We are not perfect. None of us are…but we are responsible for constant improvement. Even wine…an inanimate thing, gets better with time. We all have flaws and some negative tendencies…..but that’s all they are. Those natural or self-made tendencies shouldn’t utterly and totally define us to the point that we can’t change or evolve. Unless you are a piece of metal, there is and must always be room for improvement ESPECIALLY in relationships…and yes…even metal gets some of its value because of its ability to be shaped into what is needed. So what’s your excuse for not changing again?
Unfortunately, some people have become really good at throwing their emotional hands in the air and refusing to tango in the relationship.
People have gotten really good at hiding behind those tendencies when they don’t want to change…when they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions…when they don’t feel like pulling their relationship/emotional weight. They love to see how far the other person will change for them, but are not willing to change for someone else.
The following are excuses that you should stop using in your relationship. These are places you should never hide behind. You CAN and SHOULD acknowledge them as tendencies or triggers, but that must be on your way towards change…not your final destination. WHY? Because:
ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE, ARE SUPPOSED TO END UP BEING ADVANTAGES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP. IF THEY ARE NOT, LEAVE THEM AT THE DOOR.
Here we go:
I can’t communicate my feelings because I am a man. My closet is messy because I am a woman. I am emotionally out of control because I am a woman. I am a poor driver because I am a woman. I can’t function in the kitchen because I am a man.
Your gender is one of the most fundamental parts of you. By saying that you can’t do something because of your gender is to say that FUNDAMENTALY speaking, you are incapable of doing that thing…and that is not true 99% of the time.
A lot of times, we use this excuse and many others, not because we “cant” but because we are lazy or we would just rather not.
Your partner is looking for the advantages of being with your gender. If your gender is producing more excuses than advantages, there is a problem.
You know…where I am from we don’t….. Because of my culture, I can’t…..You know I was raised…
Yes …your culture may be different. You may have been raised differently. Sure…you will have certain tendencies because of that, but you are not defined or stuck by those tendencies.
It should be an advantage to date/marry someone from your culture! So turn that around!
How about this: Over the next 30 days, show your partner 30 advantages of being with someone from your culture. REALLY try to turn where you are from into an advantage for your relationship. Are men very honorable where you are from? show it. Are there delish dishes from your culture? make them. Are there dances from your culture? Teach them. Are there great positive traditions from your culture? Share them
This is one that many people hide behind when they don’t want to face deep character flaws.
Really? Your faith is a disadvantage to this relationship? What? You’re mean to your spouse because of your faith? You cant take care of your husband, wife or children because you’re immersed in your faith? You HATE some type of people because of your faith? You’re arrogant, disrespectful and selfish because of your faith? I…can’t.
Now of course I understand that there are people who marry from different faiths and it has worked for them. But that’s because:
Differences work when those differences become advantages in the relationship, as opposed to being barriers to love.
If your faith is a disadvantage to our relationship, save your faith. Leave it at the door.
This is such a good one also for when we don’t want to admit character flaws or face things we need to work on in our persona.
You need to stop saying things like: That’s just how I am! That just my personality! As if you are a slave to a certain personality god that won’t listen to your petitions for freedom. Am I saying we don’t have predispositions? That we don’t have personality types? No. what I am saying, is that when we hurt people…when we behave negatively, “our personality” should not be a ready excuse or a crutch. Our personalities…like all the other excuses mentioned in this article, should be advantages for the relationship.
Our relationship should be good BECAUSE of our personality, not DESPITE it.
That’s just your personality? Really?…Thats your excuse for repeatedly hurting me? Look…If your personality is going to be a disadvantage to our relationship, save it. Leave it at the door.
Saying “YOU WONT UNDERSTAND”
This is a ready excuse for not communicating. What we are REALLY saying is: “I don’t feel like explaining right now” or “If I tell you like it is, its going to make me look/sound stupid or make me at fault” or “I am enjoying the power position of the victim and I want to leave you in the dark just a bit longer”. These are the things we are really saying when we say “you won’t understand” to the person we are in a relationship with. What we often don’t know is that most of the times it is slap in the face. Yup. Think about it.
You expect them to immediately use their bachelors or masters degree or smart brain to understand when you need something from them or when you are in a fix, but this same brain of theirs is incapable of understanding whatever it is going on with you? This same brain can’t process the explanation you give for why you acted the way you did?
That said, the onus on this one is shared by both the listener and the speaker. The speaker who says “you wont understand” is sometimes right. If you are not a good listener, if you are always listening with judgmental ears to other’s explanation of things, then surely they will feel like you won’t understand. So check yourself too.
They say that communicating is essential to relationship survival. So, saying “you won’t understand” in the moment when communication is needed, is you robbing the relationship of an opportunity for depth, growth and ultimately survival.
Instead of saying “you won’t understand”, you are better off saying (if this is truly how you feel) things like “I feel as though you are not going to be patient enough to fully listen to me” or “Can we please talk about it at a later time? I promise to initiate the conversation and fully communicate” or “Let me gather my thoughts and I promise to fully communicate.”
This is a ready excuse for when we have not fully dealt with past pain. We find ourselves saying this when we “act out” or hurt our loved one because an unhealed wound was triggered by something. So we yell at our husband because we had a domineering boyfriend in the past….or we refuse to truly let our wives in emotionally because our college girlfriend made a fool out of us.
Or maybe the past is even internal to the relationship …meaning…our current spouse or lover once lied to us about something and so now …a billion years later, we still never give them the benefit of the doubt.
The problem may not be them. It may be you. You need to fix that hurt and you need to heal from that pain. If you are going to keep punishing them for the sins of others or for their own past sins, YOU are going to be the reason that relationship fails. You know what…maybe that’s what you secretly want. You don’t have the strength to leave so you emotionally drain them till they give up and leave you….I get it. It’s a better pitty party when you’re left than when you leave. However, now that you have read this piece, I just called you out on it. Sorry. You NEED to heal. Remember: Hurt people Hurt people.
If your past is not an advantage in our relationship, leave it at the door.
I was just emotional! This excuse is a ready one for when we have an emotional outburst that hurts people because we panicked, or feel emotionally or socially threatened. We yell in public, we say verbally insulting words, or whatever….and then blame it on our emotions. I am not saying it’s not true that our emotions can get the best of us…but of you find yourself constantly in that space where you had an emotional outburst that is hurtful; your emotions are not the problem. Its you.
Blaming your hurtful outbursts on your emotions is like an alcoholic who gets in a bar fight all the time and constantly blames it on the alcohol. The problem is not your emotions. The problem is you.
If your emotions and your relationship with them are not an advantage in this relationship, find another place for them.
If your parents are causing havoc in your marriage, marry them. Selah.
Especially in marriage, you have to respect your parents but prioritize your spouse. Don’t let your parents live or re-live their own marriages vicariously through yours.
On the flip side, if you are a spouse that pins your spouse against their parents just to prove a point, you are sowing major seeds of resentment. The resentment may seem like grass now…but it will grow into oak trees of resentment that your spouse will have towards you.
There are just certain things you shouldn’t use as excuses in marriage or in a serious relationship.
Am I saying that our lives and behaviours are not affected by our past, parents, personality, culture and so on? No. what I am saying is that in order for your relationship to work, you can identify those tendencies but you must not identify AS those tendencies. Meaning that you can identify those tendencies but you don’t have to DEFINE yourself as those tendencies.
The identification of those traits is not what constitutes an excuse or a problem. The problem comes when we repeatedly hurt the ones we love, then use these excuses without offering any further solution or way around them…the problem comes when we make them the final stop… like the “That’s just the way I am” excuse. So from now on, when you talk about these things, use them as springboards for change… In other words, you’re saying that you are open to change but simply identifying where the behavior is coming from… Not where it ends. That’s why I wrote this article some time ago:“NO…I DON’T ACCEPT YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE: ACCEPTANCE VS. COMMITMENT” You should take a look.
My challenge to you is simply this. Identify the areas you and your spouse differ fundamentally (you can use those above) and spend the next 30 days showing the other person how those things are advantages for your relationship. You’ll thank me later.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Hongqi Zhang