Why it is vital for you to take responsibility in your marriage
When I start working with couples, I always explain how important it is for each of them, going forward, to take responsibility for their part in their relationship and in the coaching journey. This is a crucial part of taking your marriage or relationship from where it is now to where, and how, you would like it to be.
Refusing to take responsibility can have a disastrous effect on a relationship. Blaming each other, finding fault, conflict, and resenting your partner can all lead you down a painful path that ultimately can lead to divorce. This kind of behaviour actually prevents us from seeing what is working in our marriage. It can cloud our vision of our partner. We can build up an image of who they are now and wonder what happened to the person that we married.
Unfortunately, the knock-on effect of neither, or one person not taking responsibility can lead to feelings of not being loved or cared for, and insignificance. Each person feels rejected which results in a disconnection between them.
Connection is created in a relationship where there is vulnerability. Those moments where you open up, say how you feel, be your true self, share something personal, be grateful for the other person, show love in your own way or tell them that you love them. Couples who have these moments regularly will have a close connection because they feel safe enough to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability creates connection. Vulnerability requires a feeling of safety and security.
If you feel blamed, criticised, defensive or not good enough, or your partner does, then these moments will fade away or be very difficult because you won't feel safe enough to be vulnerable. Over time, this can eat away at the foundations of your relationship. Trust can be lost and it can be hard to know what to do at this point to get back to where and how you used to be.
And this is what can happen when you are not willing to take responsibility.
What does it mean to take responsibility in your relationship?
Taking responsibility is the arch-enemy of defensiveness and emotionally or verbally putting up barriers. It can create more connection, trust and closeness in your relationship.
Taking responsibility means that:
- You do not assume the role of victim.
- You acknowledge and realise your own part in how the relationship is.
- You do not become defensive when your partner is upset or if you have received criticism, instead you seek to understand and find solutions.
- You accept that you have flaws too and work to become better yourself instead of trying to change your partner.
- You do not blame or shame your partner, instead, you seek to understand them.
- You hold yourself accountable for your own actions. This is different from self-blame. Self-blame does not create any good in a relationship, in fact, it can exacerbate any current issues even further. Taking accountability and learning from mistakes does.
This means that each of you must take full responsibility for the state of your relationship at all times. This means that neither of you can play the victim. This necessitates a mental change from a negative perspective to one in which you declare to yourself, "I take full responsibility for what happened and how it happened."
You can't blame the other person from here. When you're both engaged at this level, you're looking for answers instead of wasting time and energy pointing out flaws in each other.
This may take practice, but you may now assist each other in achieving your objective of complete responsibility for events and how you handle problems as they emerge.
By accepting full responsibility for your part in the state of your relationship, you are allowing the healing process to begin. Blaming each other can be exhausting and that is part of the reason that some couples separate. "I just can't do this anymore." is a frequent statement amongst couples who simply do not know which way to turn to make things better.
However, with the right tools, and support and both partners taking responsibility, most relationships can be healed if both partners are willing to move forward and focus on the relationship. By changing your perspective from focusing on what your partner is doing wrong, to asking 'what can I do to change this?', you are changing the path of your relationship.
By seeking to understand your partner and yourself you will be better informed to make the changes you desire.
If you feel that you need some help to put this into practice, please do get in touch.