David Bayly’s Ideas on Courtship and Marriage as a Battle until His Bride Surrenders


David Bayly’s ideas on courtship and marriage as a battle and raging war of a man against his virgin bride to be conquered until she surrenders, similar to Doug Wilson


This men-conquering-women-thang really gets my goat.  What is up with that?  Ok, thanks to Cindy, I found an old blog post by Bayly Brothers and it sure seems they are in bed with Doug Wilson as far as conquering women goes.

Ok, first the title:

Wooing as warfare, part 1…



photo credit: [martin] via photopin cc


First, a question to the single ladies who want to be married:  does this title sound appealing to you?  ::::gag::::

Do these guys think their words are palatable to common mankind?  Do they even care?

David Bayly begins the article with a quote from Proverbs 30:18-19 using the ESV translation, no surprises there.  This is the complementarian-preferred translation.  Beneath the ESV excerpt, I have included the last line of Verse 19 in other translations for comparison.


Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a virgin.


Other translations:

and the way of a man with a maid. (KJV, special for Ed)

And the way of a man with a maid. (NAS)

And the way of a man with a virgin. (NKJV)

how a man loves a woman. (NLT)

and the way of a man with a young woman. (NIV)


The gist of the article is:  wooing as warfare.  The proverb talks about three wonderful things and another of which the writer does not understand.  I am not clear that the Proverb’s focus on the wooing of a man with a virgin/made/young woman is war or battle, yet this is the focus of David Bayly’s article.

(David) The way of a man with a woman is one of life’s great mysteries. From every perspective the process is mysterious, resembling a blindfolded sabre dance on uneven ground.


Did he just say Sabre Dance?



“Uneven ground”  – beside the obvious that uneven ground implies there is going to be a battle of sorts as one tries to get equal footing, I also wondered if the “uneven” words also refers to the uneven roles as in complementarianism/patriarchy?  Continuing. . .

The young man who pursues marriage enters a foreign land where he wages war. On the hinges of that battle lie happiness or shame.

Holy cow.  I’m sending my daughters the following text right now to warn them about men who think like this:


To My Dear Daughters:  Be on the look out for weapons on your prospective suitors.  While you are looking for love, some men are looking for war.  Check all pockets for concealed weapons.  

love, Yo Mama (yes, that’s the lingo we use)


There’s more:

But though a potential bride may be deeply loved, she’s also at some level the foe. To achieve victory the young man must not only win her, he must defeat her and her family, snatching her from their bosom, converting her to himself, breaking her natural bonds with father and mother, brother and sister, nurse and friend, dog and home.  (woof, woof, ja adds)

Folks, there’s nothing gentle, kind, and loving about the relationship he’s describing.  As he himself says:

There’s little that’s tender about it. At funerals we cloak harsh reality in kind words and soft colors. So too, at weddings soft words and vibrant colors disguise a bloody truth. The wedding ceremony is really a mini-Versailles, an Appomattox-in-a-nutshell of capitulation and triumph, the surrender of one woman to one man, the victory song of groom over both bride and family.

Holy Moly – – marrieds, was your wedding like this?  I know there can be family feuds, but wow – this guy is over the top (OTT).  And there’s that surrender (Doug Wilson lingo) word.  ick

Interestingly, Mr. Bayly does not seem keen on modern courtship as it pertains to this “wooing war.”  He implies that it’s too safe and controlled and will likely cause problems:

The modern courtship movement is in many ways a doomed attempt to render the wooing process conflict free. It seeks to keep temptation at bay. It seeks to manage the relationship of potential groom to potential bride. It provides forms which guide the man’s approach not only to his potential bride, but to her family. It is, in a word, safe.

And then he goes on to discuss why courtship is not so good.  Please note the similar language that both he and Doug Wilson use:

And for that very reason it is ultimately dangerous, because marriage is not safe, and the wooing which leads to marriage is not safe. It is war, and the quicker our children understand this the better. It is war against sin. It is the breaking of families and established orders. It is secession and union all in one, penetration and insemination, not merely lacy ruffles and Pachelbel canons but velvet-gloved violence. All this courtship conceals. But it will out—in marriage if not before.

As I was going over warrior pictures, I found one that made me consider that ladies might re-question that whole warrior battle idea.  I don’t want to ever come across in a way that doesn’t allow people to see both sides, so here ya go:



photo credit: SiamEye via photopin cc

This might work for some.  (Just thinking out loud here . . . of course.)


152 comments on “David Bayly’s Ideas on Courtship and Marriage as a Battle until His Bride Surrenders

  1. JA, I just read this article recently. It explains something weird I saw on some “good, godly, pure” web page somewhere in blogland. It was a posed portrait of a bride carrying a large, ornate sword. I was more than a little mystified at that imagery, but now it makes complete sense.

    A friend of ours was talking with my dad sometime back about how much abuse of members goes on in Fundamental (and other) churches these days and he made the point that if the people wouldn’t sit there and allow it, it wouldn’t happen. I realize that there a lot of people (women especially?) who are brainwashed into thinking this is “normal” and “biblical”, but there is an element of truth there, and I’m beginning to think of it as a sort of spiritual BDSM, if you know what I mean. It’s so strange, and so counter-Christ-like. The Baylys’ warfare wooing fits into that picture in my mind quite well, sadly.

    This article sounds horrible to read it all spelled out in such bold language. There is something more confusing and tragic – seeing it played out in real life. We know a family who had this happen to one of their daughters. They were bamboozled by the guy and his family, but in retrospect I’d say that his tactics sound very much like this. The daughter and her husband and kids now live in the same neighborhood as her parents and some of her other family, but they almost never see her or the kids. In fact, some of them have been told they aren’t welcome at their house except under very specific circumstances. Her husband even “protects” her and the kids from the family dog – no joke. There is no reason for this either. Her family are not “nasty” or ungodly. In fact, it [was] a close-knit, loving Christian family with the usual challenges and happy times. (The dog is kind of icky sometimes…but it’s a dog after all.) The wedding? I won’t even get into that! Painful for her family? Absolutely. Confusing? Yes. Frustrating? That too. Heartbreaking? To say the least. This really does happen, I’m so very sorry to say.

    Not much like my kind and gentle Lord.

    Psalms 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.


  2. I realize that there a lot of people (women especially?) who are brainwashed into thinking this is “normal” and “biblical”, but there is an element of truth there, and I’m beginning to think of it as a sort of spiritual BDSM, if you know what I mean.

    Wow, Mary, that is actually a good way to describe it “spiritual BDSM.” I’m going to stew on that for a while.


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