Being Sympathetic to Your Spouse is Enabling?

Being Sympathetic to Your Spouse is Enabling? May 18, 2019

Somehow I ended up on this post through one in the last issue of No Greater Joy magazine May/June 2019. The article was about not being an enabler. The letter writer complained copiously about her husband and puzzled how to best change his behavior. The unidentified person answering the letter claimed to have been married for 35 years, and wished she’d have heeded Michael Pearl’s advice on not being an enabler.

It was rather confusing, talks of bad relationships and enabling before moving on to saying that being submissive has nothing to do with being an enabler. Keep in mind the letter writer never mentioned a thing about enabling or being an enabler.

As I went from piece to piece that were linked together in the original post it led to this statement by Michael Pearl in some previous issue.

If your spouse or friend wallows in self-pity and misery or becomes stricken and loses confidence over a minor personal issue, you are an enabler if you treat their complaints with tender understanding instead of steering them to see themselves objectively. Your goal is to bring them to normalcy, not legitimize their misery by expressing sympathy and confirming their false assumptions. Being a good help meet is helping your spouse be stronger, happier, healthier, and more discerning of themselves as well as others.

So let me get this straight, we’re to be kind, tender hearted, gentle and sweet towards our husbands as we submit, but we’re not to be any of those things if they are depressed, or feeling down. Seems to me that offering some tender loving care might be more important when someone else is down in the dumps. At least initially.

And then you try to steer the person to a healthier idea, or thinking, or give them ideas on how to handle whatever is going on with them. None of which preclude the idea of tea and sympathy. It’s important that the people we surround ourselves with will support us in both tough times and good times.

Michael also does not seem to realize that there is a great deal of difference between chemical depression and someone having a meltdown because their day didn’t go as they planned. Both likely need someone to be understanding and sympathetic, but ultimate it requires different solutions for very different problems.


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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.

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