these things is merely power, and the Church has said that using any power to destroy your existing marriage in order to create a new one is evil. I quite understand if Christianity is not for you. It is indeed “a hard saying.” If Jesus died the most agonizing death possible for his chosen people, you are expected likewise, if it is necessary, to live an agonizing life with your chosen person. That’s sacrifice. MMSL has value in reducing the likelihood that such a thing will happen, as does good judgment when choosing a spouse. But it is always possible that it will, and those who say “for worse” should mean “for worse.”

  40. Si vis pacem, para bellum

  41. OpenYourMind says:

    @Foster I would like to agree with you that the man’s duty is to stay with the marriage for better or worse, but the problem is frame control. If you really aren’t willing to end an unhappy marriage if necessary, your wife will sense it and continue on in ways that are toxic to the marriage and the kids. If a marriage is heading into the unhappy zone, the husband who isn’t willing to take this frame, may very well have his wife end the marriage first. Maybe this is preferred, then he can say he has a clear conciseness since he strayed true to the marriage covenant. But he may have been able to save the marriage if he decided to draw boundaries and enforce them at the threat of ending the marriage himself. You can’t really fake it, and if you did then you would be a liar (another sin), but more importantly a wife can sense if its for real or not.

    Women are attracted to this type of strength and when the attraction is back then the marriage thrives. It is totally counter-intuitive, but its also a simple principle of any contract in business. The party most willing to walk away from the table holds the power in the relationship. Women respond to the man holding this power. If women hold the power, then they are ultimately unhappy because they lose attraction/respect for the man. This is a vital part of the red pill and very difficult to swallow. I can’t argue with you about whether its right or wrong, but the results are very consistent over time.

  42. Bene dictus est, ZLX1.

  43. OpenYourMind,
    As a Mormon, your religion’s historic view of marriage as dissolvable contract is very different from mine as insoluble covenant, and so we are likely to have less common ground here than you and Athol, for instance. But, your argument seems to be speaking more to my first comment against Athol’s defense of “the nuclear option,” of divorce, which was concerned with the practical reasons I believe what I do, rather than speaking to my reply to Milf in training, which concerned my religious reasons for believing what I do, so I will treat it in that manner. Athol’s and your core argument appears to be this:

    Not believing in divorce can ruin your marriage because if you aren’t willing to end the marriage, your wife will see this as a weakness in Alpha on your part and be less attracted to you and more likely to end the marriage on you.

    What I am saying is that this is not accurate, because in terms of ruining your existing marriage, divorce does not provide you with any new tools that a Catholic understanding does not. As I said, leaving my spouse and moving to a different city is on the table if her behavior warrants it, which is about as strong an action as you can take and not destroy the marriage in the process. What I have said does not preclude bouncing back on bad behavior, either. It requires it. The only thing not on the table for devout Catholics whose marriage is valid in practical terms is remarriage, since you will still be open to fixing things with your spouse. If anything, believing in divorce is what ruins a marriage because it means that both parties are less committed to making it work despite its flaws.

    I am not denying that having these principles and following them might make you more unhappy in this life than someone like Athol who lacks them, but I *am* denying that divorce gives you any more persuasive power towards fixing your existing marriage.

  44. I see a distinction between “being unhappy” in a marriage and having tangible evidence of a wife abandoning her vows. Isn’t persistently refusing sex to her husband being unfaithful to her vows just like him having an affair would be? Maybe the Christian vows should be more explicit so that the husband could “call in the Elders” and start church discipline as a last resort. But then he’d be getting duty sex. Blah. What a mess.
    Marry in haste, repent at leisure is what our grandparents said.


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