If we are “one flesh” isn’t his emotional life also my responsibility?

by Rod Smith

dsc_0642You say we are each responsible for our own emotional health. I read that I am ‘one flesh’ with my husband. Surely I bear some responsibility for his emotional health? (Online question)

Go ahead. Try it. While you are at it, lose weight for him. Get him over his anger. Make him patient in traffic. Make him work more or less, depending on your needs and circumstances. Tackle, on his behalf, any one of the challenges each of us must individually face, and see how successful you are. Before you can say “Jack Robinson” (actually it might take quite a few years) you will be riddled and crippled with anxiety.

One flesh, united, soul mates, joined at the hip – use whatever picture works for you – but avoid taking on what is NOT yours to take on and avoid taking on the things you have no power to change. Resisting attempting to solve what are his issues (and his alone) does not make you less “one flesh” or less loving. I should think it is a greater demonstration of love and respect to “hold your own” while your partner is working through difficulties. Issues that are sufficiently powerful will readily take you both down. Then how much help would you be?

You can, of course, provide a context where your husband is supported in any of the individual challenges he must face but, like each of us, he has to take responsibility for his own emotional wellness.

Be responsible to him (do what is right and good) and not for him. Care about him, and not on his behalf. If this is too overwhelming for him, professional help is highly recommended.

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