In boxing they say the punch that knocks you out is the punch you don’t see. Throughout a boxing match, both fighters throw and receive multiple punches. I believe about 99.9% of those punches would knock me clean out, but for the most part, they are able to withstand them. Every once in a while a boxer gets hit with a punch he didn’t expect or didn’t see coming. The result is usually devastating, many times resulting in a knock down or even a knockout.
Our relationships are similar in the fact that we are faced with many challenges, and for the most part we are able to withstand them. There is one thing in marriages that is similar to the knockout blow a boxer didn’t see. It can come in a flurry of other issues, and never be seen. The result can be a broken relationship, or one that never becomes truly fulfilling.
What is this threat to your relationship?
When we are caught off guard by this, it eats away at our relationship from the inside before finally destroying it. We have to avoid it at all costs.
What is it?
It is blame.
Blaming your spouse destroys the foundation of a healthy marriage. It tears down your spouse and makes them the enemy. It kills trust and intimacy by making your spouse feel alienated or like he/she is playing on the other team, which puts them on the defensive.
What do you do about this threat?
If the blame game is being played in your relationship, it is something that must be cut out. But, you first have to recognize when the blame game is being played.
Here are three ways to recognize the blame game is present, so you can avoid it.
1 – You use superlatives when describing something bad that happened.
My wife calls me out for my use of superlatives all the time. I seem to always be using them.
“You always.” “I never.” “Every single time.”
I’m guilty as charged! If you notice you or your spouse using superlatives to describe negative situations, then the blame game is being played. Pay attention to your language, and choose different words to describe the situation.
2 – You overuse “if, then”.
An “if, then” statement means whatever happened after “then” is a result of the “if”.
“If you had/hadn’t, then…”
Perhaps something your spouse did was the cause of something negative. However, there may be other factors that are not always obvious. Instead of jumping right to “if you…” begin to consider the big picture.
3 – You are reactive.
One of my favorite books is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. One of the habits is being proactive, which means you view situations based on what you can or could have done.
Not being reactive and basing your view on what others did/didn’t or could have done. When we find ourselves being reactive and not being proactive, we are playing the blame game.
KO blame before it KO’s your relationship
I encourage you to become aware of when blame is present in your relationship, and begin to eliminate it.
It’s the biggest threat to your relationship, especially when you are unaware and it creeps in catching you off guard. Protect your relationship from being KO’d by hitting the blame game first.