Relationships will always encounter problems. Very often, the first thing the partners do is to assign the blame—accuse—and determine who’s at fault in the situation. A better way to begin is to ask, “HOW CAN WE RESOLVE THIS PARTICULAR CONFLICT RIGHT NOW?”
When the house is on fire, and your loved ones are inside, do you find a way to save them first, or do you ask: “How did the fire start?”.
Whether it’s a burning house or a relationship threatened by turmoil, first and foremost, the priority is to make sure that everyone is safe and secure. (The time will come later to determine the cause of the fire and the root reasons behind the conflict.) In a solid relationship, neither party ever forgets that their partner is loved and that the security of their relationship comes first.
This is not to say that one person can’t be responsible for some behavior that results in hurt feelings, frustration, anger, or even outright betrayal. It only means that the couple will more likely resolve the conflict if the REASON for the behavior is understood and acknowledged by both partners. This will surely bring their relationship back to a state of peace and harmony. My online course, Pathways to Intimacy, tackles these issues one by one to help couples regain respect, love and romance.
Counseling can help you dig into your deepest why.
“How could you do that?” is better understood in light of “Why did this happen?”. You can be certain that the reason is rarely that the person you want to blame is a “bad person.” As bad as the behavior may seem, recognizing the reason for that person’s action will bring clarity and insight into the conflict. Remember that this is the same person that you love and care for. If, on the other hand, you want to throw gas on the flames, just add a scorecard to the conflict.
Having scorecards of blame seldom bring a successful resolution to certain issues. Saying, “You cause all the problems in this marriage.” or implying that “I am a much better person than you are!” does not help your situation. The time you spend blaming your partner for a problem could be better spent finding a way to resolve the conflict permanently. This is not to mention the inevitable piling on of other unrelated grievances which only aggravates the issue.
There are times when a couple needs to seek help from a marriage therapist to help them.
Fault lines become black holes of destruction. You should read about how you can prevent marital resentment here. Don’t build your relationship on one. Instead, build it on solid trust, care, kindness, and forgiveness. Partnerships built on these foundations don’t just endure—they thrive and grow stronger each day.