Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

***Working to be a safe place for all sides to share.***


Monday, February 11, 2008

Questions of Intimacy in Relationship Styles

Of Jonathan's love, David said it was better than "the love of women."

Was that because the intimacy [non-sexual] between David and Jonathan was shared between equals? (The love of women cannot be the love of an equal in a patriarchal society where one has a harem of wives, something complementarians and egalitarians would likely agree with). I would posit further, however, and suggest that when one is under a philosophy of marriage that requires hierarchal relationship, there can be no equal-to-equal intimacy such as shared between Jonathan and David. [Intimacy being described here].

There can be intimacy in heirarchal relationships. A parent and child can have great intimacy---the bond between mother and babe is an excellent example. But it is an intimacy of the sort that a dependant has upon a nurturing leader. It is an intimacy and it is deep, but it is not the deepest kind (and it is not the ideal----rather, it is a transient kind of intimacy. The newborn babe suckling at breast is beautiful, but if the babe grows to be a thirty-four-year-old woman who still wants to drink her mother's milk, the whole world agrees that there is a serious problem with the kind of intimacy being practiced).

In most cases (if not all), the equal-to-equal relationship has the potential of reaching greater depths of true intimacy than relationships between a superior and inferior.

A President and Vice-President can enjoy an intimate relationship, but it can only reach certain levels of intimacy when forged outside of heirarchy. The depth and maturity of a beloved friend-to-friend intimacy [like David and Jonathan's] supercedes that of a parent-to-child intimacy. After all, the hope of the parent is to, one day, grow into that sort of deep friendship with their adult child.

Hence my musing. Can there be a deep intimacy between a husband and wife when the relationship is predicated on heirarchy? Note, this is not to ask whether or not intimacy can exist, because it can and does. Rather, it is a question of degree. When the two cannot relate as equals, can a full and mature intimacy ever be reached (and/or is it even supposed to be)?

I know that the complementarian reader is probably groaning at the computer screen at this very moment, pleading with me to remember that, "Comp's do believe that a husband and wife are equals!" Yet CBMW states,
"The important thing for the wife to know is that she should submit to her
husband "in everything," that is, that her submission is coextensive with all
aspects of their relationship." Recovering Biblical Manhood and
Womanhood, 1995, pg. 170

In a relationship where female submission is coextensive with all aspects of the relationship, can there ever be the deep level of intimacy that can only grow between two equals (like David and Jonathan)? Or is the egalitarian wrong for suggesting that, ideally, such depth of intimacy should be given the freedom to grow at all?