An important feature that characterizes mature love is the ability to be intimate and autonomous. The first one identifies connection, closeness, communion, and unconditional acceptance; whereas the second identifies the power of choice, judgment, and freedom to be yourself. Father Cencini says that the couple and the family are “places of intimacy and autonomy”. Intimacy develops in the bosom of a welcoming relationship.
When people experience acceptance for what they are, they feel they do not have to hide the parts they considers negative. They can manifest their past experience and vulnerability. They feel they do not think they need to deserve love nor change themselves to get attention, esteem and respect. The fact that we experience unconditional acceptance by the spouse (which should characterize the first stages of the parent-child relationship), can activate and develop a sense of positivity in the ego and help people to connect with their inner world, have self-confidence and get truly involved in relationship. Sometimes, unconditional acceptance can even heal past wounds.
Autonomy, in its turn, makes the subject free before the other, from the need to be supported by the spouse or “use him/her” to receive signs of affection or appreciation. The person is free to choose, risk, express their beliefs and desires, and manifest their originality and creativity. True autonomy is not a sign of presumption, isolation, or self-sufficiency. It is the ability to be yourself, to stand on your own feet and at the same time take care of the other.
People need to look for the right distance in a relationship; neither too close, nor too far away to be able not to lose sight of each other. Marriage is for mature and autonomous people; the freedom of both people has to be respected. No one should dominate, submit, or humiliate the other; if it happens, it is essential that the oppressor stops oppressing and the oppressed stops accepting oppression.