How to Dismantle the Parent-Child Relationship in Marriage

The roles that spouses play in a marriage can occasionally become out of balance. A good partnership of “equals” can occasionally fall apart when one partner seeks total control at the expense of the “other’s” voice and place. It may seem as though one spouse is the parent and the other is the child in these kinds of partnerships, and parent-child interactions in marriage are rarely successful.

A partnership that thrives by sharing responsibility and authority is replaced by a parent-child power vacuum when your spouse behaves like a child in a parent-child relationship.

The co-dependent partner (the child), who feels helpless and frequently just submits, is given expectations by the controlling partner (the parent).

Clearly, there is a valid reason for the significance of the parent-child relationship when there is a parent and a child involved. Acting like a child in a relationship, on the other hand, frequently results in a dysfunctional parent-child dynamic that can strain a union.

Let’s examine the parent-child marriage dynamics and consider what makes a parent-child connection, how to stop acting childish in a relationship, and how to stop parenting your partner.

What Constitutes a Parent-child Relationship in Marriage?

Relationship issues between parents and children can be blatant or quite subtle. The following are some overt indications that someone is acting as a parent in a parent-child marriage:

  • demeaning interactions
  • financial control
  • unrealistic expectations
  • blatant disrespect for the other partner
  • inflexibility

Marriages virtually always include a one-way flow of information between parents and children. The “parent” partner may frequently verbally reprimand their spouse for expressing any kind of dissent or emotion at all when the “child” partner is becoming overly emotional.

Some “child” partners act out, behave emotionally immaturely, make poor decisions, and other ways that they exemplify the role. People who are healing from a parent-child connection frequently compare the period during such relationship to “walking on eggshells.”

Why does this Happen?

Simply expressed, a parent-child relationship between spouses in a marriage indicates unequal treatment. How do couples fall into this unhealthy pattern?

Both partners must appreciate, support, and act with flexibility towards one another for the relationship to flourish. Each party must understand that the other is neither their parent nor their child.

So why do couples assume these roles?

The parent role 

Some couples discover that taking on the role of “parent” gives them a sense of fulfilment and direction. Others could start it because they wish to be their partners’ “rescuers” or carers. Such people typically act in this way because they did not receive the nurturing and attention they likely desired as youngsters.

Sadly, the outcomes are rarely positive even when partners who take on the role of parents in their relationship do so with the best of intentions.

The child role

A partner may play the child because they are emotionally immature. Such spouses frequently overlook their flaws and allow the other to control over them. With these kinds of partnerships, emotional expression and the intimacy that one experiences in a marriage are frequently left undeveloped.

Such couples’ real parents most likely disregarded marriage and fostered carelessness and emotional immaturity, which ultimately carried over into their marriages.

What Can be Done?

If a relationship has become a parent-child dynamic, professional marriage counselling or advice is always recommended.

An experienced counsellor may analyse the systems, rhythms, and stressors that contributed to the unease and ultimately power imbalance using a family system or cognitive-behavioral approach.

The counsellor will frequently give the partners skills to help them gain perspective on their relationship and, ideally, effect long-lasting change and healing.

The resolution of an unhealthy parent-child connection in marriage necessitates honesty, forgiveness, and a readiness to make long-term changes, as is the case with any troublesome marital situations. Even though it might be very unpleasant, this is definitely necessary.

What Constitutes a ‘Healthy’ Marriage?

Marriage is a partnership between two mature individuals who value and care about one another. Both spouses must possess emotional maturity, be willing to compromise, make sacrifices, forgive, and be open with one another.

Healthy couples appreciate each other’s personalities and individuality and lead balanced lifestyles in which they take care of their marriage as well as their own needs.

They are depending on one another in a “healthy” sense; they are not obsessive with one another to the point of possessiveness nor do they have separate lives.

How to Improve a Parent-Child Relationship in Marriage?

It’s ironic that dysfunctional parent-child dynamics in a marriage can be stopped in their tracks. However, it does require time and effort. Couples in these relationships need to recognise these damaging behavioural patterns, admit them, and work to change them.

Couples who want to concentrate on maintaining a happy marriage can benefit greatly from therapy.They may be able to pick up new skills thanks to it. Correct communication, enhanced conflict resolution skills, active listening, and taking ownership are a few of them.

Tips on How to Stop Parenting your Partner

Know your part

Accept responsibility for fostering such a connection rather than pointing the finger onto your partner. Do you typically assume all the responsibility without being asked? When you’re upset or angry, do you lash out, chastise, or punish? Recognise this, and then concentrate on modifying your strategy to address it.

Be direct

Don’t use passive-aggressive language. Be clear (but remaining courteous) with your spouse if you want them to take a certain action. Do not also joke around about it in a mocking manner. Simply state your wish; if they choose to ignore it, have an adult discussion about it and make it clear that all obligations must be shared.

Decide who does what

Make a list of your daily, weekly, and monthly obligations, and then identify who is responsible for what. Decide how responsibilities like parenting, cleaning, and financial planning will be handled to strengthen your relationship.

You should delegate some responsibilities to your spouse. Talk to them frequently and let them know what you believe they should be focusing on or what you think is doing well.