Being a Great Mate
The Game of Blame:
Relationships aren’t easy – especially the marriage relationship. There’s something about a lifelong commitment and sharing space with another person that brings out all the stuff we manage to keep hidden from everybody else. Arguments and disagreements erupt, each person does things that hurt the other person, and words are exchanged that can’t be unsaid. The result is a brokenness that is difficult to navigate through and often results in the destruction of the relationship.
It is in conflict that we draw out one of our favorite cards to play – the blame card. There is a deep-seated need that we all have to assign responsibility for the situation to anyone other than ourselves. There is also a great amount of self-vindication to be had in reasoning that it was all someone else’s fault. We can leave a conflict or sometimes even a marriage with a clean conscience as long as it wasn’t our problem that caused it. Even if we accept that a small portion of it was on us, it’s good to know that it was the other person’s part that really played a critical role.
Here is the problem with blame: though it may make you feel better, your “feel” is the only thing that blame improves. People don’t love more because blame was placed squarely on their shoulders. Nobody ups the amount of respect they’re dishing out because everyone finally got to the bottom of whose fault it was. All blame does is give us a place to point when it all falls apart and a convenient way to ignore the one thing that can actually make things better.
- What is it inside of us that makes blame and fault such an important thing to determine?
- Why do you think we tend to assign blame to others more than ourselves?
- What do you think would change if we stopped focusing on fault and starting focusing on something else?
Your Piece of the Pie:
There is a great illustration out there that can help us see the solution to our problems much more clearly. Think about a current argument, disagreement, or source of tension in your marriage or, if you’re not married, another significant relationship. Now imagine that problem as a pie chart. How much of it is your fault or can be attributed to you? 1%? 50%? More? Less? Could your attitude have been better? Could you have exercised more grace or patience? Were there words that you said that were unloving or unhelpful? Whatever that portion is, that is the portion God has given you control over and the portion for which you are responsible. It is also the portion that, if true reconciliation or harmony is going to be possible, must be your focus. It’s more fun and feels safer to focus on the other piece of the pie, but it’s not within your power nor is it your ultimately responsibility.
Read Matthew 7:3-5
- Answer this question with fearless honesty to yourself: what are some of the planks in your eye when it comes to your marriage?
- What are some of the pieces of sawdust that you are focusing on instead?
- What can you do to remove the plank from your own eye before trying to help your mate with the sawdust in his/hers?
Your Role to Play:
In every relationship we have a role to play and gift to give. God calls each of us to reflect His character and to have the attitude of His Son as we continue to grow into who He has created us to be. However, specifically in marriage, God has given us each a gift that is ours to give to the other person. When we take time to learn what God has created us to be and what He has given us to share, we can become the best version of ourselves and, in the process, transform our marriages for the better.
Read Philippians 2:1-11
- What does the right attitude look like?
Read Ephesians 5:21-33
- What are some of the things God has given you with which to bless your husband/wife?
- Can you think of other things within the marriage relationship that are really only yours to give? (Example for men: you are the only LEGITIMATE source for romance in your spouses’ life!)
God has such great plans for you and the person He is forming you to be. One of the greatest tools He has is by which to shape and mold you is your marriage. Whether it’s difficult or easy (right now), God want’s to leverage that other person to teach you about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The question is, are you allowing Him to shape you or are you too busy trying to shape someone else?
- »The Invitation, December 26-30, 2011
- »One More Thing . . ., December 19-23, 2011
- »He is the Healer
- »I’ve Got It Under Control
- »Parenting is a Verb—Choosing to be a Great Parent
- »Being a Great Mate
- »Lifelong Partners: Choosing Wisely
- »Locking Arms
- »Putting in the Hard Work
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