Portland Marriage Counselor: Practice Accountability

May 21, 2014 by

Take a moment to ask yourself honestly: have you ever thought to yourself that an issue with your relationship was entirely the fault of your partner? The rationale might have sounded something like:

  • “I’d be in a better mood when I got home if he/she cleared the clutter out of the front hall”
  • “I’d be more inclined to do chores on the weekend if he/she stopped bugging me about it”
  • “I’d be more open and honest if he/she actually listened when I talked”

As you can see from the above examples, this type of rhetoric removes responsibility from the individual and assigns it to an outside force—in this case, a romantic partner. In the long run, this type of thinking can become incredibly harmful to both you and your loved one.

Why Do We Need to Be Accountable in Our Relationships?

Relieving yourself of personal responsibility can be psychologically damaging because you begin to think of yourself as a victim. Nothing that’s happening is your fault; it’s the fault of forces outside of your control. When you believe that the things happening to you are outside of your control, you become helpless to enact any kind of positive change. You’re also shifting all the blame to your partner and failing to recognize their perspective.

When you become accountable, you first look at your own actions and thoughts and ask, “How am I affecting the situation?” After taking a step back, you may realize that your behavior is influencing something you don’t like in your relationship. For example, maybe you haven’t been fully engaged when your partner tries to have a serious conversation with you, and as a result, your partner has become more distant.

When you recognize a problem in your relationship, the first thing you need to do is recognize what you can do to change. Your partner may also be able to help the situation by making their own changes, but you can’t ask them to work on the issue until you show that you’re willing to work as well. Have an honest conversation with your partner in which you both have the opportunity to talk about what you think the root of the problem is and to accept responsibility for your roles.

Becoming fully accountable isn’t always easy—it can be tough to recognize your responsibility in a very emotional situation. If you and your partner need help, don’t hesitate to talk to a Portland marriage counselor. I would be glad to help you and your partner learn more about how you can practice accountability.