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When your spouse is a sympathy seeker

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Bishop Charles Ighele


In marriage, it is good for a wife to study her husband, so that she will have enough knowledge of how to live with him. It is also good for a husband to study his wife, so that he will know how to live with her. The most important thing newly engaged should do is to positively study themselves, so that they will know how to build a good relationship with each other.

Mind you, I used the word ‘positively study’ yourselves and not negatively study yourselves. Negatively studying your partner will make you keep seeing faults and weaknesses, which you cannot use to build a good relationship. But when you positively study your partner, your attention will be focused on how to live with the weaknesses and helping your partner overcome those weaknesses.

This was exactly what a man did some years ago. When he got engaged to his lady, he discovered that she is a sympathy seeker. She so much enjoyed it when people tell her ‘sorry,’ even if the tiniest drop of water drops on her shoe or a corner of her dress that is not easily noticed. But rather than calling off the relationship like some other men would have done, the man went ahead to wed her. He was, however, determined to lovingly and powerfully change her, because he saw that apart from this emotional weakness of hers, she would make a very good wife in almost every other area.

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Sometime after their wedding, the woman came up with some sympathy seeking tears. She was shocked when her husband told her that he was not going to sympathise with her. He told her that he was not going to tell her ‘sorry’ over an issue which ordinarily the word ‘sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry’ was the only medicine that could heal her very fragile emotions. From that day, the man said ‘sorry’ and sympathised when it was actually needed. But he deliberately hardened his heart and wouldn’t tell her ‘sorry,’ when he felt she was out to resurrect one of her sympathy seeking techniques. Thank God that she got the message and began to grudgingly adjust.

She was used to having her way through sympathy and tears. Some people live this way. Sympathy seeking does not help any relationship grow.When your spouse, beloved children or friend uses his/her tears or sympathy or pity party to try to make you meet his or her demand, lovingly but firmly tell the person that you love him or her, but would never grant such a request.

A woman threatened to move out, but her hitherto soft husband, whom we had counselled, stood his ground lovingly (but not beggingly) and the woman was surprised and started respecting her husband.When you notice traits of this sort, do not allow your happiness to depend on that person’s happiness. Some people will wear an unhappy look, just because their demands were not met. Let them know that you genuinely love them, but you will not join them on their sympathy seeking journeys.

The greatest help you can render yourself is to make a choice to be happy in spite of your problems, and not for people to feel sorry for you in order to meet your needs. It is manipulation of people’s feelings. It does not make you grow emotionally. Do you have a spouse that acts this way? Show them how much you love them, but lovingly teach them to be responsible emotionally. We should not be like an emotionally lazy king Saul, who said in first Samuel 22:8 ‘there is none of you that is sorry for me’. Love you.

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In this article:
Charles Ighele
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