Your spouse needs a partner not a parent

Photo Credit: CircaSassy (Flickr)

Photo Credit: CircaSassy (Flickr)

Your spouse is your equal, your partner. I believe most of us have heard that sentiment and may even embrace it…in theory, but so often the way a couple operates in their everyday lives reveals that they don’t really think of their spouse as their equal, because they don’t TREAT them as such.

When a husband lets his wife know that he would like to buy a particular item and his wife forbids him to own it, replies that he doesn’t need it or conveys to him that he shouldn’t have it, she is not being his equal or his partner; she is being his parent. People further parent their spouses by making comments such as, “you don’t know what you’re talking about,” which conveys a message to a spouse that they are “less than” in some capacity and that is obviously not “equal to.”

One who reprimands or punishes their spouse is placing their should-be partner in the position of being an underling rather than an equal. Not talking to your partner is a tactic that is used all too often in an effort to punish. Withholding sex is a dangerous punishment that is sometimes used to strong arm a spouse into behaving a certain way, the “superior” way.

To be sure, it is very likely that folks who resort to this parent-like behavior with their spouse, may not INTEND to make their spouse feel inferior, but it’s likely they’re doing just that. When we view our spouse as our equal, we can (and should) avoid behaviors that put them in the position of being someone who needs correction or guidance from a superior.

If we want a partner in this life, then we should treat our cherished partner as an equal, not as a child who needs a parent.

 

 

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About Lori Mitton

Lori Mitton is a licensed clinical psychotherapist (MA, LLP) specializing in marriage and family therapy. She is co-founder of Permanent Passionate Partnership.