Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Avoiding Love

God calls us to close intimate relationships with others, to love one another, to establish a life partnership with one and cling to them, meaning bonding, attachment or emotional connection.

However, I find that many of us habitually and unconsciously avoid close intimate relationships.  Elsewhere, I have looked at the ways we avoid love: 7 ways or types of of avoiding intimacy.

This means that we will develop habits that allow us (unconsciously) to avoid close intimate relationships (love). These habits are like addictions. They only partially and artificially meet our real need.

Marriage is the institution many persons turn to for love, to meet the God-given need for close, safe, bonding with another.  God created us with the need for faithful love and intimacy and wants us to 'cling' to Him in the same way we develop a bond to a marital partner.  Jesus explains this graphically in John 15.

Marriage is a legal institution but it comes without guarantee of love.  Getting married does not mean that deep connection and bonding develops although it provides a foundation for that - a sense of security and faithfulness.  But if one or both marriage partners habitually, consistently and unconsciously avoid close intimate relationships, then whatever bond God provides is being put asunder by these 'love avoidant' partners.

It is likely that most partners who avoid intimacy are not even aware that they are doing it.  It is unconscious - a heart condition.  (I use the term 'heart' as the biblical-psychological term for the emotional brain.)  It is their heart - based on past memories - that systematically avoids having a close intimate relationship with their marital  partner. Bonding in such a marriage will weaken. The marriage bond eventually becomes strained and will break.  At that point the emotional and spiritual basis of this marriage is gone.

There may be other reasons to stay married but it will not feel like you are married if the bonding has broken.   Counselors call this state 'silent divorce.'

A couple may want to get professional help.  Here I suggest a marital therapist with skill in bonding focused couple therapy officially called emotionally focused couple therapy.

Some people will choose to stay in a marriage as a way to escape from real intimate relationship.  For such persons a silent divorce with a safe partner has many attractions.  Such a marriage will provide us with some companionship (so we are not alone), safety (another lives with us), the status of being married (how things look) and all without requiring the risk of love, the vulnerability of intimacy.

(Warning note: the persons who strongly choose intimacy avoidance can and do become nasty and destructive when you 'disturb their nest.'  Consolidate family, business and church relationships be frank and open discussion and 'heads up notices' because you will see the demonic side of person (as in "hell has no fury") emerge and attack, undermine and try to destroy everything in your life if you insist on change.  Prepare for what John Sandford might have called 'the attack of the Shrike.')

There is a hidden cost to such a relationship.  You are becoming too comfortable with pretense and living in denial.  You are not experiencing the fullness of love, the uplifting, affirming, comforting, and heart healing of being in a love relationship with a safe partner.  You are not facing your own heart issues and maturing in Christ.  You will drift away from life, love and God into death, sickness and hell, to put it bluntly.

For more about marriage addiction and our avoidance of the love bond see and

An example:

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At 11:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really interesting to me as I am looking at issues in my marriage. I am interested in learning more about the reasons people avoid intimacy, and wondering about the "people pleaser" idea. I think that may apply to me, that maybe I try to keep the peace and avoid conflict and in turn am not honest about my feelings and end up feeling resentful and cut off in my relationship. Just trying to sort it out...and come up with some way to address it.

At 1:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is definitely my ex boyfriend all over
Though i considered him to be a nassistic person
I believe he is very evil with no boundries
I dont understand why he plays mind games but says he wants a life with me and our baby boy
I really tried my best but feel as if this curse has gone too far
I feel as if we failed our son before he even started life - im just so lost at what to do as he
Stalks my house, has viciously slandered me on facebook, lied to his lawyer that i bash my children but then asked me to go on a holiday with him as a family theres just too much more to even believe the extent and ordasity him
Its more disrespectful and evil then you could ever think of.


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