This Weekend on: What’s the Real Tradition?

I take it as axiomatic that the lives recorded in the Bible are, overall, just like ours; that we can read about their decisions, relate to their circumstances, and think about how to apply that history so that it informs our own decisions. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, or that we always get it right. it doesn’t even mean the people in those histories got it right. It just means we can learn from them.

According to traditionalists (and others): Men are supposed to chase, and women are supposed to be caught. Or they might say: Men are to initiate, and women are to respond. Imagine a party. There are single men and women. The traditionalist wants the men to pick a woman, and then woo her. Then he (the trad) wants her to respond with a Yes, or No, or Show me more. That traditional mating ritual is wrong and foolish. Roissy/Heartiste’s maxim that “Men display, women choose” is much more true. Go to a party and see for yourself.

The traditionalist might counter, “Well, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. A real man pursues what he wants.” I say that is half-assed crossdressing. It is the man acting like a woman while the woman smirks and presides.

If you fancy yourself a traditionalist and disagree, then here is an exercise for you: Search your Bible for a story about a man who woos a woman directly. If it’s traditional it should be easy to do, right? If or when you find it put it in the comments and let’s see how that story plays out, and how it compares to the others. Let us discover what is the real tradition.



24 thoughts on “This Weekend on: What’s the Real Tradition?

  1. I’ll be curious to see how this thread plays out.

    I noticed something right about the tone I started the courtship website.

    There is no such thing as a boyfriend/girlfriend in the Bible.

    Depending on what hermeneutic you subscribe to, this can be interpreted a bunch of different ways.

    Theoretically it should be way less complicated for Orthodox Christians to wed through. (Since tradition is kind of our whole thing).

  2. As one of the self-described Traditionalists around these parts, you won’t find me hewing to that particular party line. It is a cultural artifact. It is part of some ego-based attachment to a past that never was.

    As for who “pursues”, well, I have heard stories of both. I have met married couples where one or the other applied. But my gut says that Men Display, Women Choose is applicable the majority of the time.

  3. Pursuing a woman used to mean that you had to convince her father. Her opinion in the matter wasn’t all that important or it was assumed to reflect her father’s will.

    The modern way of trying to appeal to women directly and independently is however a waste of time. Anything that is based upon women’s choice is just going to turn into a vanity show, where men are going try and one up each other in unsustainable ‘alphatude’.

  4. @MNM & DG

    I think the thing is to not be personally attached to the label. Always tell the truth. Always do what you believe is best. Never leave your foundations. Know what your foundations are! Others will judge whether we are traditional, or not.

    Of course there are many truths said in the past which are ignored or forgotten today. And there are many tools which were used in the past which are still helpful today. Language itself is a tradition, and I love me some English.


    Her opinion in the matter wasn’t all that important or it was assumed to reflect her father’s will.

    I think that it was also assumed she’d come around.

  5. Lots of harm has stemmed from the woman-as-responder template, not the least of which is the painfully obvious way it shields women from being responsible for anything at all. That template is represented as being traditional, and people make the common mistake of necessarily equating traditional with good.

    How’s that workin’?

  6. The Churches are even making it difficult for men to advocate for the welfare of children.

    There are powerful forces in our society arrayed against men holding women accountable when they act selfishly.

  7. My understanding is that it was the Christian teaching that led to – in Europe, anyway – the idea that the woman’s consent was important… Not that she chose, but that she could reject her father’s choice.
    The consequences of that rejection may not have met with moderns’ idea of a free choice, but practice needs to be distinguished from principle.

    I think of myself as a Conservative, rather than a traditionalist. That is, I neither keep tradition for the sake of tradition, not reject tradition for the sake of change. What it means is that I value past experience, and do not reject traditions that work , without good reason.

    We are rarely the first , or even the second, to face any really new set of circumstances.

  8. @PeterW

    My understanding is that it was the Christian teaching that led to – in Europe, anyway – the idea that the woman’s consent was important… Not that she chose, but that she could reject her father’s choice.

    I believe this is right; both that her consent is important and that it was Christian teaching which informed the ideas about her consent. I think a strident interpretation of St. Paul’s instructions to the Church in Corinth could argue against her right to dissent, but I don’t buy that.

    However; I can’t think of, or find, a single instance in the Bible where the man woos a woman to be his wife; at least not to good effect. Wooing seems to come after betrothal/engagement.

  9. It might have been the Catholic teaching that informed the West. It has been taken as a given for a long time, not just Vat II era, that the man and the woman are both equal ministers of the sacrament of marriage. How Prots dealt with this after tossing out sacraments, I don’t know…but it is an odd thing when you compare the older Catholic marriage rites to the Protestant ones. There is no giving the woman away, they come down the isle together.

    Granted in the US, marriages in Catholic churches have been Protestant-ized and Hollywood-ized for decades now, so experience may not have shown the differences. For example, My own marriage was done the old way and many of my fellow Catholics were thrown off by it, and further confused when the priest explained we had done it the right way (he’s foreign, so his English translations are sometimes off in the nuance department).

    As to Scriptural romances, depends on if you count the book of Tobit or not (Tobias and Sarah). If no, then only Jacob and Rachel come to mind in the he pursues her model.

    I still think, overall, Heartiste (and Baumeister too) is right. The best way a man can “pursue” is to demonstrate that he is the best and therefore he is the forgone conclusion to a woman’s mate choice.

  10. @ Durandel Almiras says:
    April 10, 2017 at 12:31 am

    “… only Jacob and Rachel come to mind in the he pursues her model.”

    The challenge was “Search your Bible for a story about a man who woos a woman directly.” Jacob did not woo Rachel directly. He asked her father to giver her to him as a wife.

  11. @ PeterW

    If I remember correctly:

    1. Jewish tradition where the parents set things up (hence, father approval)
    2. The woman could reject her parents choices… but only after she had met the man a few times and gotten to know him better.

    Assuming the man was in any way half decent, she would usually choose him otherwise she would be living at home for a long time.

    Of course, I’m running off of memory so I might be a little off.

  12. this is kinda trick question. On the one hand were women in the Bible usually (except Ruth) in the passive role on the other hand man didn’t really woo women in anyway but sometimes did work in some way to get them (Jacob, David)

  13. @PotE

    Long time no see! Welcome back.

    this is kinda trick question.

    No, it’s not tricky. The only acceptable mating method today is to woo the woman. It’s very different from “the old ways” which do not speak of it.That’s the point of my post.

  14. As a life long Protestant I have never seen a bride and groom walk each other down the isle unless it was a second marriage. The bride has always found someone to give her away even when her father is in the ground

  15. Pingback: A challenge to traditionalists. | Dalrock

  16. Men display and women choose.

    But at the same time, the dance is pursuit and predation, conquest and surrender.

    Which is close to chase and capture, though considerably less close to woo and be wooed, and not very close at all to men initiate, and women respond.

    I display, and a woman gives me an opportunity to grab her and drag her off to my cave. Inconveniently for both of us,grabbing women and dragging them off to one’s cave is now illegal.

    Note, however, that in the old testament, it is not abducting a single woman that is illegal. It is abducting her and then letting her go.

  17. Pingback: Is it the man’s responsibility to pursue the woman, or the other way around? | WINTERY KNIGHT

  18. Pingback: Models of Courtship and Marital Structure | Σ Frame

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