A feeling of losing control over our lives is the ultimate tragedy to many of us. Above all else we like to be in control: of our selves, our circumstances, and even of the behavior of others.
In stark contrast to our normal desire for control, many of us have been conditioned to relinquish control of two very important aspects of our lives to an institution. Those vital aspects involve the management of personal relationships, one with God and the other with our spouse. By allowing others to define and control these two personal relationships, we thereby willingly, almost slavishly, give up control over what should be the most valuable and important facets of our lives.
In many cases when some authority attempts to encroach on our lives, dictating our actions and demanding control, we rebel, we resist, we feel offended. How then can we reconcile the general ambivalence displayed when self appointed religious leaders demand obedience to their precepts and practices concerning the most intimate aspects of our personal lives? This inconsistency is played out daily in our so called “cultural wars”. On the one hand many complain vociferously about governmental intrusions but then follow their religious instructors, in lock step compliance, without the slightest questioning of the instructor’s right to exercise control over them.
Of course, in reality none of us are really in control. Part of our life trajectory results from our decisions, but much does not. Despite the large influence of random life circumstances, we still logically seek to make good decisions and control the life aspects that we can influence. In this context it doesn’t seem smart to allow others to define and control us in the area of human relationships.