I loved Lucy growing up.
This past Christmas I purchased the I Love Lucy collection on DVD. Since then it's been a mix of renewed laughter and joy watching them… now with my daughter… enjoying Lucy and Ethel's silly antics… from the Pioneer Women where they bake an extra long loaf of bread to the episode where they can't keep up with the excess chocolates on the conveyer belt as they rapidly go by. Yet despite the levity there are also quite a few eye-brow raising moments between Lucy and Ricky that have actually prompted in-depth discussions between my daughter and I.
With Ricky's handsome good looks and on-screen charm, as a child I never questioned his love for Lucy… after all… the name of the show is I Love Lucy. But now… many years later… older and wiser… having been married and now divorced, I see a dynamic on-screen between them that is not so loving a lot of the time.
One day after watching Lucy being reprimanded by Ricky
my daughter paused the DVD player and said…
"Okay! So why does Lucy keep saying "Yes, Sir!" to Ricky?
I mean, what is that? Is he the boss of her or something?"
Quite the observant kid.
I grimaced from the couch…
"Apparently Lucy had been out in the sun too long… or hit her head." I remarked.
But then… joking aside… we had a long discussion about Lucy and Ricky. Believing the best thing to do was to prompt her to question Ricky's behavior I began asking her questions…
"Is Ricky supportive of Lucy's desire and attempts to follow her own dream? Being in show business?"
"Is Ricky continually losing his temper and yelling at Lucy?"
"Does Ricky ever take Lucy over his knee and spank her?"
"Does Ricky ever make Lucy back up and find herself in a corner cowering from him?"
And yet… a good question to ask about Lucy…
"Does Lucy ever lie about what she's bought or done out of fear of Ricky's response?"
Asking her if she believed Ricky
acted like Lucy's friend
or more like her parent ended in a resounding response of "Parent!"
I asked her if she believed that to be healthy or unhealthy.
Unhealthy came the quick reply.
It seemed Ricky's ability to love Lucy was rapidly declining in her young eyes… something I didn't see when I was her age. And yet I'm so relieved that she does see it. All the laughter, all the jokes, all the "Darling's" and "I love you's" aside… at the end of the day Lucy didn't have a healthy marriage on-screen… and with Ricky's philandering and alcoholism undeniably it was unhealthy off-screen as well. On-screen it was the epitome of a parent-child relationship… they were unequals… Ricky often acted like a bully and Lucy was seemingly often fretting about Ricky's soon-to-be reaction to whatever had happened or wringing her hands over his recent blow up.
One of the biggest indicators of an unequal dynamic in a marriage is where there is a parent-child relationship versus co-partners. This brings great imbalance to a marriage creating many problems between couples.
While dating my Ex-husband and later married to him, we had great imbalance. Hindsight is always 20/20. Dating, I hadn't had the usual rite of passage most teens and young adults have in a healthy family… gaining a bit more freedom and responsibility as time goes on… the natural order of growth and maturity… finishing high school, driving a car (possibly owning one), working a part time job…. eventually attending college, dating and graduating. But growing up in an unhealthy family headed by a narcissistic and obsessive compulsive disordered nature due to hoarding, selfishness, reverence of image, compulsive buying, lack of family time and connection… workaholism… there is extreme control and an iron-clad rigidity that goes with it. This leads to a childhood and teen years that don't naturally progress as they should… instead there is a huge disparity in life experience, freedom and decision making leading to a stunted young adulthood… and essentially not knowing how to do much of anything… from knowing how to balance a checkbook, getting the oil changed, etc.
The fact is… someone who is at a life-experience disadvantage is the perfect target for a control freak. There is a huge amount of narcissistic supply to be gained in being the knight in shining armor who comes gallantly in to rescue the damsel who doesn't yet know many basics her peers are schooled in… through no fault of her own due to an all too sheltered life. He will be thrilled to waltz in and show her what to do… to be the one with all the knowledge and know how… to be the one who "saves the day" and can seemingly take credit for all he's shown her. What an ego trip for him. The problem is… two fold… eventually she will catch up… she will learn how to do everything to navigate the world and she won't rely on him like she used to… his supply will be dwindling each year as she gains knowledge and confidence in her abilities. And in the meantime where once their inequality was perhaps blindly endearingly sweet or even understandable or justified... eventually it becomes glaringly obvious there is gross dysfunction. He likes being in control… he always has been, it's what he's always known… where once she leaned on him and he happily encouraged it she now turns away not needing to be coddled. And yet… in some ways she's still dependent on him… she may have high empathy, high tolerance, and an extreme willingness to be supportive of him… it's what she's always known, it's how she is… and he uses it to his own advantage... always raising the bar in what he can get away with… from not paying the taxes to putting work first to multiple infidelities… yet all the while treating her like a child, a charm, a trophy and or less than.
To change an
in your relationship the
best approach is to first change yourself.
It requires both partners being willing to change their unhealthy patterns.
A woman that loves her husband without sacrificing the love she has first and foremost for Christ and herself will be in a healthier marriage than she who continues to tolerate unhealthy patterns from her spouse… because he will continue to see her as willing to acquiesce to him at her own demise.
If a man "loves" his wife out of his own insecurities, inflated ego and fear, the relationship with surely falter… even fail… counseling is always needed. But a man who gives his wife love and attention out of his strength, confidence, his desire for her and wanting to protect her… he will love her with his whole and healthy self.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014