When we ask the question of whether you should trade your independence for interdependence, most people say "No!" Their first instinct is that they don’t want to trade their independence for anything, particularly for something as weak and self-diminishing as interdependence.
We live in a world where independence is the perceived goal of almost everything. Independence is revered, sought after, envied and almost worshipped. We are conditioned to want financial independence as well as mental and emotional independence. We see any type of dependence on someone else as a weakness, and we find it much easier to say “I love you” than “I need you.”
Many also think the alternative to independence is co-dependence, which Google defines as "excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction." And who would want that?
But interdependence is not co-dependence. It is something much different and much more beautiful. It is a mutual dependence that is chosen in love. It is committed to love. And it makes those who choose it more, not less.
Still, independence is almost an obsession. Young people today want to avoid being dependent on anyone. They want to keep all their options open and not let anything tie them down.
But independence is overrated. Not needing anyone and always relying solely on yourself can become the ultimate recipe for loneliness.
Interdependence is so much better. It is the conscious choice of commitment, the deliberate decision to intertwine your life with the person you love most. It is the sacrifice of something good for something better.
Interdependence is the choice you make when you opt for the bonds of committed matrimony, and there is security, joy and natural peace within interdependence that independence has never known.
As Benjamin Franklin said, a single man "is like the odd half of a pair of scissors.”
Chosen interdependence moves us along the scale from selfishness to selflessness.
It releases us from constant worry about ourselves and admits us to the more pleasant land of worry about others — particularly about the one you love more than yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “See how the masses of men worry themselves into nameless graves, while here and there a great unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality.”
We think that happens largely through acknowledged and accepted interdependence.
Most Americans who have never been married say they would like to be at some point in their lives, according to the Pew Research Center. We are wired for interdependence. We instinctively want to be with someone and take care of someone. We are made to love.
Someone who is always seeking his own happiness seldom finds it. But someone who is genuinely trying to make his or her spouse happy usually succeeds.
To summarize the case we are making, we suggest that there are “three S’s” that speak for the superiority of interdependence over independence:
Synergy. When interdependence is chosen and committed to in love, you become more than the sum of your parts. The total of what you can accomplish together and what you can feel together is much more than twice what either of you can experience alone.
Security. While the natural extension of independence is loneliness and isolation, the reward and result of interdependence is a deep sense of comfort and security. Someone to take care of and someone to take care of you is not an indication of weakness, but an enhancer of happiness.
Society. Even though we talk a lot in this country about individual rights and individual freedoms, the basic unit of a strong society and of a strong economy is the household unit — the family. And statistics show time and again that married couples with children not only perpetuate the human race but also produce more, earn more and contribute more than single individuals living alone.
So revisit the question. Because if you are lucky enough to have someone you love more than yourself, giving up your independence in favor of interdependence will be the best trade you will ever make.