“The man said, the woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Then the LORD God said to the woman, what is this you have done? The woman said, the serpent deceived me, and I ate…” Gen 3:12-13
As soon as humanity sinned, we quickly refused to take responsibility and then commenced to blame others. This is one of the effects of our sin nature, the rejection of accountability for our actions. This is the attitude, which is so popular today from young people to Presidents. This is also the favorite ammunition for fights in marriage and the way in which most people handle difficult situations and guilt, which is to deflect and blame others.
“My spouse always blames me for the problems in our marriage!” “My spouse just keeps pushing my buttons.” My spouse will not own up to what they did and blames me.”
We do this “deflection” for three primary reasons:
First, we do not want to live with guilt.
Second, we do not want to suffer the consequences of our actions.
Third, we do not want to conflict.
Blaming others is classically called “blame shifting,” which acts like a shield to deflect. It is also like an escape mechanism, similar to an ejection seat, which avoids the consequences by bailing out. However, this is not as effective as most people think, unless you are actually in a fighter jet going down. Freeing the burden of guilt by escaping only puts it off until later. While in the meantime, it grows and spreads out of control, and continues to gnaw away at our conscience and works to destabilize your marriage. So, we accumulate this as ammo in our disagreements that escalates in confrontation and turns into battle, husband against wife.
So, this defense mechanism is actually self-destructive and only makes matters worse.
While seeking to avoid hurt or fighting, we bring it more. Look at it like an old fashioned scale. As one side of the scale becomes increasingly loaded with the weight of guilt from inaction or misaction. The guilt ridden person just shifts the responsibility to the other side of the scale. And we all do this by blaming, and in marriage, we use this to argue and fight.
There is just one problem with this (okay a lot more problems), the act of blaming instead of taking the responsibility for one’s own actions flies in the face of the Gospel.
It is unjust and serves only to increase the problems we incur in our relationships. And the irony is, this mostly occurs in families that dislike conflict. Then the blaming becomes a habit and then a pattern of dysfunctional behavior that is an endless loop of a hopeless cycle.
In spite of Adam and Eve’s blame shifting, God held them accountable and they suffered the consequences of their disobedience. “To Adam he said, because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, you must not eat of it, Cursed is the ground because of you.” Gen 3:17
God not only held Adam responsible for his action, He also held him responsible for listening to the voice of his wife (the influence of others!) instead of listening to the voice of God. His excuse only served to increase his personal responsibility and guilt. We must learn that God does not allow us to avoid the consequences of our actions by blaming others or not taking responsibility in our marriage. In fact, we are held responsible for blaming. We may think we can get away with it, but make no mistake, if we fail to hold each other accountable for our actions, you can be sure that God will hold us responsible.
“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Romans 14:12-13
The precepts of God, will enable you to have a magnificent marriage. So, what can I do to stop the blame cycle?
Read these passages: http://www.openbible.info/topics/blaming_others
Calm down and drop it, pray, and walk away if you can’t be kind. Instead of blaming and pointing out faults, focus on what to fix in yourself. As a Christian, you do not need to be in control when God already is!
- Calm down and drop it, pray, and walk away if you can’t be kind. Instead of blaming and pointing out faults, focus on what to fix in yourself. As a Christian, you do not need to be in control when God already is!
- Try to be mindful of how and why you blame. Then realize when you do, all you are doing is escalating, when you could be resolving conflict.
- Do not keep score! In marriage you are not two lawyers battling it out in a courtroom, so you need to keep track of what is said, build your case and use what is said against the other. In marriage, we let it go.
- We stop blaming when we replace the bad habit with a good one. Learn to be a better communicator by listening. We best do this by closing our mouth and opening our ears.
- Seek to be apologetic to rebuild respect, practice real heartfelt love.
- Take the responsibility and make it better, even if your spouse will not.
- In a fight? Remember to walk it off. Let it go, pray and make a point to redress when emotions are not escalated.
If you are having trouble with this, see a qualified pastor or counselor to guide you through it.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…” Ephesians 4:26