3. The Independence Myth (and other myths about freedom):
It is best for each spouse to maintain his or her own independence and form a self-reliant two-way partnership.
Truth: Independence is overrated and lonely; and it gets more so the longer we live. Interdependence is the acknowledgment of this simple, vulnerable truth and it is a joy to willingly, enthusiastically trade your independence for interdependence. Ultimately, a three-way partnership that recognizes dependence on God is the strongest of all.
- Sub-myth: The key to a good marriage is for both partners to go 50 percent and meet in the middle.
Truth: You may sometimes have to go 90 percent to meet your spouse’s 10 percent, and your partner may have to go 90 percent to meet you at other times.
- Sub-myth: Freedom and responsibility are opposites.
Truth: Responsibility and sacrifice for those you love leads to a higher freedom from the “dungeon of self.”
- Sub-myth: Needing marriage therapy is a weakness.
Truth: Getting professional help when you need it is always a strength.
We live in a world where independence is the perceived goal of almost everything. We are conditioned to want financial independence as well as mental and emotional independence. We see any type of dependence on someone else as a weakness, and we find it much easier to say “I love you” than “I need you.”
Many also think the alternative to independence is codependence, which Google defines as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically requiring support due to an illness or addiction.” And who would want that?
But interdependence is not codependence. It is something much different and much more beautiful. It is a mutual dependence that is chosen in love, and it makes those who choose it more, not less, free.
With many, independence is almost an obsession. Young people today want to avoid being dependent on anyone. But not needing anyone and always relying solely on yourself can become the ultimate recipe for loneliness.
Interdependence is so much better. It is the conscious choice of commitment, the deliberate decision to intertwine your life with the person you love most. It is the sacrifice of something good for something better.
More information on this myth: