Stress of Marriage

5 Signs You’re in a Codependent Marriage

Every marriage takes work, commitment and sacrifice. When a marriage becomes one sided, it may be time to consider whether it has become a codependent relationship where the other person’s needs are put ahead of the others. Learn some of the signs of a codependent marriage and what to do about the situation.

Codependency in Marriage

A person who puts partner’s needs above one’s own and whose happiness depends on the partner’s happiness usually indicates a codependent relationship. If an individual is not able to see the codependency, this may go on for a long period of time which can wreak havoc in a marriage and lead to a slow disintegration of the relationship. The following are five symptoms of a codependent marital relationship:

  • A spouse’s opinions matter more than one’s own
  • An individual becomes focused on making the spouse happy even if it means others are unhappy
  • Nothing is done without the spouse following along and personal identity is lost
  • Extra responsibilities are taken on that should be the spouse’s to allow for free time
  • Going above and beyond for the spouse, even doing things that are not done for oneself

A codependent marriage is defined by making sure the other person’s happiness is above one’s own most, or all, of the time. If a person’s identity becomes lost, it no longer feels distinguishable from the partner’s identity and indicates severe codependency. It is not the end of the world if codependency exists in a marriage. Help is available.

Moving Forward

When a person identifies the existence of a codependent relationship, it may be time to take some steps to move forward and seek help. The following are a few steps to help get started on the path to healing a codependent relationship.

Take ownership

Addiction is a family disorder which affects everyone. It is time to start now looking closely at building more healthy boundaries and taking action on enabling behaviors. Setting healthy boundaries is called tough love which is meant to set clear guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not.

Let go

The only person who can fix personal problems it the individual. Learn to detach and let go from other people’s problems by making healthier choices, practicing good self-care and seeking help for challenging behaviors.

Reach out

The most important step is to seek help and get support for loved ones. A family recovery group can support everyone in seeking the help necessary to move on from codependency in a relationship. Learning to share experiences with others can help find hope, comfort and healing for the challenges ahead.

It is never too late to seek help for codependency in a marriage or other relationship. Find a way to seek help now and get on the road to recovery. New beginnings await on the other side of a healthy relationship.


The Villa provides information and resources for families and individuals struggling with addiction and codependency issues. If you are seeking help, call us. Let us help you get healthy together.