Learn to Take Responsibility and Avoid Marital Problems

Volumes have been written on the importance of taking responsibility. Some of it is psychological, some of it legalistic and much of it moralistic. This article is about taking responsibility for your own emotions, with a focus on marital conflict.

An argument typically starts over something small. If it can be nipped in the bud, it’s nothing. But sometimes it escalates to the emotional boiling point, where voices are raised and both parties are hurling unrepeatable expletives at each other. Alternatively, one or both parties may slip into a seething silence.

Either way, both blame the other for their getting into this emotional state. You know the signs: “You made me do it.” “If only you would…” “I got angry because you…” “I wouldn’t drink if you…”

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What Type of Emotional Legacy Are You Leaving your Family?

I had remarried a couple of years before and was busy at home trying to establish a new consulting business. We had a typical family life with three teenagers at home with lots of distractions and noise; it was often hard to concentrate on my work.

My frustration was showing up in ways that I was barely aware of. One day my wife said to me very calmly, “Neill, it’s bothering the kids how you are snapping at them. If you don’t do something about it, you will end up as a lonely, grouchy old man.”

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Marriage Stress, Blame and Alcohol

Attempting to control

Life is full of events that lead to personal distress. And stress can build upon stress which can lead to marriage problems.  If one of  you drinks to reduce stress, in time the drinking itself causes stress and becomes a major roadblock to solutions.

Quite naturally, you look around to see what’s causing your distress and the only person there is your spouse, so you instinctively blame him or her for upsetting you.

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