Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

Couples usually go to marriage counseling with the belief that their better half is the true reason they have ended up in counseling.

In truth, it takes two people to arrive at this destination.

Some relationships experience a slow and neglectful erosion and therefore, it makes sense both individuals must take responsibility. The time and work were not invested in one another and in solving common differences. Still, it can take many months of counseling for both spouses to understand the blame can’t be strictly placed on the other.

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With time and really good counseling, each person comes to understand more about their own personality, their family of origin and how this affects their relationship.

In essence, the process should be about self-awareness and growth both individually and collectively as a partnership.

This path does not seem quite as clear to couples who arrive in counseling under the duress of affairs, addiction, abuse or other extremely bad behavior. 

Because of course, the badly behaving individual must accept responsibility for their egregious actions.

There is no acceptable excuse nor will there ever be for bad behavior – period.

Nonetheless, by the time the pair is sitting on the counselor’s couch, the other person has more than likely been ‘enabling’ the bad behavior for some time. Possibly from the early stages of the union yet they chose to marry or stay despite the red flags. This could include whatever led up to the affair, etc. or simply personality traits which may have signaled danger from the beginning.

hands-people-woman-meetingIn short, one individual was willing to continually look beyond their partner’s inappropriate actions and make excuses for them.  

It’s equally important for an ‘enabler’ to take responsibility for themselves. Their perpetual dismissals were not only choices they made with their own free will but they may have prolonged and escalated the situation. You can’t force people to change their bad behavior. That is an internal choice and one the badly behaving person needs to choose with their own free will.

Perhaps it is a good thing that most people arrive at the counselor’s door believing the problems stem from their spouse. Or fewer people would be willing to take the initial steps necessary to work on their marriages AND themselves.

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)

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