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.