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
Anytime your marriage is in trouble it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to get down on yourself and let regret and fear overtake you. But for your marriage to overcome this trial you have to take a stand against discouragement. For you to take that stand I want to share with you some thoughts on why and how you should encourage yourself.
I remember when I was a young boy in school just learning to read. One of my favorite books was “The Little Engine That Could.” Though I don’t remember the full story, I still remember it was about a little engine pulling a train up a steep hill and how he kept repeating the words, “I think I can, I think I can.” Those words were what the little engine needed to encourage himself to climb that hill.
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.
These two simple words “I’m sorry,” can be so powerful for growing your marriage and yet these two words are so seldom heard.
I’m sure you know saying “I love you” is very important for a strong healthy marriage, but confessing your faults to each other and saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong” should be just as important to you as saying “I love you.”
Confessing you are wrong is actually a major part of demonstrating your love for your spouse. It can be an act of devotion to your marriage and love for your spouse for a number of reasons.
Is the marriage crisis you’re dealing with breaking your heart? Do you feel like your world is shattered and crumbling all around you? And does it make you question how much you can stand or how long can you endure? If your answers are yes, I know how you feel.
Because fighting to save a marriage is one of the toughest ordeals a person can ever experience. The heartache and pain can be so tormenting that it makes it hard to function in any other area of life. And there are times when the pain is so hard to bear, all a person can do is shut it off by staying busy with other areas of life. Either way it seems like life is just a blur and all you can do is trying to survive it.
But I have another question for you, a question I believe that can make a huge difference in how you get through this experience.
The desperation I felt to save our marriage was tremendous. I had waited so long for signs of hope and yet so many times it seemed my hopes were dashed. I had no problem accepting the fact that I had hurt our marriage. So all I could think of was trying to find some way to fix the problems I helped create.
After a good while into our last separation, my wife finally decided to go see a counselor. There were a lot of issues she had been dealing with from her childhood and she finally reached a point where she said enough is enough. She wanted the stuff that had tormented her all of her life to be gone once and for all.
.The desire for a good marriage is a strong desire for most people. I’m sure, most people who are married or hopes to be married wants their marriage to be good. But how do you know if you have a good marriage if you’re not sure what a good marriage looks like?
Sure, you can look around and compare your marriage to other couples. If their marriage appears good you will want to know if you have what they have.
If you think their marriage is built on great friendship, then maybe that’s what you need to have. They could be good communicators. Maybe that’s your answer. If they are romantic and affectionate with each other, that could be what your marriage needs. Or if they report having a very satisfying sex life you could think that is your answer as well. All of these and so much more are great qualities to have in marriage. Read more
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.
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.