It is important to take responsibility for your own feelings and behaviors. It is equally important not to feel responsible for your spouse’s feelings and behaviors. Keeping these rules in perspective will help set healthy boundaries for your marriage.
If you have difficulty controlling your anger, it isn’t your spouse’s fault. Even if your partner behaves rudely, obnoxiously, or disrespectfully, it doesn’t give you permission to behave badly. It is up to you to regulate your emotions and behave in a respectful manner. Hold yourself to a high standard of behavior at all times, even if your spouse isn’t.
Taking responsibility for your own behavior can help avoid keeping score. For example, thinking, “I can yell at him because he always yells at me,” may be used to justify a person’s behaviors. Keeping score is never helpful in a partnership.
Even if you are in a difficult relationship, working on managing your own behaviors can help you to gain confidence. If you find yourself resorting to out-of-control behaviors or trying to hurt your partner, it can damage the relationship as well as your self-image. Exhibiting ethical, honest behaviors can help you to have a clearer picture of the problems in a relationship.
Sometimes when people take responsibility for their spouse’s behaviors they feel like they are walking on eggshells. They try to prevent making their partner mad at all costs. This can lead to avoidance of discussing difficult subjects. It can cause one partner to not get their needs met out of fear of how the other person will react.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t cause your partner to get angry. Although you may do things your partner doesn’t like at times, it is up to your spouse to regulate his own emotions and behaviors.
It can be helpful to talk to your partner about feelings and about anger. Validating your partner’s feelings can be especially beneficial. Take responsibility for your behaviors, if you did something that was hurtful, but remember there is a difference between taking responsibility for your behaviors and taking responsibility for your partner’s feelings.