Dear Bonnie,

I am impressed at how much insight you have developed over the years of your struggle.  I am printing your letter as an encouragement to others.

As I read your letter I see that you have begun to understand codependency—the tendency to ignore or give into, and thereby enable, the weakness of others. It is easy to become tired, frustrated and angry, and then to cave in to another’s manipulations.

Pleasing others, and carrying the weight of responsibility for a relationship, is hard work. We have all done this at one time or another. However, through the support of others, reading good material on the issue, and of course, staying immersed in the scriptures and trusting the Lord, we can be clear, calm and consistent when confronting others. When we are “prayed up,” we go into challenges with a powerful ally—Jesus, who reminds us “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8: 37)

May God continue to encourage you as you win the battle of codependency, and move into healthier relating with your husband and others in your life. 

Do you need sound, Biblically-based advice on an issue in your marriage or family?  Dr. David will address two questions from Crosswalk readers in each weekly column. Submit your question to him at

David Hawkins, Pd.D., has worked with couples and families to improve the quality of their lives by resolving personal issues for the last 30 years. He is the author of over 18 books, including   Love Lost: Living Beyond a Broken Marriage, Saying It So He'll Listen, and When Pleasing Others Is Hurting You. His newest books are titled The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Healing a Hurting Relationship and The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Living Beyond Guilt.  Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives with his wife on the South Puget Sound where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities.