Responsibility in Marriage

They had been married for two years and she was becoming increasingly unhappy in the marriage. She felt the responsibility for everything in their marriage. She had maintained a good job with an income that provided for them. He had several jobs during the same time, but he always became dissatisfied with his employer for different reasons. He was seemingly happy to spend his days watching television or hanging out with some other guys.

She felt the load of responsibility. Not only was she the "bread winner," but she also paid the bills, took care of appointments for car repairs, and anything else needed around the house. She did all the house work. When she became frustrated with him, her only consolation was he needs me, how in the world would he make it without me?

Most healthy marriages are built upon interdependency, where each spouse takes responsibility. Where one spouse in a marriage takes most of the responsibility, the relationship is no longer balanced. The spouse taking the load of responsibility alone not only becomes exhausted and drained, but resentfulness and anger, often suppressed, becomes a problem sooner or later.

The root cause of avoiding responsibility in a relationship is many times caused by personal immaturity. Marriage is for adults, and mature adults are willing to accept responsibility. Dr. W. Hugh Missildine, who received his psychiatric training at John Hopkins Hospital, wrote, "Interdependency is characteristic of most stable marriages. However, the person who has been overindulged in childhood has never felt responsible for anyone or recognized any need to consider anyone except himself, and he dislikes the expectation that he should do so."

Unfortunately, the married person who refuses to take responsibility in the relationship may never come to maturity. The same person may see any problems in marriage as the other spouse's fault. After all, that can become a good excuse for not accepting responsibility. What a good change could take place in the marriage if both spouses are willing to take responsibility. That's called interdependency in marriage.

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11). Some marriages could be dramatically changed by putting away childish things. Not everyone who lives in an adult body thinks with an adult mind. Real love accepts responsibility. Interdependency in marriage makes a difference.