This week I’m looking forward to watching fireworks on the fourth of July. There’s nothing like experiencing the amazing colors, loud booms, and the aahs of the crowd. Fireworks are the ultimate celebration. That got me thinking. Celebrating the independence of our country is awesome, but interdependence creates the best marital fireworks.
Serious marital fireworks come from awesome connection. Healthy relationships consist of mutual benefit and support, Interdependence. Relying on your spouse is healthy. Mutually depending on each other emotionally, sexually, and financially will strengthen your connection. Excessive independence in marriage is relational neglect. The more you assert independence from your spouse, the weaker your connection becomes.
In healthy relationships each partner gladly puts aside their own capabilities in order to allow vulnerability in connection. No one really likes feeling vulnerable but it creates deep emotional connection when you trust each other. When when you choose to rely on each other, the result is powerful and worth celebrating.
How to increase interdependence for a stronger connection.
1. Change your tone. You may need to change the words you use from mine to ours, I to we. Marriage is a team sport, more beach volleyball than golf. The words we use are important but the tone is often loudest. To move from independence toward healthy interdependence, change your tone to we. For example, your attitude and tone can reveal the message “we have to care for the kids” or “we need to figure out what to do.” Changing your words and tone to communicate a team approach is a simple and sly way to increase connection.
2. Invite each other in. Rely on each other for problem solving and emotional support. Invite your spouse into your world and include them in your decision making. You don’t have to do everything alone. In fact, the more you share the burden of responsibility and the joy of success the better you will connect emotionally.
3. Gain self awareness. Stop for a minute and think about what drives you toward excessive independence. It could simply be a lack of time that promotes the “got to get it done myself” attitude. It could be something deeper, related to how you grew up or the messages you received about personal responsibility. The more you understand yourself, the better you can connect with your spouse.
4. Talk with your spouse. Consistently share your thoughts and emotions. It may be helpful to apologize for your reckless independence. Talk about what it has felt like in the past when you were well connected (when you experienced marital fireworks) and your desire for a deeper connection. Careful not to bite off too much at once, making abrupt changes when you haven’t talked about it first is confusing and counterproductive.
Unfortunately, some people have perverted the idea of relying on each other to justify abuse. Stifling, controlling, and abusive relationships are dangerous. A healthy degree of independence is critical for all adults and is certainly important for a good marriage. However, most marriages are more at risk of disconnection through relational neglect than any kind of abuse.
Independence is great for a country but with relationships, interdependence is way better. As you celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July, remember to embrace interdependence in your marriage. Together you can make some amazing marital fireworks.
Declaration of Interdependence for your marriage:
- I will change my thinking from sole responsibility to shared responsibility.
- I will invite my spouse into my problem solving and include them in my decision making.
- I will develop a better understanding of myself in order to better connect with my spouse.
- I will commit to a healthy balance of independence and interdependence to avoid both abusive interactions and relational neglect.
- I will share my feelings and thoughts with my spouse including my desire to connect better today.