Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

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Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby King Charming » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:33 pm

The other thread we have on Intimacy & Desire anticipated the arrival of the book. A few of us have gotten our hands on it and started reading. Please share what you are learning.
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby KyWildcat » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:44 pm

If you've got the book and have read or are reading chime in just to let us know that you've got the book and have read or are reading it.

Thanks!
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby King Charming » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:52 pm

I'll start. The number of things that Schnarch pegs me and my DW on are startling. I have two high-level takeaways that I can offer without running to find my copy and quoting gratuitously.

The first is that you can't solve your problems with sex by avoiding sex. There are many, many ways to avoid sexual issues and many of them seem like legitimate approaches to solving problems. Backing off to give a lower drive spouse some space seems like an altruistic and helpful thing to do. On a short term basis, it might be helpful. But what happens more often than not, I think, is that it becomes a tactic by which sex is avoided. A lower drive spouse can effectively stonewall with a routine plea for "space."

My action in response to this has been to seek sex whenever I feel like it. I had backed off several different ways to the point where we just didn't have sex unless DW initiated it, which she did infrequently. I found this a difficult way to live because I was constantly trying to avoid letting my thoughts proceed in directions that would want to have sex. I had to maintain an emotional distance and coldness to keep things bottled up. I still have to measure my responses and be on guard for emotionally disruptive attitudes, but on the whole, it seems to be better for us both not to pretend like I'm not interested.

The second piece is tied up in the Four Points of Balance and I summarize it by reminding myself that "I'm better than that." I think I used to be more solid and differentiated many years ago, but my DW's rejection whittled away at my confidence -- because I allowed it. Schnarch somehow inspires me to take the pain and trouble of being the better functioning partner in a relationship in stride. It may be a honeymoon phase with the shiny new concepts, but I really feel like I've reconnected with a better me that has been running scared for a long time. There's a lot of value in the Four Points of Balance outside of the bedroom. My DW frets a lot over work and personal relationships. I think that she would benefit a lot from understanding and integrating the Four Points of Balance into her psyche. If I can just get her to start reading the book...
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:55 pm

It's official: ::news I'm certifiable.

I had to read the section on mind mapping three times to understand that it is the pivot on which my life revolves. The IRL example would be that I have done meet-ups with friends on a hobby board. Some people have a technique about figuring out who everyone is. I don't need a technique. I know. Instantly. I had only been a forum member for a few months and knew two people in the group when I was invited to my first meeting. We met in a mall, so I sat on a bench and waited for everyone to get there. As they walked by, I thought, "There's So-and-So, and that's Thingamagig." I knew each person before I was actually introduced. It's almost creepy. I have some strong discernment gifts, so this has never been an area of concern for me. I just know things.

Add to this the fact that I am not the first one you'll notice when you come into the room. I have taken being a wallflower to a whole new level. It's like I put on the magic ring and disappear. I used to say I live life on the fringes, knowing full well it was a way to avoid relationships. I can stand on the perimeter and read a room like nobody's business.

My small group called me on this last winter. One of the members wanted us all together for her birthday. I almost never go to social gatherings, but I couldn't wiggle out of this one. There was one group member and the sister of the birthday person who were not safe. One I knew beforehand, and I knew the other one as soon as she walked in the door. It was amazing how I reverted to type. I tend to rise to leadership wherever I go, so I'm a pretty strong presence in group. But at the next meeting after the birthday, one of the women said, "Leah, I was surprised at how quiet you were at the party." And in typical fashion, I managed to blow it off. "Who, me? The coversation was just so interesting."

Explains a lot, doesn't it? I'm going to have to process this a little more as life takes place. I need to be more aware of where the actual boundary is between the spiritual and the dysfunctional.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby King Charming » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:03 pm

Leah in Music City wrote:I have some strong discernment gifts, so this has never been an area of concern for me. I just know things.


My wife is kind of like that. I learned early on to pay attention to her instincts and discernment. I've come to realize that she's a major tracker. She strives for consensus and harmony and she's a pleaser. It's always baffled me how she could be a people pleaser and not be playing that out in TMB -- though I now realize it would be an expression of dysfunctionality were she to do that. The key is that she's trying to keep everybody happy so that attention never focuses on her. When it comes right down to a close -- very close -- personal relationship, there's nowhere to hide. There's no one else to bring into the consensus. It becomes a terrifying do or die situation for her because it's suddenly and unavoidably all about her. And the sad part of it is that she's otherwise awesome if she could just get out of her own way.
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:10 pm

What I have learned over the last four years is that I have to make some choices and be willing to receive something from the other person if I plan to be in a relationship of any kind.

I have always been awesome to know. I have discerment, understanding, and a good command and recall of Scripture. You come to me with a problem, I will always have a word. I can give until the cows come home, but it is very hard to be open enough to receive. I rarely make demands in a relationship, so you will always be happy, but I will almost always feel the lack.

Hence, the pain in my marriage. I have always been there for my husband. He has rarely been there for me.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby sweetangel » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:13 pm

I thought that was just something I did Leah. I know things sometimes before people speak them.lol
Even when its tough and you dont think you can go on anymore.... you always have some left.
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:21 pm

sweetangel wrote:I thought that was just something I did Leah. I know things sometimes before people speak them.lol


I don't even have to be with them in person. One night we were watching one of the shows like 20/20 or Dateline. They were doing a story about a woman. As they cut to commercial, I looked at my husband and said, "Don't be surprised when the next thing she says is....." When they came back and she said it, my husband turned pale and didn't speak for a few minutes.

I'm so good at it, that when I say something before the fact and the person on TV repeats it, I just turn and say, "See? I told them to say that."
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby hubbyforher » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:34 pm

Leah in Music City wrote:I knew each person before I was actually introduced. It's almost creepy. I have some strong discernment gifts, so this has never been an area of concern for me. I just know things.


Leah, what do you know of me from my posts? I honestly would like to know and wonder what picture my posts have painted.

Discernment is very much a gift. My father has it, and he has, at times, lamented the fact that he has the gift. He's often told me that he wish he didn't "know." (PS, as you can guess, I didn't get away with much as a kid, LOL)
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:53 pm

hubbyforher wrote:
Leah in Music City wrote:I knew each person before I was actually introduced. It's almost creepy. I have some strong discernment gifts, so this has never been an area of concern for me. I just know things.


Leah, what do you know of me from my posts? I honestly would like to know and wonder what picture my posts have painted.


I said I know things. I didn't say I know everything. :wink:

I don't want to blow your cover. 8)

My fictional alter ego would be Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.
Leah

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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby King Charming » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:23 pm

Leah in Music City wrote:I'm so good at it, that when I say something before the fact and the person on TV repeats it, I just turn and say, "See? I told them to say that."


I dated a girl who claimed to be psychic. She said she could predict the next song on the radio and make teachers drop their chalk. She was apparently quite good at reading me as she predicted and intercepted me once in an interaction with my brother. That freaked me out a bit.

I think there's some research that supports the idea that children from dysfunctional families, especially those with alcoholic parents, develop very good tracking abilities because they have to try to stay one step ahead of a very unpredictable person. The mother of this girl I dated was a shrew. She has subsequently had her therapy in which her mother was identified as one who "eats her young."

One thing that Schnarch seems to hit on repeatedly in his therapy vignettes is troubles with the family of origin. In my own case, I know a lot of my DW's pleaser tendencies come from perfectionistic parents, especially her dad. He's a "your entitled to your wrong opinion" kind of guy.
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:08 pm

Today is probably the only chance I will have to read at length for several days. One of the things I have been thinking about are the Four Points of Balance. I think I have always had a Meaningful Endurance. Boundaries initially helped me on Grounded Responding, and I have been working through Solid Flexible Self. I didn't call them that, but the structures are either a part of my character to begin with, or they were moving into place because I have been working on healing and personal growth.

What I haven't had is the Quiet Mind--Calm Heart. Part of the reason stems from a lot of unresolved grief from childhood loss and grieving what I never have had in my marriage. The grief is happening and I am receiving healing. I also have quite a bit of anger from the lack of freedom in my life and the way so much loss was forced on me. I'm working through that, slowly, but surely.

But I have been blowing off a lot of it and not treating it with the deliberation I typically show in the rest of my life. When I look at the Quiet Mind--Calm Heart in the light of 1 Peter 3, I can see I need to get with the program. I'm rather plain and placid in my countenance, so the lack of Quiet Mind--Calm Heart is something I can easily hide. I am able to give the appearance of calmness and quietness, but I do not actually have those qualities. With the help of good friends, I have been able to resolve a lot of the grief and anger, so now I have to exercise diligence in the area of Quiet Mind--Calm Heart.

Because I embraced the writing of Drs. Cloud and Townsend before I read Dr. Schnarch, it is not hard to see the Four Points of Balance as the cornerposts of my boundaries.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby King Charming » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:22 pm

Leah in Music City wrote:Because I embraced the writing of Drs. Cloud and Townsend before I read Dr. Schnarch, it is not hard to see the Four Points of Balance as the cornerposts of my boundaries.


I see a lot of psychological concepts repackaged in Schnarch's Four Points of Balance too. In some ways, Schnarch is retreading some basic psychology, but I think his application of it to the sexual relationship is pretty revolutionary.
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:57 pm

King Charming wrote:
Leah in Music City wrote:Because I embraced the writing of Drs. Cloud and Townsend before I read Dr. Schnarch, it is not hard to see the Four Points of Balance as the cornerposts of my boundaries.


I see a lot of psychological concepts repackaged in Schnarch's Four Points of Balance too. In some ways, Schnarch is retreading some basic psychology, but I think his application of it to the sexual relationship is pretty revolutionary.


I look at it as Boundaries with a focus.
Leah

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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby King Charming » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:07 am

Leah in Music City wrote:I look at it as Boundaries with a focus.


That's interesting. I've not read Boundaries, but from what I've gathered of it I've always been struck with the notion that a LD spouse could easily declare all kinds of boundary issues around sex and freeze up the whole deal. I'm sure there's more to Boundaries, but I've been wary of it just the same.
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:17 am

I was able to embrace PM because of Boundaries. It's the same model. Boundaries are not intended to control others, but to define and protect self. Does that sound anything like the Solid Flexible Self?

Learning appropriate boundaries in my life helped unleash my sexuality. My boundaries now include freedom to be sexual. I might be refused quite often, but my guilt over not living up to my part of the responsibility is gone. I am far more open and loving to others, and I am more teachable.
Leah

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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby KyWildcat » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:21 am

I think the most important thing that I learned is close to what KC said about, "...you can't solve your problems with sex by avoiding sex."

For years I was giving my wife "space" to "work on her issues" so she could feel "safe" and "trust" me. What I was actually doing was giving my wife "space" to "avoid her issues" and could feel "the same" and make little progress. We've made more progress on a single issue that came up early on our marriage in the past couple of months when I started to push the issue than we did in the previous 18 years.

I think the other side of, "You can't get what you want from your spouse by withholding what they want," is, "You can't get what you want from your spouse by hiding what you want from them."

KW
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby KyWildcat » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:33 am

What keeps me from recommending this book to everyone? Dr. Schnarch's world view.

KC and I have discussed this off the board but I wanted to bring it up so that no one is surprised by it.

In my view Dr. Schnarch observed behaviors in marriage and then applied his world view to explain his observations. Dr. Schnarch's world view is evolution, there is quite a bit of talk of the "reptilian" part of your brain.

He calls the desire problems found in marriage as "normal" and while I'd agree that they are "normal" I'd disagree that that's the way it's supposed to be. I think it is "normal" for fallen people to be selfish and take the path that seems to be the path of least resistance, I do not believe that's the way it was "In the beginning..."

FWIW,
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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby KyWildcat » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:44 am

My other "issue" with Dr. Schnarch: Divorce is too easily an "acceptable" choice over growth or is acceptable along with "growth".
Marriage will show your immaturity and selfishness faster than anything on earth. You either grow up or grow apart. It's your choice.

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Re: Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch

Postby Leah » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:48 am

I'm not anywhere close to avoiding sex, although there are a couple of situations in the book where I think Dr. Schnarch would have me walk away from it. I just stand a much better chance at surviving my personal nightmare if I spend time working on areas where the Lord wants to refine my character. That's basically what the Four Points of Balance do.

My life is not going to be improved by marriage books if only one person is invested in the relationship. That doesn't mean I eschew marriage books for what they offer in helping me see areas where I need to work on myself. I agree that divorce is not the first and best option, but it is definitely on the table. Like I said, when only one person is truly invested in relationship and growth, that can't happen in a vacuum.

The one relational piece I came away with was that I need to find more of my voice in TMB.
Leah

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