This weekend my husband and I got into an argument about the iPad, of all things. The iPad had been stepped on or something and it was bent. I mention how he had not taken care of the iPad properly. All I wanted was for him to simply recognize how his actions may have played a role in the state of the iPad. In today’s society, people want to blame someone else for our problems. Admitting where we may have gone wrong. Or haven’t handled the situation properly. It is very hard for us as humans to admit when we fall short. And specifically, it seems like it is hardest when we have to admit responsibility of our shortcomings to our spouses.
Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self respect springs.Joan Didion (1934 – ), “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”
The Fault is Not Yours
It’s someone’s fault, right? It’s my mother’s / father’s/ grandfather’s/ grandmother’s or even the kid’s fault. My drinking /swearing/ smoking came from… I can’t change. I can’t fix it. Recognizing some things are my fault means I have to make a change. Change is scary, not often is it something we desire. Nishan wrote When you focus on problems you gain problems. When you focus on possibilities you gain more opportunities.
We have the opportunity in a healthy loving marriage to either build each other up or to tear each other down. In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, talks about approaching people in a way that does not openly offend them. Allowing my husband to claim responsibility for the state of our iPad did not negate the responsibility of the children. Recognizing his responsibility gives him a chance to make a change.
Take responsibility in your marriage
Being quick to accept responsibility for your actions only leads to quicker healing time between the two of you when there has been a mistake made. Or to make a deeper connection between you and your spouse. Continuing to deny responsibility is to continue in the same difficulties as there has always been. Just as claiming responsibility to an action good or bad does not negate the effect that others may have had in your decision or the responsibility of others.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.James 5:16 (NIV)
Food for thought
…We feel miles apart, inside
Was it somethin’ I said or something I did
Did my words not come out right
Tho’ I tried not to hurt you.Every Rose Has its Thorn by Poison
On the Other Hand
I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.Bob Dylan (1941 – )
In a loving marriage relationship, we are free to be ourselves. Yet we must also think of the other person. Hold our spouse accountable for the loss of a job or transportation, the inability to set funds aside for a birthday or holiday. Yet grace is a necessary part of the marriage relationship. So is taking responsibility for our actions and the situations we create. It seems in my house I am always the one to say I’m sorry. Not because I was necessarily wrong. It is because I recognize I may have been wrong in how I went about something or how I said something. I’m the one who needs to apologize; not necessarily because I’m wrong but because I have a responsibility to own my part in a situation.
Get to the Bottom
In Alcoholics Anonymous they say a person can’t start the road to recovery until they hit rock bottom. Recovery is taking responsibility. If you have a spouse who is struggling with an addiction, then it is a thing to help them hit rock bottom. Quit giving your spouse excuses to continue. Don’t turn a blind eye to the devastation they cause and certainly don’t keep quiet about the problems they have created. For an addict to get the help they need everyone around them needs to take responsibility for their part in hiding the addiction.
It is so easy to think I’m a better Christian I’m not like … Yet who are we to say that we are better? But For the grace of God, you/I could be_______ (fill in the Blank) put anything in there. You are not inherently responsible or better because you are a Christian. Some time ago I did an article on Are You Acting Like Christ or Acting for Christ. What I was attempting to say is to be real. Be authentic. Be understanding. Be merciful. Giving in Grace. As Romans 3: 23 & 24 says …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Be willing and do take responsibility for your part: let others worry about themselves, Do the right thing always and it will make it easy to be responsible for your part.