It is so simple to point the finger at another – especially your spouse –when things aren’t going your way. “I would be more attentive and romantic if we had sex more often,” said Bill in response to his wife Linda’s complaint of his withdrawing behavior.
“There you go again,” she replied. “It’s always someone else’s fault for your shortcomings. Why can’t you just admit you have difficulty opening up and being sensitive. Besides, you’re not getting more sex because you are inconsiderate of my feelings.”
The blame game had gone on since the beginning of man. The first example is found in The Bible in the book of Genesis when Adam throws both God and Eve under the bus for his eating the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life. When God asks Adam what happened he was quick to respond “It was that woman YOU gave me. SHE gave me the fruit. It wasn’t my fault. You guys are too blame for this mess. I’m a victim of circumstances.”
The destructive nature of blame games
And since that time, couples have been busy pointing the finger at each other when they feel their desires or needs are not being adequately met. The blame game is destructive to relationships because it demonstrates a couple’s inability to navigate through a crisis and come out on the other end feeling a sense of accomplishment. Instead, when blaming rears its ugly head couples experience a sense of mistrust, which ultimately results in further distancing and the hardening of their hearts.
Let’s examine three ways to eliminate the blame game from your marriage.
1. Focus on the problem: One way to remove blame during a conflict is to keep yourselves focused on the problem and not each other. Instead of examining how your spouse is handling the situation instead examine the problem itself and try to determine corrective measures.
2. Be respectful: You also can keep blame from creeping into your arguments by making every effort to be respectful toward each other. It is shameful how we can be so disrespectful to our spouse and treat them in ways we never would treat others. Respect is a cornerstone of all relationships. Those marriages that lack respect are destine for on-going turmoil.
3. Evaluate yourself: Finally, you can eliminate the blame game in your marriage by focusing your attention on where you are falling short instead of critiquing the actions of your spouse. Because we can’t control the actions of others, we need to focus on the area where real change can happen and that is within ourselves. In the earlier example of Bill and Linda, we found that both were more focused on feeling offended because their needs were not being met instead of examining to see if they were actively meeting the needs of their partner.
We can see the problem was each of them felt disconnected from the other. Linda wanted more emotional intimacy, while Bill was focused on having more physical intimacy. If this couple were to focus on the problem – be respectful and think of what they would each do differently – perhaps their exchange may sound something like this.
“You right, I have been pulling back and not paying much attention to you lately. I guess I am feeling cheated that we have not been sexual with each other as much as I would like,” says Bill.
“I think we are both feeling somewhat distance from each other,” replies Linda. “You want more sex and I want to feel more loved. I don’t think either of us are wrong for wanting those things. Do you?”
“Not at all. I know I have been very distracted by work lately, which is no excuse for not finding the time to show you that I care,” he response. “I really need to work on getting out of my head and focusing on you more.”
“You’re not the only one,” Linda says. “I too need to start thinking more about what will make you happy instead of focusing on what I feel I am not getting from you. I know you care and this should not be a contest where we are keeping score to determine if our needs are being met.”
“That is a good way to put it. Why don’t we try and make an attempt to reconnect on both levels starting today,” Bill suggests. “We can start by going to dinner and then taking a walk in the park. I know how much you love going there.”
“I would like that very much,” Linda replies. “I think we need to be more aware of each other’s needs and not so focused on what we feel we are not getting.”
It is simple to remove the blame game issue from your relationship and save your marriage. It just requires a commitment on both parts and a conscious effort to make respect a priority in the relationship. That’s the best marriage advice for every couple.