3 Ways How Asking for Your Spouse’s Permission Can Go Wrong


I recently wrote a post called “5 Reasons Why I ask for my Husband’s PERMISSION”, and I received a huge response from those unabashedly for it and those passionately against it.  Although I am a big proponent for both spouses asking each others’ permission before making most decisions, I want to point out that this requires a delicate balance.  Asking for each other’s permission is a healthy communication tactic in marriage, but it can certainly go wrong when the couple misuses or abuses it.

I have received countless comments from readers who agree that a marriage is much healthier when both husband and wife ask each other for permission before making plans.  I think those who were against the practice mostly had an issue with the word “permission” itself.

I get it.  Honestly, I do.

Permission is not a word that adults like to use or hear…unless directed towards their children, and yet, we ask for it and give it every single day of our lives.  When we pass our driver’s test, the DMV employee gives us permission to legally drive a car.  When we go to a restaurant, we ask to be seated.  In our jobs, we ask and give permission all day long.  It is simply part of life.

So, why do some have such an issue with it in their marriage?

If you look up permission in the dictionary (via Google), it says that permission is “consent or authorization”.  Some synonyms for permission are “authorization, consent, leave, authority, sanction, license, dispensation, assent, acquiescence, agreement, approval, seal/stamp of approval, approbation, endorsement, blessing, clearance, allowance, tolerance, empowerment”.   

When I read through these words, they all appear to have favorable meanings by themselves, yet the term permission   seems so negative to many of us.  Why is that?

I believe it’s because so many people have used the act of giving permission in a selfish, unhealthy, or abusive way.   If this is the truth, it is no wonder that someone would hate asking for permission…especially from their spouse.  Even still, I believe it is a good thing when it is done in a healthy, loving, respectful way, as described in the blog.

So, how can asking for your spouse’s permission go WRONG ?

Here are 3 ways:

1.  When the asking of permission is DEMANDED

Our marriage is a lifelong commitment, not a lifelong sentence.  It is a choice.  We choose to give and receive love to and from our spouse every day.  We shouldn’t treat our spouse like some kind of prisoner.  We don’t make demands; that is not an act of love in marriage, and it certainly doesn’t foster a loving environment.  We BOTH seek the permission of the other out of love and respect for each other.


2.  When the asking of permission is ONE-SIDED

In my previous blog, I stated the following underneath my third point,

“Please let me be clear here…it is NOT healthy or acceptable for one partner to constantly have to ask the other for permission when the partner being asked goes off and does whatever he/she pleases. This is manipulative and unloving and can lead to abusive behavior.”

Asking for permission must be a MUTUAL practice in marriage, or the relationship will suffer greatly and be unhealthy.


3.  When it creates unhealthy CO-DEPENDENCY

According to Wikipedia

“Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.”

In other words, the person calling the shots within the co-dependent relationship holds the other partner down by taking advantage of his/her dependency on the alpha in the pairing.  This is NOT healthy and is extremely abusive.  We must never manipulate our spouse by making him/her feel inadequate unless they have our approval or guidance.  Again, the asking of permission must be a mutual practice in marriage to cultivate and maintain a healthy relationship.

For more on this, be sure to read “My husband doesn’t complete me, and I will tell you why.”, by clicking here.

More than anything, we must understand that seeking each others’ permission is not meant to be a manipulative tactic.  We choose to ask for each others’ permission to extend communication and show love and respect to one another.

I’d love to connect with you on my NEW Facebook Author Page and on Pinterest.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read, respond, and share.  Be blessed!

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  • iain lovejoy

    The problem is the language is wrong. If I ask my wife if it is OK for me to go out for the evening I am not asking her permission I am asking whether it is going to cause her a problem. That is communication. I don’t need her permission and if it is seriously inconvenient for her I won’t go out not because she has forbidden it but because I am not the kind of selfish toe-rag who pushes off for an evening leaving my wife in the lurch.
    Calling this “asking for permission” is as infantile as refusing to do so because one wants to assert one’s independence as a big boy now who shouldn’t have to.

  • JeffF

    Simply call it “coordination”. Problem solved.

  • TL

    This is the second blog on the same matter presented in two different angles. The idea is providing information to your partner about a desire you have and receiving input on that information and vice versa with your partner. This is not about power struggles, control or domination. The idea is to support the communication with your spouse and show respect for there time or opinion – not encourage either partner to be submissive to the other in a sense of “begging” but rather showing an act of love by showing respect.

    Use the words that work best for you. It is not so much about the words but the idea of being fair and kind to your spouse and realizing that being married is not about just what you want but considering others in your desires and considering their desires. Most of the comments between the two posts have all agreed to a certain degree but most got upset over a word. A word.

  • http://allthingsareyours.wordpress.com/ Heather Goodman

    I think you can just dispense with having to do damage control here by acknowledging that the reason people don’t like the word “permission” is that it is more than the dictionary definition you just shared – that we use the word permission only in highly authoritative laced situations – such as in the military, or at work from a boss, or parents and children. As much as I even agree that women have a submissive role towards their husbands, permission is just a word that is begging to be misunderstood. Part of being a good writer is chosing words that really communicate the spirit of what you want to share – and permission just doesn’t seem like a good word to do that, unless the spirit of what you are sharing really is that much of an authoritarian relationship.
    What you seem to be aiming for would be better described by so many other words. If your audience is balking at the word permission, there are reasons. Use the better words.