Anne guessed her husband must have lost track of time again and texted him, “Where are you? Dinner is on its way and I ordered your favorite, so get here ASAP to enjoy!” She tried not to sound overly demanding in texts, and frequently peppered her demands with compliments, ‘please,’ and smiling emoticons.
The house finally quiet, she stared off into the distance and thought about her marriage. Things had been feeling unsteady for some time, and something was bound to give. She loved Tony and wished she could figure out how to fix whatever was broken within him that caused him to drink so much. Nothing she’d tried was successful, but without a drastic change, their marriage wouldn’t last.
Dare to Respect, pp 29-30
If you, like Anne, think you can “fix” your husband… you might be a codependent.
Before you throw your computer, tablet or phone across the room. Listen.
I have been there.
I too used to think I could fix, change, and control my hubby. “If only he’d get with the program, our lives would be SO much better!”
I distinctly remember sitting on the basement floor in tears at 2 or 3 in the morning many years ago, crying out to God; asking Him to “Hurry up and fix Rey because he’s absolutely crazy!” Shortly after that, I started attending a 12-step recovery program and began to recognize that perhaps it wasn’t Rey that was the crazy one in our relationship.
I was addicted to “fixing” others and people-pleasing.
In other words, I was a codependent.
Since then I’ve spent 15+ years working on my recovery in this area as well as helping other women address their own codependent tendencies.
This month, I presented a codependency teaching series at our local Celebrate Recovery meeting, and was overwhelmed by the number of wives whose marriages were seriously impacted by this issue. So, I thought I’d spend a few weeks in my blog addressing it.
Who are codependents?
Codependents are people who have a learned pattern of relating to others that is unhealthy and problematic. They come from all walks of life – wealthy, poor, big families, small families, male and female. Codependents have learned to:
- Keep the peace at all costs. Codependents frequently deny their own feelings of pain, anger, or disappointment to prevent or avoid conflict.
- Smooth the rough edges. Codependents often spend lots of time trying to make everything “run smoothly” or “go well” for others around them. This may be covering for a spouse who didn’t meet an obligation, or rationalizing his bad behaviors.
- Focus on others’ needs, desires and feelings. They take care of others even while neglecting themselves.
- Become ‘People-Pleasers.’ Codependents frequently have difficulty saying “no,” even to requests that are beyond their skills, interests, or availability.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (ESV)
If any of these sound familiar, you might be interested in hanging around the next couple of weeks and learning more. Share this post with a friend. If you’re really courageous, ask her if any of these characteristics sound like you.
I dare you!
Want to read more about Anne’s journey? Order your copy of Dare to Respect!