Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How Women Destroy Intimacy in Marriage

As I wrote about yesterday, a woman's battle is with her trying to control her husband. Ken commented on my post from last week the following about this issue when asked how I tried controlling him in regards to eating ~

Lori was raised to eat organic, eat lots of fruits and vegies, and avoid all preservatives. Then she married a junk food junkie who would have been happy with a salad a week, steak and potatoes, pizza and a Big Mac for all dinners. So the clash over food was inevitable, but it went from many discussions to an attempt to control after we got marriage. 

I now eat a steady diet of a huge organic salad with chicken on top almost every day when at home and have given up 90% of the sugary foods I once loved eating since I found organic cocoa protein shakes with banana and stevia. To me, it tastes like ice cream. If Lori had her way, I would be eating 50% less shakes and more "real food" but we no longer clash over it, and I no longer feel guilty. Health is important and one has to find balance to live life well. 

The main issue I got from Lori's desire to control is that I rarely was able to feel good in my own skin, or my own home. I could always read her disappointment with me on her face and lips. I am sure it is subconscious for most men and women that when their spouse does not act or do what they think is right they consciously or subconsciously punish them with their mood. It doesn't have to be a mean mood to punish. Just not smiling or as joyful as much, or a frown, or a stare in the other direction and your spouse gets the point. 

"I am not happy with you right now, so I can't be warm and joyful around you. Look what you do to me when you behave in a way that I do not like. You make me feel badly and it hurts our relationship." 

I am sure this is how many spouses feel when they put on their moods or give out snide remarks. "It's your fault that YOU are making me feel this way and I'm no longer in a good mood. How do you expect me to give you great sex if you keep doing this to me?" 

What most people do not know until they grow up, {and yes, most men and women have still not grown up}, is that the only person you can control is yourself. Not only can't you control another person, it almost always backfires in ways that you might never suspect. Even if you get your way you do not win the husband over, because he may capitulate to your ways, but his spirit is not in communion with you. You have won the battle but are losing the relationship you really want to have. You keep asking, as Lori did for many years, "Why can't we have an intimate relationship!?!" 

I have always been 100% committed to our marriage with a strong desire for true heartfelt intimacy with my wife. But what I have discovered is that the more I would move her way in doing things, the more the target would move to a higher level of needs, desires, feelings and control. It got to a point where I realized I cannot please this women by living life her way. It was not until I threw off the shackles of trying to please my wife, and instead began to tell her "no" I am going to go play golf now... or "no" I am going to eat this burger now, that I began to feel good about my life and stop walking on eggshells in my own home. To realize that I cannot control her, and if she wants to be upset over a burger, then so be it. Let it not rob my joy. 

The interesting thing I have seen is that true intimacy cannot flourish apart from vulnerability, and vulnerably is the opposite of control. It is when we give up control to our heavenly Father and rest on His desires in our life that we draw near to him, and trust Him, and walk by faith in the Spirit. When we try to control our own lives and the people around us what we are really doing is say I lack faith in you, both your spouse and God. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying never have any boundaries, or set any boundaries with your spouse as one big blog is advocating today. No, there are times, but should be very few in a Christian marriage, when a spouse can and should set boundaries, but almost all of these should be related to abuse or sin, not ordinary life. If your spouse is involved in something abusive, only then should protections go up, and a realization that with every boundary comes less of a chance of winning your spouse back, or finding true intimacy.  

Just remember that control always requires more control to stay in control, and the one you are controlling may behave more like you want them to, but will give less and less of their heart away to you. Why? Because love is a choice and if I do something for my wife because of her mood and control, we both lose out on the opportunity toward true intimacy. I know how she feels and thinks after the second or third time she has said it. To go beyond that is to try to get her way, to manipulate, to control.

What most wives do not understand is what they long for most is intimacy, and yet they go about the opposite way with control instead of vulnerability. Giving yourself over to your spouse to allow him to lead you places the responsibility where it belongs, takes the burden off his shoulders that he always has to please or he is going to pay for it with an unhappy wife, and puts the responsibility of love on his shoulders to realize that this joyful, smiling, content, vulnerable wife of his is his responsibility to both lead and love as Christ loves the church. 

The sins of the garden are many in the one act of eating the apple and these sins play themselves out over and over again in far too many Christian marriages. The main sin was selfishness and wanting to be in control over what God had clearly spoken. Eve usurps Adam's authority, Adam usurps God's authority, and all of mankind is plunged into a vicious cycle of sin, wanting to be in control. True faith and intimacy go hand in hand for both your relationship with your spouse and our God. The more you try to control either one of them the further intimacy is pushed away, all because of a lack of trust. 

If you don't love me enough to trust me and to let me live my own life, then do you really love me? Or do you simply love yourself more and want to protect that love of self by using control? Selfishness is self seeking and love seeks the best interest of another in good times and in bad, and until death do us part.

Love...does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own,
 is not easily provoked, thinks no evil.
I Corinthians 13:5