taking responsibility for yourself

February 7th to 14th is National Marriage Week. to celebrate, some of my favorite blog friends and I will be sharing some of our thoughts and stories about marriage to help encourage strengthening your relationship. I hope these posts will help you to nurture your own relationship and rekindle the love you have for one another.

m&a (37)m&a (38)[photography by Kate Lines Photography

i wrote this post originally for the Stronger Marriage Blog. it’s one of my favorite posts {and something i feel very strongly about} so i wanted to repost it during Marriage Week.

Free Will—we all have it.  It’s our capacity to choose a course of action from various options.  But do we take responsibility for our actions?  Are we “moral agents?”  How does this relate to making your relationship healthy?

Being a moral agent means we have the choice to do what is good or right or do what is bad or wrong, etc. We are each responsible for our choices whether it be to love someone, to get angry, to be offended, or to be understanding.

For example, a common phrase you hear people say is, “I have a short temper.” The funny thing about this phrase is that it literally doesn’t make sense. Is there a temper muscle or bone that is shorter on you than on others? No, in a way, it’s just an excuse. Instead of putting the responsibility on yourself to control your temper, you tell others that you “have a short temper” and put the responsibility on them to not make you angry. And essentially you are saying to others, “This is how I am, so now you deal with it.”

But this is not how it should be. Instead, we need to understand that we have control of our emotions, our actions and our choices. We can choose to get upset easily or be more understanding.

This became essential to me in my relationship when I realized I was constantly using the excuse, “I’m really sensitive.” Though it’s true that I don’t respond well to criticism, it is something that I can have control over. Previously, every time my husband and I would get into an argument, I would immediately get offended, blame my husband for hurting me, and tell myself it was his entire fault.

Even though my husband probably could be nicer, a lot of times after I calmed down and we would discuss things rationally, I would realize that he was trying to be nice but I blew it out of proportion. I chose to be offended by his words, got defensive, and didn’t listen to his side of the story. In short, I blamed him for not remembering that I was sensitive and he was supposed to adjust his actions accordingly.

How often do we do this in relationships? We tell ourselves that it’s not our fault for our reactions and emotions. But what we should be really saying to ourselves is, “I tend to get angry quicker. How could I do better?” Of course, it’s probably a good idea to let our partners know that we have some weaknesses. But not so they can beware, but instead to let them know that we are aware of our faults and are trying to do better.

Most problems can be solved if we: 1. Realize we are in control of our emotions, 2. Take responsibility for our actions and behaviors, and 3. To be mature and have perspective in the relationship.

What are some tips you have to be more active in taking responsibility in the relationship?


Holly said...

This post makes a lot of sense, and I think you're really wise to have that much perspective. :)

Just dropping by from #FF.

monique said...

isn't it funny how breakding down a simple thought process can make things in life flow easier

MacGirl said...

The Mr and I have only been together just over two years, although we moved in together after only 6 months. We're not married, but we live together, we share finances etc. Yes we argue, we both go our separate ways, he sulks infront of the TV and curl up in bed but we always talk about it. Arguments are ok, arguments are healthy, it shows that you care enough about each other. But we have a responsibility to each other to work things out. Until you figure out that you have that responsibility to yourself, and your partner then I don't think you can fully trust each other, or yourselves. Does that make sense or am I just rambling on?

Great post lady!!


Ruthie Hart said...

I am a HUGE advocate of this not only in marriage but in everyday friendships and relationships. I tend to write things off that people do by saying "oh that's just her" or "she is going through a lot" "or he is so hard headed" and it sucks because in the end, I am the one who hurts. It is especially important in a marriage to recognize that we are the ones who choose to be joyful, not our mushy hearts or short tempers. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Thank you for this great message! I love how dedicated you are to protecting marriage and family! Your blog is so uplifting and inspiring!

Alexis Kaye said...

Oh Megan, we have a lot of similarities! I have done this before! I'm trying to be better. Good thing we married such good men :)