Blame The Spouse!

Blame your spouseThe blame game! We know what it is and we know how to do it. There is no denying it. This little maneuver can be destructive at best and show stopping at worst.

Why? Why do we blame our spouse? Well there are a couple of reasons. First, it is easier to see another’s faults instead of our own. So many times, I have heard a couple go into counseling with at least one of them saying, “I will go to help them”. Well the good news is IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO. No marriage problems are only one person’s problem. I am not saying fault, I am saying problem. If your spouse has been unfaithful, they are responsible for their behavior, and this has now become a marriage problem that both spouses must invest  in to it to fix.

Second, blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort. This really ties to #1 because it is painful to be introspective. And it takes effort, honesty and humility. Those cause discomfort. Much easier to not even go there.

What? What does blaming look like? That is easy – You did this, You didn’t do this, You forgot, You said, You, You, You! Whenever you hear this word repeatedly in a “discussion” with your spouse, red flags need to be waving! This is commonly referred to by our marriage therapist as “being on their side of the street”. Now hear me here, you can name the behavior (you forgot to pick up the kids) but you cannot say why they did that. This is called assuming and we are not mind readers.

How? Ok we know the why and the what, but how do we handle an argument without blaming. Try this for starters.

  1. If  there is a behavior behind the problem, name it.
  2. Then, tell them how their behavior made you feel. Not “when you forget to let the dog in last night and I had to, I know you did that on purpose and it made me feel mad”. (see the you in the 2nd part, the your feeling part).
  3. Then listen. Without any presuppositions. Listen and repeat back what you heard to be sure you got it.
  4. Don’t be afraid to start #1 in the middle of an argument gone sideways.

Let me give you an example – “when you didn’t lock the doors last night, I felt unsafe”. This hopefully starts the ball rolling without defenses up right from the get go.

This takes practice and I promise you, there will be ample opportunities for that!

About the author: By

Julie and Matt have been married for 23+ years and have the belly laughs and wrinkles to prove it! They are also awesome parents to five adopted kiddos and the owner of the How To Fix My Marriage website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are a married couple that has had their share of challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this site have worked for us on our journey.

Affiliate links may be used within this post for products we recommend. They in no way affect our judgment of said products, nor do they affect the price of the product.