Who’s to blame when a conflict or problem arises? Does it really matter? Well, yes it does, and no not really.
We long to hear: “It’s my fault. I’m sorry. I’ll change.” And sometimes that’s what our beloved says to us. But even when this does happen, the change doesn’t go far enough or last long enough.
The only person we have any real control over, to cause change, is ourselves. So, sometimes we end up thinking or saying: “It’s not you. It’s me. It’s up to me to change to make you happy.”
Neither of these responses to a problem is very helpful. Not in the long run. It focuses us on the wrong thing. Faults. Jesus does not focus on our faults. Sure, he died for our sins, but how often in scripture did he actually blame anyone? More often than not, he invited growth by focusing on the person’s potential for goodness.
When he said, “Go and sin no more”, the emphasis was not on the word “sin”. It was on the word “go”. Go and do. Go and be holy. He said it because he believed in the person’s ability to be holy.
In marriage, when we’re not getting what we seek from our spouse, our natural tendency is to go too far in blaming our spouse, and when that doesn’t work, we go too far in blaming ourselves. The first reaction puts our beloved down, usually resulting in defensiveness. The second reaction puts ourselves down in an unhealthy, false humility sort of way, usually resulting in depression.
The honest conversation, the one that makes the biggest, most helpful difference, begins with the question: “How can we do this better next time?”
With a smile, we can put it this way: “Let’s have a do-over!”
Then, problems become opportunities. The relationship will grow stronger in love and unity.
- In the last conflict that I had with my beloved, whom did I blame for it?
- When my beloved assumes responsibility for a problem, do I tend to accept it as a reason not to examine my own conscience?
Strengthen your relationship:
Without casting blame on anyone, discuss a recent argument or disagreement. Envision one or two scenarios of how you, as a couple, could possibly do a “do-over”. Describe the potential for good that you see in these scenarios. Then pray together, asking the Holy Spirit to help you both see conflicts as blessings in disguise: They are opportunities to grow closer in love.
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© 2018 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries