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Love and Dependency in a Marriage

"I need you." - "I can't make it without you." - "I'm lonely for you." Phrases like these will arouse feelings of closeness and passion in couples. They make couples feel dependent on each other, complete, and glad they aren't alone. There is a kind of need and dependency that two people in love should have with each other; a dependency that is healthy and satisfying. It's a need to know your partner will be there for you. That kind of dependency leaves a support, empathy, and caring feeling. There is a world of difference between love and dependency, and this can have an enormous effect on a marriage. Love is taking a stand for the benefit of that person, and is a product of the love that God generates within us. When you try to understand what your spouse goes through and how you help in making a better life for him or her, you are demonstrating love. You extend yourself out from your own perspectives and attempt to enter your spouses world to be a benefit to them. Dependency is not a bad thing in an appropriate context. Dependency is really the first stage in learning what love is and is a state of needing the other person, so that you will become complete and secure. Partners do and should depend on their partner in a healthy manner. A marriage is comprised of companions who depend on each other as equals, not as a needy person depends on as a provider. In a committed relationship each person is to be independent in terms of responsibility for being helpful companions in life. Love and dependency are to draw two people together. You marry because of love, dependency, or a combination of both. Sometimes a couple connects only to later find out one person needed the other for some emotional emptiness. When this happens problems will quickly arise. In that case one may have suffered from an insufficient amount and quality of love.These kind of feelings can be unhealthy and causes the dependent partner to feel unloved and unfairly treated. The relationship can feel one sided because the other partner has needs also. Dependent people often resist the experience of being separate from their partner. They will not enjoy differences of opinion, and conflicts. For people who are dependent, these experiences threaten the love they need. Being separate from their partner makes them feel abandoned and alone. The dependent person will often interpret his partner's separateness as a lack of love and concern, rather than something they both need. Many problems arise when dependency is an issue in a marriage. There's power shifts; when the dependent one is always in control and always making decisions. Freedom problems happen when the dependent spouse feels threatened and starts to feel resentment, jealousy, and insecurity. They then start feeling more desperate and clingy. Where when you were first married you couldn't get enough of each other, now you start to resist and feel smothered and like your in a prison. Often times through all of this there will also be passion conflicts that arise and there will be problems with sex and romance. If dependency issues are sinking your love life, you can rescue your marriage with workable solutions. One way is to find contexts to help the dependent person grow. You can find encouragement to learn how to become more complete, whole and independent by seeking counseling and or joining a support group who have experienced the same issues. The dependent person needs to learn they can speak their mind, confront issues, be angry, or can be encouraged to do things on their own. When one of you notices the warning signs of dependency, such as "I don't think you don't love me anymore" statements, control issues, and resistance to freedom - it's time to take action. Often, without being aware of it, couples will get into a type of parent-child connection in which the dependent one goes to the perceived grownup as a source of safety. There is danger in this because a parent-child connection can cause the relationship to become boring, unhealthy, stifling, and controlling. Genuine marital love comes when two people with independent minds and opinions get together for each others needs. It's good to need each other, but you simply should understand what need you are referring to. Problem dependency says, "I need you to survive, be happy, not be lonely, or to feel good about myself." But a supportive, healthy dependency says, "I need you to be my loving partner and be there for me as I will be for you, where we help each other grow individually, but as one (My thoughts with Rescue Your Love Life, pages 12-18). Sherry

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