Blame shifting is one of the biggest reasons couples have a hard time resolving their marital conflicts. We all do it at one time or another. But that doesn’t mean we should. Because the answer to the problem is never in finding who to blame. The answer, whatever the problem, is always found when someone takes responsibility.
Many times couples have come to us with marriage problems and with their own ideas of fixing the marriage by fixing their spouse. While neither husband or wife claim to have achieved perfection, they are set on believing their marriage problems are the other person’s fault. Each one will admit to the things they do wrong, but they weigh their own faults in a balance against their spouse’s faults and the balance always leans in their favor.
Husbands and wives fall into the same trap all other relationships fall into when there is conflict. We lose sight of what’s most important and we become fixated on who’s fault it is. Who did what to whom? Who started this?
“It’s her fault because she did such and such.” “It’s his fault because he should have done that.” Around and around we go. Where it stops, nobody knows. Read more
Do you want to know the reason it took 4 times of almost getting a divorce before our marriage straighten out? Do you want to know what had to change before we could have the marriage we both wanted? The thing that had to change was I had to stop trying to just smooth things over.
There was a cycle we were going through and it was because of the things I kept doing wrong. Time after time I kept finding a way to undo all the previous good I did to fix our marriage. Each time after we reached our breaking point I would begin to do everything I could to become a better husband. I didn’t want our marriage to end so I tried to change and I thought I was making some serious progress. But in the end, all I was doing was going through my own cycle.
When the difficulty in the marriage is because of abusive behavior, personal safety must come before the marriage.
We love to encourage husbands and wives who struggle with difficult marriages. We believe commitment, hope, and perseverance go a long way in helping couples get past their difficult season. But when there’s abuse, we have to have a different conversation.
There is a serious issue of abuse that is facing far too many marriages today. This issue should never be ignored or overlooked, by the men and women who find themselves in an abusive relationship, nor by the rest of us who have a voice to speak out against it.
In this final post of this series on difficult marriage, I want to help men and women recognize when Difficult Marriage is an Abusive Marriage. Because, when this is the case, the approach to dealing with the marriage crisis must change.
It is not easy to receive criticism even when it is constructive, especially when it comes from your spouse, the one you want nothing less than absolute acceptance and approval from. And it is not easy to give constructive criticism to your spouse without hurting your spouse’s feelings and coming across as disapproving and rejecting. But knowing how to give and receive constructive criticism is desperately needed for a marriage to grow in oneness as God has intended.
The struggle with feeling critical toward one another is very real in marriage, I don’t think anyone is immune from it. So the challenge we all face is knowing how to guard against allowing criticism to be used in a negative way that is hurtful and harmful to our marriage. While at the same time allowing constructive criticism to be used in a way that promotes growth and encouragement.
Every marriage should have a good balance of partnership and friendship. It is difficult and there are many couples who fail at it every day, but it is possible.
Marriage is the only relationship where we should have both partnership and friendship. Ordinarily, in any other relationship, it is considered unwise to mix the two. A business partnership that starts from friendship will usually hurt the friendship and a partnership that develops into friendship can hurt the partnership. Unless everyone understands the difference and they are able to balance the two properly.
I remember when I was a kid the first time I was appointed to be the class monitor. It was first grade and I was the new kid in school after my parents moved us to a new city half way through that first year. The teacher had to leave the classroom and so as she named me the classroom monitor she gave me the instructions of keeping a watch on the rest of my classmates and report back to her any bad behavior such as talking or getting out of their seats. I didn’t like the job. I wanted all of the other kids in class to like me and I thought for sure that being a classroom monitor would be held against me.
We have seen the scenario time after time. Two people come together in marriage with some type of baggage from past relationships. Be it from an ex spouse, a parent, siblings, or a bad teacher, many people have some old wombs from the past that is brought into their marriage. And it has been rightly said many times, “you shouldn’t make your spouse pay for what someone else did.”
But recently when a couple in our marriage class was talking about some stuff they have to deal with from their past and how their past experiences cause them to react the way they do today, a new idea on this issue struck me.
My dream was to be married for life; I had made that life decision when I was thirteen years old. Yet, I kept finding ways to sabotage my dream. My behavior toward Janet and toward our marriage was destructive.
I remember once when I was seeking the Lord in order to save my marriage and I heard the Lord remind me in a gentle way, that I had reaped what I had sown.
I knew right away that He was not putting the blame on me for anything Janet was doing wrong. He was simply letting me see how I had destroyed our marriage with the hurtful ways I had treated her.
Those words broke my heart and gave me hope at the same time. I needed to know that our marriage problems were not all Janet’s fault. Just because she had chosen to give up on our marriage, the Lord would not let me get away with pointing all the blame at her. And at the same time, I felt hope, because I knew that sowing and reaping could work for my good as well if I would start sowing good seeds of love. Read more