Therefore if there is
any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is
any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy
complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in
spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty
conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than
yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal
interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude
in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…
Phil. 2:1-5 (NASB)
In the mid-1980's the term "co-dependency"
began to be used in various self-help groups to describe behavior patterns in
people who were in relationships with self- destructive people. Typically,
their spouses or family members were addicts or alcoholics who were
irresponsible and the "co-dependent" stepped in to shield them from
consequences or had protecting them from harm.
I do not think it is godly to shield someone from the consequences
of their actions; a person who is involved in sinful behaviors needs to repent
and change for the glory of God! I also agree that some people can take
"love" too far and become idolaters of others. These people too need
a balanced view of what loving one another looks like.
Ed Welch calls co-dependency behaviors "fear of
man" in his books (When People are Big and God is Small and What Do You Think
of Me? Why Do I Care?) I agree with his conclusions on the matter. There are
people, more women than men who desire the approval of others so deeply that
they are willing to sin to get it.
My concern is centered on the thinking that includes the
biblical roles of mothers and wives as being "co-dependent." The
balanced view will always be found in Scripture, and for the Christian that is
our ultimate authority.
Oneness is not
Then the LORD God
said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a
helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 (NASB)
Adam found that he was incomplete without a woman. God
created the woman as the only suitable helper for a man, she is his
counterpart. Man and woman are biblically designed to meet each other’s
legitimate needs and to address the physical deficits in one another. The Bible
says that two individuals become one in marriage; one in the most intimate
physical sense and one in several other ways as well.
Very often in marriage husband and wife are so well
connected and in tune with each other that they often know each other's
thoughts, beliefs and desires. For instance, I can always tell when my
husband has something troubling on his mind. I am so aware of his
movements and characteristics that I can tell when something is amiss. When I
hurt, he hurts; when he rejoices I rejoice too! We share a connectedness that
goes beyond sharing a home and a bed; we are literally soul-mates.
This is not unusual for a couple who has been married for
a number of years. They are one in heart and soul, especially when they share a
love of Christ through salvation. They can anticipate each other's needs and
actively work to place the other before themselves.
When children come along the family dynamic changes as
both mother and father now include the needs and desires of the little ones
along with those of their spouse. The greater share is taken by the wife and
mother as she is the primary care-giver in the traditional family. She sets
herself aside for the well-being of her child. Mothers are considered to be the
nurturing parent and she is usually more in tune with the cries of the baby and
the "language" of the toddler.
I think because of the unique physical relationship we
share with our children as we provide food and shelter for them within our
bodies we have a God-given understanding of them from even before they are
born. Mothers will say they are aware of what the baby's cries mean, what a
certain gesture means, or a facial expression is communicating.
I am thankful that many Christian women have returned to
the home and are fulfilling the biblical mandate of Titus 2:3-5:
likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor
enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage
the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to
be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own
husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored
What is concerning to me is how these God-honoring
attitudes and actions are being labeled as co-dependent and how women are being
discouraged from a life of serving others in the name of "mental
health!" I maintain that it is simply living the gospel to be
selfless and to put others before self. In so doing, we are following the
example of Christ and the other heroes of our faith who lived and died for the
benefit of other people. There can be no higher calling than that.
Is this yet another attack on biblical principles and the
roles of women from those who would discount the Bible as relevant and
applicable in today's world? What do you think?