A premature proclamation?

30 Mar

Suzanne Gosselin recently wrote an article at Boundless called “Recognizing the One,” in which she recounts that she knew her now-husband was “the one” when the Holy Spirit told her so (which just so happened to be at a moment when Kevin, to whom she was already attracted, was alpha-ly going on about his passions and plans for life…funny how that works).

In the comments, someone named Andrew3 wrote of his criteria for a future wife:

This is my criteria for knowing if a woman is “The One” for me:

1. She believes in Jesus Christ as her Saviour.

2. I can imagine her bearing my children through the method designed by God at the beginning of creation. (Genesis 4:1)

3. She wants to marry me.

That is it! The first woman who fulfills all three of the above criteria will be my wife for the rest of our years on earth.

Now, maybe he really means this, but I highly doubt that these are his only criteria.  What if the woman also…

…had three kids by three other guys?

…pole-danced not for Jesus?

…had $50,000 worth of credit card debt?

…had two ex-husbands?

…had a lot of male Facebook friends who liked to message her?

…liked to post pictures of herself in a bikini on Facebook?

…had no female friends?

…made more money and/or had more education than he did?

Maybe Andrew3 is just really young and therefore hasn’t thought any deeper than his three criteria.


34 Responses to “A premature proclamation?”

  1. Toz March 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Oh Haley,

    This is clearly the criteria among the girls he already knows or is likely to meet at church. About the only two that might apply among the criteria you listed are:

    $50K in credit card debt
    More money/education

    Usually, neither are much of a problem for a typical churchy beta male.

    Now alphas, on the other hand…

  2. Wayfinder March 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Number 2 is oddly specific. Is there some evangelical IVF scare going around that I’m not aware of, or is he just phrasing it weirdly? I suppose that if you squint at it, it kind of implies the broader criteria on your list: he doesn’t see a pole-dancing single mother CEO with huge credit-card debt as a potential mother for his children.

  3. Paige March 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    “pole-danced not for Jesus”.


  4. Aunt Haley March 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I think he means no IVF, no surrogacy, no adoption. In other words, he wants a Fertile Myrtle.

  5. Hope March 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Seconding Wayfinder. You have to realize that when a man says he “can imagine her as the mother of my children” he is already ruling out the unsuitable women according to the typical male criteria (not slutty, not a stripper, a nurturing and sweet personality, fertile, physically attractive, a suitable wife and future mother). No man wants to impregnate a woman he finds repulsive. Virtually no man wants to have kids with a woman he does not love. So the second one is a catch-all phrase in “manspeak,” which is sometimes as cryptic as “womanese,” but after you hear it a few times, it’s simple to figure out.

  6. Country Lawyer March 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    I think all those other criteria you list fall under number 2 of his points:

    “I can imagine her bearing my children . . .”

  7. Hermes March 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Don’t put God in a box! There’s no formula for love! God is sovereign!

  8. Aunt Haley March 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Ted Slater, is that you?

  9. jack March 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    If the Knight is White…

  10. Ceer March 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Requirement number 2 is not specific at all. In fact, I’d call it the most general of all the requirements because you can fit so much into it. He could be the guy who can’t imagine marrying a pole dancer. He could be a guy who could only imagine marrying a woman 6’4″ or taller.

    More probably it’s related to him liking the woman as a good fit for him.

  11. Badger March 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    “Maybe Andrew3 is just really young and therefore hasn’t thought any deeper than his three criteria.”

    This is highly likely. The “love is enough and God will take care of the rest” philosophy is nuts.

    “She wants to marry me” sounds insufferably pedestalizing and betafied. Sure you want your wife to want to be with you, but he’s giving her all the choice in the matter.

    Anyone else bothered by Gosselin’s treatment of the Holy Spirit as some kind of a psychic hotline? What about all the women who wind up with bad or mismatched husbands? Was the Holy Spirit on coffee break?

  12. Badger March 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm #


    In his defense, point #2 sounds like he’s keeping an open mind about compatibility. Men aren’t the ones with long checklists. Generally speaking, if she’s pleasant to be around and look at, a guy can and will adapt to her particulars.

  13. Wayfinder March 30, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Anyone else bothered by Gosselin’s treatment of the Holy Spirit as some kind of a psychic hotline? What about all the women who wind up with bad or mismatched husbands? Was the Holy Spirit on coffee break?

    The cop-out answer is to say that they weren’t really listening. The real answer is that they’re mistaking the confluence of Alpha/Attraction and Beta/Attachment as a sign from God.

  14. Aunt Haley March 31, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    I don’t doubt that Suzanne Gosselin did feel the Holy Spirit telling her that Kevin was the one she should stand by for the rest of her life. I just wonder if she would have heard the Holy Spirit as clearly if Kevin had been in the middle of a beta moment instead. Maybe that’s why the Holy Spirit mainly speaks on these matters during alpha moments.

  15. Hermes March 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Ted Slater, is that you?

    Well, I’ve got the still-unmarried-at-age-34 thing down. Now, if I could just get a handle on the marry-a-23-year-old thing… I could make a writing career out of telling twentysomething men they have a moral obligation to settle.

  16. MW March 31, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    “Maybe that’s why the Holy Spirit mainly speaks on these matters during alpha moments.”

    And only to Boundless columnists. and commenters. Oh, only those that agree with the columnists whose column they’re commenting on.

    I wonder if the Holy Spirit spoke to every Christian woman being courted to convince them that boysuitorfriend was the one they were to marry. What if they weren’t listening? And married him later or sooner than Spiritually advised?

  17. Dan in Philly April 1, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    As I reflect on my own choice for lifemate (at 17!) which neither of my parents were wise enough to attempt to disuade me of, and how my life has progressed since then, and my second wife I choose at 35, and on my 4 kids today, I conclude that the very very best way to choose a spouse is to have one’s parents choose for oneself, unless one is at least 30.

    Which means generally women should depend on mom and dad to pick, or at the very least have veto power over her pick, her spouse. Men should not marry before 30 or if they do, they should provide their parents with the same deference.

    Call me any names you will, but I am quite confident that if modern society encouraged this, there would be far fewer divorces and far fewer unhappy marriages than there are today.

  18. Charles Martel April 1, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    Haley, I believe a good argument could be made that most of the popular ideas about divine guidance amount to – in many cases – violations of the second commandment:

    “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

    Isn’t it interesting how easily desire aligns itself with the Divine Will when it’s convenient? For some people, the Lord works in mysterious ways! At least it appears that way to everyone else, until the obvious motivations come out, “God’s will” notwithstanding.

  19. CSPB April 1, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    How does a the rationalization hamster factor into determining whether it is the Holy Spirit talking or merely “tingles?”

    Maybe the Holy Spirit talks through tingles during the alpha moments.

  20. Aunt Haley April 1, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    The Boundless crew would probably say that it’s the Holy Spirit and not the hamster if your friends, family, and esteemed mentors agree. If you don’t get corroboration, then it’s the hamster.

    But I have yet to read a testimonial of how a woman decided a certain man was the one for her when he was in the middle of being a superbeta. Then again, how many men feel the Holy Spirit telling them to marry fat chicks?

  21. Dan in Philly April 1, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Tante, I happen to have a very strong belief that the Holy Spirit is tricky, and sometimes leads us around without our knowing it. The key, I think, it to accept that once the marriage has taken place you should accept the man or woman you are married to as the one God picked by hand, even if you have that “Oh no! I married the wrong man for the wrong reasons!” feeling.

    God has an incredible ability to take our mistakes and turn them into His good. As Joseph said to his brothers, what you have meant for evil, God has meant for good. So maybe you married your man because you went clubbing with him and got drunk and then pregnant. I think no one would disagree that’s not a good beginning. However it is through total acceptance that however it happened, this is the man God gave you that he becomes the husband for you, and only through that.

    Too much is made of choosing the spouse you think God has (had) in mind, and not enough in accepting the one you ended up with.

  22. CSPB April 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Haley, I like your humor!

  23. Annie April 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Hey, I feel like we moved on from this, but I read #2 as a circuitous way of saying he wanted to find her sexually attractive. So, “I can imagine her bearing my children through the method designed by God at the beginning of creation. (Genesis 4:1)” wherein we find the original text being “Adam lay with his wife…”

    Just me?

  24. Annie April 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    (Why he didn’t just SAY that is up-for-grabs, but…)

    And, well, “Duh”, to #3… Yet, something about that statement lacks self-esteem the way it is worded.

  25. jack April 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    …pole-danced not for Jesus?

    One of the funniest comments ever.

  26. Hermes April 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    3. She wants to marry me.

    I have to comment on this one. As Badger said, it sounds insufferably pedestalizing and betafied. But I know where this guy is coming from. Say, 5 years ago, before I learned about game, before I started med school, when I was still living in a liberal secular Northeastern city where conservative Christian girls were few and far between, I used to express the same sentiment. Whenver Boundless would run some article excoriating men for not asking women out, and claiming that men were enjoying an “adultescence” of lying around their parents’ basements unshaven and playing video games until age 30, I would be utterly perplexed. I would post comments saying “where is this happening? You people are claiming that men are lustful and want sex; well, why would a guy turn down the opportunity to have sex in favor of video games?” I thought Boundless was pegging men wrong, but to the extent that such men did exist, I thought I’d be happy to trade places with them and ask out one of these available young ladies (wherever they were) so I could get married and have sex.

    A guy in that position thinks “she wants to marry me” is good enough. Andrew3 probably feels he has been told his whole life that women just want to get married and pop out babies, and are flattered when a guy is interested in them, and that feeling of being flattered is enough to make her attracted to him. He probably think girls would think it’s a good thing that he’s not picky, and will be more likely to want to get with him knowing that about him. He probably thinks he’s playing the “good guy” role to people like the Boundless staff–he’s being the guy who goes against the grain, proving that Not All Men Are Like That, and he will be rewarded for it.

  27. Aunt Haley April 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    You’re definitely on to something, but I think the Boundless crew would explain away the video games in the basement thing as “well, men want sex, but getting it is too much work, whereas video games are easy fun.” So even though men are ravaged with unfulfilled desires from their sex drives, they’re just too darn lazy to do anything about it. Which is even worse than being horny and indiscriminately hitting on women.

  28. Hermes April 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    I don’t know, you may be right, but I always thought part of the Boundless refrain was that it’s not too much work, it’s quite easy. They always seemed to be implying that Christian girls were so desperate to get married and have babies that all a guy had to do was announce his willingness to step into the role. They seemed to think that if one of these basement-dwellers just shaved, put on a freshly pressed shirt, went up to any girl in church and said “hi, would you like to go out with me?” then the rest would happen automatically. Half a dozen dinner dates, a concert, a trip to the zoo, and a Sunday afternoon with her family later, and she’d be dying for him to get down on one knee and pop the question.

  29. Hana April 4, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    I find Boundless funny, because I’m sure all their statements about video-game-playing men never reach their intended audience (if that audience even exists). All the commenters on their blog, male and female, seem to be eager for marriage. For some reason, though, Boundless seems to write only from the female perspective. It portrays women as desperate to get married and have babies – but rarely takes the perspective of the male readers who really want marriage/sex.

    Plus, it’s true that even the most marriage-eager girls won’t necessarily accept a date from any guy who asks them out. Girls just want to get asked out on more dates so they can have more choices – even if it means rejecting some of those choices.

  30. rob April 5, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    Number 2 is oddly specific. Is there some evangelical IVF scare going around that I’m not aware of, or is he just phrasing it weirdly?

    I think it’s code for young enough that she can get preggers without IVF, and won’t need amniocentesis. Saying “I’m only looking for someone 21-28 (or whatever limits) is likely to turn off women in that age range; sort of like women tell men with great hair that baldness doesn’t bother them: it looks less shallow.

  31. Aunt Haley April 5, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Hermes and Hana–
    Boundless advice fails most of the time because they don’t acknowledge the alpha/beta divide (for both men and women). So they end up tying themselves in knots trying to give “one size fits all” advice and gnashing their teeth at why it doesn’t take better.

    Hana, I think the majority of the Boundless audience is female. If they focused more on the male side, they’d have to write about how much guys want sex, which would be upsetting to their female readers and Not Appropriate for Christian audiences.

  32. Hermes April 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Boundless advice fails most of the time because they don’t acknowledge the alpha/beta divide (for both men and women).

    Interesting. I'd never thought of it that way before. To the extent that that's true, I'd specify that they don't just fail to acknowledge the divide, they fail to acknowledge the existence of beta males and alpha females. They treat all men as alphas and all women as betas. That is, they think that all men have a dozen different hot girls interested in them any of whom they could marry as soon as they said the word, and that all women are so desperate that they would accept any interest from any half-decent guy just so they could finally HAVE A BOYFRIEND OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE LIL' OL' ME ACTUALLY HAS A BOYFRIEND!

  33. Hermes April 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Once again I am defeated by the mighty blockquote.

    [AH: Fixed that for ya.]

  34. Jennifer August 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    You are very bad. And very funny.

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