Taking responsibility for your part, good or bad, in your marriage is the key to a healthy long-lasting relationship. It is not about pointing fingers and focusing on what the other did not do or did not say or do.
If you want to be at level 3 and level 4 in your marriage (see the Levels of Love video) where you are truly meeting the needs of your partner, then you need to own your stuff, your junk, your mistakes, your negative actions or words. By taking responsibility, you create an environment that is accepting of your partner. You choose to accept your differences and make the most of them instead of focusing on why they aren’t like you.
Let’s say you like to get up an hour earlier than your partner does like I do. Are you upset that you are up early doing chores while they are still sleeping? Or do you make the most of that time by doing something for you that makes you feel good like meditating or journaling? No one said you had to do the chores without him/her. I did this. I used to be angry with my husband because he wasn’t helping me. I realized this and stopped doing the chores and started taking that time for myself.
I realized that I was angry with him for something I was doing. When I saw that I was responsible for making that situation worse, I made a shift in my mindset and the situation changed completely.
So, which one are you – taking the time for yourself and tackling the chores together, or being frustrated and angry about the situation
How many other situations in your marriage are you approaching just like this? It’s easy to mask the things you are doing or the choices you make that lead to arguments, disconnection or miscommunication in a marriage.
I would venture to guess that you have pointed the finger at your spouse many times. Think back to one of those times. What was his/her response? They became defensive and angry. No one wants to be blamed or to have their inequities pointed out, even the one who loves and accepts you the most.
Acceptance. That is what we want from our spouses. To feel unconditionally loved. To feel accepted for our nuances, quirks and weird ways of doing things. It hurts the deepest when our spouse points out those differences in a blaming way.
Taking responsibility for you means accepting the differences between the two of you. Try taking notice of the differences in your spouse that are good for your marriage. Try saying thank goodness he is so detailed on things. That’s not my style but if he wasn’t that detailed, maybe the cars wouldn’t be so clean all the time. Seems like a small thing but those small things add up.
Next time you want to point the finger and blame, look at yourself, evaluate the situation and take responsibility to your part. You will see a big change in the response you get from your spouse. They will soon begin to take responsibility for their part and you will begin to meet in the middle. And you will feel better than when you blame. I promise. Just do it and then do it again. Make taking responsibility a habit.