Too Close to Your Spouse? & Link up!

While I’m taking a break from blogging, I’m sharing some older posts from way back in MM’s vault. This article was originally published almost two years ago to this day – July 18th, 2012!

Too Close

What?

Did I read that right? Can I really be too close to my spouse?

Maybe that’s what you were thinking when you read my title. You might’ve also wondered …

What kind of marriage blog is this, anyway? The author doesn’t even want us to get close to our spouses!

I’m outta here!

But please give me just one more minute to make my case …

Because I know of at least one way you can be too close to your spouse. Unfortunately, I’ve lived it at times, and found it makes things very messy, very quickly.

It’s when you assume that your spouse’s actions are about you

 

After all, when you get too close to something it becomes blurry and out-of-focus. You see distorted things or don’t see things that are really there.

You and I have to keep in mind that there are many factors for why our spouses (or ourselves, for that matter!) do what we do. And when you and I try to take responsibility for how our spouses act or feel, then we must realize that we’re probably getting too close and need to …

Back off!

 

Or in more psychological terms – “detach.”

All that really means is that you must understand that you are “you” and your spouse is your “spouse.” You cannot and should not take responsibility for your spouse, but rather take responsibility “for yourself” and be responsible to your spouse.”

For example –

  • 
I am not responsible for how angry my husband feels or acts when I tell him I can’t do something he wants me to do.
  • But I am responsible to have healthy and responsible reasons for turning him down.
  • And I’m responsible to have a respectful attitude in the way I come across to him when I turn him down.
  • And I’m responsible to communicate well with him in our efforts to resolve any conflict that develops.
  • And I’m also responsible to care about his feelings, but not to carry his feelings out of fear, guilt or my own personal baggage.

I know that this is a subtle line that we’re talking about and can be quite confusing when we’re in the heat of the moment or simply caught up in an unhealthy, “codependent and enmeshed dance” with our spouses. But the one thing to remember is …

It’s not always about YOU.

 

Very often our spouses have hurts from their past that have colored the way they see a situation, and your actions on a particular occasion may only be triggering that hurtful memory. Sometimes our spouse has just had a bad day or (for all the females out there) a bad hormonal moment. We have to give our spouses the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves …

This is my spouse’s issue and I simply need to …

a)    Give my spouse space
b)    Pray for my spouse
c)    Reach out to embrace my spouse with compassion and acceptance
d)    Love my spouse as I’ve been loved by the Father
e)    All of the above

Yeah, I think I’d go with “e” on this one!

Care to share about a time when you took what your spouse did personally and it wasn’t about you at all?

 

What has helped you to readjust your perspective, once you’ve realized you were too close?

 

I’m currently taking a blogging break and will be back full-force Aug. 12/13th. Keep me in your prayers as I try to make progress in several areas of my life. Thanks so much, friends!

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  • Mary

    Praying for your dear Beth as you work on your book. Great post from the archives-when we get too close to something it becomes blurry and out-of-focus. Strong words to remember in all situations in life. Blessings!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Very interesting post, but there is one thing that should be added – many spouses will ‘make it about you’, even when the initial problem was completely separate. It’s a way to create a target at which they can fire their vitriol, AND see a response, without a significant downside beyond hurt feelings.

    Detachment is important, but it has to be carefully balanced with affection and involvement. To a person with PTSD, running into the spousal attitude of “Hey, that’s your problem, and frankly you’re an embarrassment” is in no way helpful, and fosters the counter-attitude of “well, at least I know what life’s about, and I don’t get worked up when Facebook’s slow”.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that even when a problem doesn;t have anything to do with us – it does. We have to give the help required on a case-by-case basis, because that’s what marriage is ultimately about.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/07/eek-mouse.html

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  • Beth, you made such an important point. Even more so as society has become more self-absorbed. May we not always think it is about us but stop to sort the issue out. And may we always give space for our spouse to work it out. May He bless you as you continue writing!

  • Nail on the head Beth!
    When I first married my spouse. I got upset that he didn’t wait for us to eat together. I forgot he came back very hungry while I was in the bathroom, and he was from a home where he never saw his dad and mom eat together.

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Hi Beth – I hope your break is both restful AND productive!

  • This is such a wonderful article. I am so glad that you found it in your archives. Thanks too for the linkup today. Have a blessed blogging break. Ours was such a blessing last week.

  • Nan

    I agree that we need to give them space and realize that something can be their problem, as you said, and nothing that WE did. I also think we need to pray because at some point, the spouse may need to “grow up” and let go of some of their expectations or they need to stop inferring evil where none is intended, etc. That is a matter of prayer, of course, because we can’t force them to change. But letting go of their past will be a blessing to their future.

    You’re writing a book? That is awesome. Enjoy your bloggy break and will pray for your health and your time management and for progress. I think it would be cool to write a book but I have barely been blogging lately and am considering giving up my blog, lol! Thanks for hosting!

  • This is such a dynamite post! I am guilty of “owning my spouses feelings” on more than one occasion. Loved the perspective you gave and the helpful thoughts in your “for example” section. Thanks a bunch Beth! 🙂

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