When things get sideways in our relationship, it’s important to ask: Are my marriage problems my fault?
It’s not about ‘falling on the sword’ or abdicating our responsibility to be honest. It’s about facing hard facts with candid evaluation.
As humans, we love to place blame. In today’s hot political climate, it has become a national pastime to point fingers and place blame.
This seldom (if ever) solves problems. It moves us away from finding answers. This is especially true in marriage. The more we criticize, blame, and pass the buck, the less opportunity there is to create unity and tackle real issues.
I recently attended an online marketing training for our business(es).
At one point the webinar host used the phrase ‘It’s not your fault!‘
Addressing the large crowd that attended the webinar he instructed us that any failures on our part were simply not our fault.
If our business was not succeeding, it was not our fault.
If our marketing was failing, it’s not our fault.
On and on he went tickling our ears with the mantra we were not to blame for all our setbacks.
We were also told we should relieve the pressure people feel for their failures by telling them it’s not their fault either.
This seems to be in vogue. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve heard this preached. Everyone seems to be telling us our problems are not our fault.
I think this is appealing for several reasons, but mainly because We don’t like to think that we’ve jacked our lives up.
No one likes the idea that they are responsible for their problems. It eases the pain when we tell them it’s not their fault.
We were told, as marketers, to make sure no one feels bad about themselves. This would keep them from buying our product.
It sounds good, but it’s disingenuous. In reality, it is detrimental to real progress.
In This Article
- Maybe It Is Your Fault: When To Say I Am The Problem In My Relationship
- What To Do If Your Marriage Issues Are Your Fault
- Final Thoughts
Maybe It Is Your Fault: When To Say I Am The Problem In My Relationship
Here’s the big reason why: You can’t change something if it is not in your power to change it.
What if it is your fault?
Let’s look at a quick example:
A husband loses his wife because she ‘just can’t take his neglect, abuse, and criticism anymore’ and we tell him, ‘It’s okay. It’s really not your fault.’
The only way to reverse a bad situation is to face it head on, own what is your fault, make it right, and take responsibility for fixing the mess you created.The only way to reverse a bad situation is to face it head on, own what is your fault, make it right, and take responsibility for fixing the mess you created. Click To Tweet
If you’ve been a jerk and a constant critic of your spouse. It IS your fault if your marriage is falling apart.
If you’ve neglected to nurture your relationship and your spouse is no longer interested. It is your fault. I don’t say this to make you feel bad, or heap condemnation on you. Quite the contrary, if you own it, you can change it. It’s in your power to do something about it.
(Husband) If you spent more time on the golf course, at the lake, or playing sports, and your relationship has deteriorated, it is your fault.
I’m not suggesting you can’t have a hobby or enjoy your recreational time. That’s absurd. I am saying that if it has taken priority over your marriage. You are to blame for your marriage failure.
(Wives) if you’ve made an idol out of your kids by spending more time consumed with what’s going on in their life than investing in your marriage, and your husband has emotionally disappeared. It is your fault.
Before you react and click the back button on this article, think about it. I’m not suggesting you neglect or ignore your children. That’s not the point.
But if you spent more time involved in your kids life then you have your spouse’s life, you are to blame for the demise of your marriage.
I’m sure those statements sting. I’ve had to face those myself. The truth is if we jack up our relationship, we are to blame.
We do not do ourselves or anyone any favors by letting them believe they didn’t have a part to play in the mess they created.
You can’t change anything until you take responsibility.
As long as you believe it’s someone else’s fault, you are powerless to change the situation.You can't change anything until you take responsibility. As long as you believe it's someone else's fault, you are powerless to change the situation. Click To Tweet
I hope you’ll take the time to think about those statements. It can make the difference of a successful marriage and a failed marriage.
Think about it. If it is your spouses fault, you have no power to change the situation. You can only wait for THEM to change something for things to get better.
If, however, you take ownership of the problem (if you have contributed to it), then YOU possess the power to turn it around BECAUSE you created the situation. Since you created it, you can change it.
If you didn’t create it, you have to wait on the person, event, or thing that DID create it to change.
There is power in owning your mistakes, taking responsibility, and making things right.
Only then can you really transform your marriage.
I’m not suggesting you own stuff that you didn’t do. But let’s face it, most of the problems we have are self-inflicted. Meaning, we contributed in some part to the situation.
What To Do If Your Marriage Issues Are Your Fault
I realize there are situations in relationships where one party is the gross offender. I personally believe those situations are rare. Certainly not the norm.
As the slogan goes, it takes two to tango.
Maybe it’s time for you to have some honest evaluation of your life, relationship, and where you are in your marriage.
If you find that you have contributed to your marital issues, here are four things you can do to make it right.
1. Own it to your spouse.
It’s not enough to mentally own it. You have to verbally own it to your spouse.
Let them know you failed. Be honest with them about your mistakes. I believe they will respect you for being transparent about it.
Take responsibility for your actions, attitudes, and behavior.
Bottom line: Owning it is the first step.
A Call From Colorado
One evening my wife and I we’re on our way to a dinner party with some friends. my phone chirped as we pulled into the driveway. As I glanced at at my phone I recognized the name and number.
It was from a young man I had met all living in Colorado. I told my wife I would join our friends after I took the call.
The voice on the other end of the line was trembling. He wasted no time unfolding his story.
His wife had recently discovered that he had been texting a female coworker. Not quite ‘sexting’ but definitely inappropriate.
He did not want to lose his marriage and was humiliated by his actions. Rather than make excuses, passing blame, or downplaying the situation, he owned it.
It opened the door for him to discuss a lust problem He had had since childhood. It had been a battle he fought for a long time. Admitting it was almost a relief.
His refusal to hide the issue opened the door for he and his wife to have deep conversations about the inner struggles in his life. He took responsibility by owning it.
This was the first step in healing their relationship.
He didn’t stop there. He took the next step to restore their relationship…
2. Put things in place to be accountable.
There’s a difference in responsibility and accountability. Responsibility, as mentioned above, is owning it.
Accountability is making sure it never happens again. This is where most couples fail.
We own our stuff, but we fail to put things in place to make sure that stuff never happens again.There's a difference in responsibility and accountability. Responsibility is owning it. Accountability is making sure it never happens again. This is where most couples fail. Click To Tweet
Back to my phone call…
I told the young man he took the right step in confessing to his wife. I suggested he take it a step further.
He needed to put a plan in place to make sure that never happened again.
For them, that a unt no secretive phone calls, texting, or locks on the phone. Everything had to be above board.
She had right of access to all of his conversations. this was the only way for her to regain trust. He had to prove himself.
Why is this important?
It’s not enough to take responsibility. You must be accountable to your spouse. This is the only way trust can be gained.
Taking responsibility without accountability is like an abusive spouse who threatens, hits, and curses. they wound and destroy with their words and actions.
Once they settle down, they admit they did wrong. They take responsibility and ask for forgiveness. But they never change their actions.
This is dysfunction at its highest point. It’s abusive and unloving.
Trust cannot be built without accountability. I’ll say it again, it’s not enough to take responsibility for your behavior. You have to be accountable for your actions and attitudes. Only then can the bridge of trust be built.Trust cannot be built without accountability. It's not enough to take responsibility for your behavior. You have to be accountable for your actions and attitudes. Only then can the bridge of trust be built. Click To Tweet
3. Stop making excuses and placing blame.
This goes along with everything we just stated. I reiterate the point because it’s human nature to offer excuses and even place blame.
The more we do this the worse the situation becomes.
We want to hear it’s not our fault. We want to find someone or something to blame so we don’t have to own it.
It is human nature to make excuses. We want to blame someone else or something for our bad behavior. It makes us feel better about ourselves.
Yet, when we make excuses we minimize the effect our actions and attitudes have had on our spouse. in essence we’re saying, “It’s not as bad as you think it is. You shouldn’t be hurt. I have a reason for doing what I did.”
I hope it’s obvious how this diminishes the impact on our spouse. how it invalidates what they’ve experienced by our bad behavior and bad decisions.
It’s certainly not the way to build trust.
Your excuses delegitimize your spouse’s pain.
Stop making excuses for bad behavior and bad attitudes.When we make excuses we minimize the effect our actions and attitudes have had on our spouse. in essence we're saying, "It's not as bad as you think it is. You shouldn't be hurt. I have a reason for doing what I did." Click To Tweet
As my friend and his wife work through their issues, I cautioned him about making excuses. It’s one thing to talk about long-term lust issues. It’s another thing to use them as an excuse.
It took some time to find that balance, but this young couple navigated their way through his issues and struggles.
4. Do the right thing, every time.
My wife and I own a couple of businesses. One of the companies we’ve contracted with through the years has the motto, do the right thing always.
I like that. I like doing business with a company that believes and acts in accordance with that philosophy. It makes trust easy.
Building a great relationship is not complicated. It’s a matter of doing the right thing. Every time.
What is the right thing?
It is always acting in a way that puts your spouse first. It’s making decisions that favor her benefit over your own. That’s what love really is.
When a spouse, whether husband or wife, believes that you act in a way that benefits them trust is created.
They feel safe knowing that you will always act for their benefit.
Emotional safety is vital for the health of a marriage. Without it there is stress and dis-ease.
This emotional insecurity is like a cancer that runs through your relationship. Left unchecked it will destroy from the inside.
This is why all efforts should be given toward building emotional safety, security, and trust in your marriage.Building a great relationship is not complicated. It's a matter of doing the right thing. Every time. People feel safe knowing that you will always act for their benefit. Click To Tweet
The call from Colorado continued…
Before we hung up that evening, the young man asked me one final question. How can I restore my wife’s confidence and trust in me?
I thought of the company slogan above. So I told him that if he demonstrated he would always do the right thing she would trust him again. It would take time, so don’t expect things to happen overnight. She needed to heal and process. But in time as he did the right thing she would trust him.
I thought of this conversation as I listened to the webinar that day. We’re so prone to try to make it easy on people so we don’t offend or insult. But the truth is, sometimes it is our fault.
When it is, we need to take action. Placing blame will not heal the matter.
These four simple steps can help you cross the bridge to create trust again.
Without them, you simply enter a cycle of blame and excuses. No trust will be built. And no restoration occur.
The path is not easy but it is sure.
Update:. Not long ago Michelle spoke with the wife of this young man. Their conversation was light in general but she could tell that the actions this young man had taken to rebuild their relationship was successful.
I love it when young men on their mistakes, stay accountable, refuse to make excuses, and live to do the right thing. That’s a great way to live. Especially if you want a great marriage.
Are you asking, ‘Are my marriage problems my fault?’ If so, good. Everyone needs a good dose of reality check. If the answer is yes, re-read the four steps (above) and take ownership for what you’ve done. That is the only way to preserve integrity and get your relationship back on track.
Here is a recap of what we covered:
- Maybe It Is Your Fault: When To Say I Am The Problem In My Relationship
- What To Do If Your Marriage Issues Are Your Fault
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