A quote I read recently attributed to Laura Boyle made some things click for me.
Control and intimacy are opposites. I can have one or the other, not both.
This quote clarified how Dr. David Schnarch’s articles People Have Sex Within The Limits of Their Development, People Who Can’t Control Themselves Control The People Around Them and People Who Can’t Control Themselves Control The People Around Them Part 2 are interrelated. When the intimacy your spouse is suggesting is beyond your development you seek to control them or, as a friend so succinctly put it, “Controlling others controls the terms of the relationship. People can only be intimate as far as their personal freedom (development) allows.”
I like that my friend used the word “freedom” because that’s really what we’re talking about. Are you free to be completely intimate or are you in bondage to your own anxieties about being completely intimate?
When people can’t modulate their own anxieties and insecurities, one partner’s options and priorities are sacrificed on the alter of the other’s fears, whether those options are a new baby, a new job, or new sexual behavior.
~Dr. David Schnarch
This is what makes personal growth so important. When we choose to hang onto our insecurities and anxieties we’re not only placing ourselves in bondage we are also placing our spouse and our marriage into that same bondage.
Now, the really important part. IF people are intimate to the level of their development and IF people who cannot control themselves control those around them, where does that leave their intimacy with God? How are they controlling God? What deception are they hanging onto to justify their lack of intimate development with their spouse, their family, their friends but, most importantly, with God?