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Codependent? What Does That Word Mean?

In the covenant of marriage, there's a  balance between two individuals weaving their lives and maintaining their independence. Let's explore what we see in codependent and interdependent marriages, uncovering the keys to a healthy and thriving marriage with all the freedoms God gives us.

The best way to describe codependent is the following example:

The vines entangled vs. a pair of strong trees growing next to each other: the picture of codependency vs. healthy interdepedance.

A codependent marriage is like two vines entangled so tightly that neither can grow independently. Each partner's sense of self is overshadowed by the other, leading to an unhealthy reliance on their spouse for validation, identity, and even happiness. It's a tangled relationship where boundaries blur, and individual needs fade into the background.

An interdependent marriage resembles a pair of trees standing tall side by side, their roots intertwining while their branches reach for the sky. Here, each partner maintains a strong sense of self while also recognizing the importance of their connection. They support and nourish each other, but they also thrive independently, enriching the relationship with their unique strengths and passions.

Now, let's dive deeper into the characteristics of each type of marriage:

Codependent Marriage:

In a codependent marriage, there's a fear of abandonment, driving both partners to cling to each other. Decisions are often made based on a need to please the other, rather than considering individual desires or values. Communication may be stifled, as one or both partners fear expressing their true thoughts and feelings, or it will disrupt the equilibrium of the relationship. Conflict avoidance becomes the norm, leading to resentment and unspoken grievances.

Interdependent Marriage:

Conversely, an interdependent marriage is built on a foundation of mutual respect, trust, and open communication. Each partner encourages the other to pursue their passions and dreams, recognizing that their individual fulfillment ultimately enriches the relationship. Boundaries are clear but flexible, allowing for autonomy while also fostering intimacy and connection. Conflict is viewed as an opportunity for growth and deeper understanding, rather than a threat to the relationship.

Which are you? The good news is, even the most healthy marriages have codependent streaks!! Have no fear, Jesus can help even in these sticky areas of our lives.


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