Collaborative Complimentarity in Healing Journey?
Recently, at the Masculine Genius Institute summit in Chicago, I heard the words “collaborative complimentarity” as the best means of describing the proper interaction between men and women, especially as it pertains to their God given gifts as male and female. In fact, one of the speakers at the summit cited Pope Benedict XVI as the source for such a phrase. Whether our Pope Emeritus said it or not, is not my intention to verify, however, I do want to talk about it in terms of healing for men. Can a man heal if his wife is not supportive or complimenting his journey of healing? The short answer is yes, but the reality is, it is farbetter if she is cooperatively participating in that process.
What do I mean by cooperatively participating in that process? I mean she needs to acknowledge her role in the healing of her man. Am I saying that she is the source of his brokenness and pain? I am not necessarily, but her response and general attitude toward her man is definitely a contributing factor in his ultimate recovery and lasting healing. Without hesitation I say that a wife needs to see herself as potentially part of the problem and always part of the solution in her husband’s healing journey. Again, not saying a wife whose husband is acting out with pornography or alcohol is herself the root cause, but she needs to identify her role in all of his behavior. Now, when I say role, I mean a spouse needs to ask herself the following 10 questions:
- Am I supporting my husband’s recovery in a generally negative or positive way?
- Does my husband feel pressure to make good choices in my company?
- Do I extend forgiveness to my husband easily for his bad choices?
- Do I punish or emasculate my husband for his struggles?
- Do I celebrate my husband’s successes after a job well done?
- Do I tell my husband that I am proud of him and the man he is becoming often?
- Do I tell my husband that he is pathetic, a loser or an idiot more than encouraging him?
- Do I recognize in my own behavior things that I need to improve?
- Do I see how my own negative behavior might be impacting him and potentially causing him to despair or isolate?
- Am I as serious about healing our relationship and equally invested in the recovery process?
I submit, if your spouse answered these questions honestly, then likely there is some room for her to grow as well. I say this because no one can love another human being perfectly. We are an imperfect people and our relationships and marriages are all imperfect. We are in constant need of forgiveness both from our Lord and one another. We need to recognize, as often as possible, that the response we generate from people is quite often a mirror of how we are treating them. We each have a role to play in all our relationships and interactions. Spouses play a huge role in the positive and negative behavior of their individual spouses. For sure, there is a collaborative element to our growth and healing as a couple. A husband and wife need each other to heal and to heal well. A man needs to know that his wife supports him and loves him despite his brokenness. A man needs to know that his wife believes that he can be the person he is striving to be. If a man does not get this support, it becomes all the more difficult for that relationship to thrive and grow in the collaborative complimentary that God intended from the beginning.
In this spirit, The King’s Men have developed two healing retreats for men and women: Samson and Judith. I pray that you may have the courage to seek the healing you need today, so that your relationships and marriage may thrive tomorrow.
In Christ’s healing love,