The Teeter-Totter Syndrome


When one partner is down, the other pops up, balancing their relationship.

Women, especially women of faith who are serious about growing in faith and holiness often fall into a trap. The trap of looking like the good partner in their marriage, praying for their errant husband, suffering like saintly martyrs. I know because it took me years to come out of this trap.  God taught me all about His divinely polished teeter-totter syndrome.

lets look at a fictional couple. At first glance, the relationship looks bleak. Victoria, with low self-esteem and a victim complex, is in an emotionally abusive relationship. Louie, her husband does love her but he is a miserable man, struggling with cancer and the progression of M.S. In an attempt to dull the effects of depression, Louie drinks. In addition, he resorts to verbal abuse, venting his pain on poor Victoria. Worst of all, he does not attend church.

Yep, Louie looks like the bad guy sitting on the low-end of the teeter-totter and Victoria is good, suffering saint, praying, taking the kids to church, running the household and holding everything together.

But then the teeter-totter shifts. Victoria injures her knee and suddenly, bam, she is now on the low-end of the teeter-totter. She does not like it one bit. She does not want to accept this shift in power. Frantically, this good, little wife tries to stay in charge of her realm by hobbling around her house in order to do all the chores. Of course Victoria finally breaks down in tears and asks her husband for help.

Louie responds to her requests! At first Victoria only asks if she is in a desperate situation but soon, without being asked, Louie is the one to pick up the morning paper at the corner, make his wife a cup of coffee and even cook dinner. Victoria bemoans the fact that her reign has crumbled and struggles to accept help. Yet, as she does, Louie continues to rise even higher on the teeter-totter. The balance of power has shifted.

Biggest surprise of all is that Louie drinks less and less everyday. Without his wifes constant nagging or silent disapproval, Louie is free to change.

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