Who’s Fault Doesn’t Really Matter in Marriage

 In Couples

Who’s Fault Doesn’t Really Matter in Marriage in Marriage Conversation

I volunteered to run a booth at a recent charity event. I was paired with what appeared to be a hard nosed business guy – he owned a mid sized company – and we initially sized each other up. That’s what guys do in that situation. Turns out we liked each other and began focusing on the organization of the booth – placement of product, sales, traffic flow and so on.

As we were getting comfortable a well dressed attractive woman came up and started ordering us to change the way we placed product, to move the booth so it would face in another direction and other trivia. My partner looked at her with a kind of disbelief in his face and said ‘this is the way it will work best. We’re going to leave it the way we have it.’ The woman responded ‘well, I’m the boss. You’ll do it my way.’ My partner dropped what he was doing, said ‘OK,’ and walked off.

I soon followed him. Now, an old paradigm of relationship would comment on this in this fashion “he obviously has an ego problem,” or “that’s the way men are, you know, testosterone driven,” or “perhaps she should have stroked his ego first – ‘hi, I’m Kathy, thanks for giving us such a great effort…”

In reality, the problem was in the unspecified ‘contract’ of volunteers and leadership. No one took the time to introduce the chain of command, no one took the time to brainstorm with the volunteers the overall vision for the event, and no one invited the volunteers to buy into a vision of how it should all work out.

Fault is irrelevant. The business owner felt insulted and it looks like he was insulted. The woman in charge of booths probably was overwhelmed with responsibilities and not in great shape as a tactician. She may even have been put in the wrong role since her skill in design didn’t match her skill in relationship.

Why is this important? It’s a good example of what happens in marriage under conditions of stress. A husband may be focused on getting a job done while his wife is focused on the larger context – family needs, neighbors coming over, children. If they can’t stop! look! and listen to each other, spend a few moments exploring her concerns, and his focus – then something akin to the charity event will happen to them.

Remember, conflict is natural. The challenge is conscious embrace of the issues that lurk right behind the drama. Catch those and you’ll have another opportunity for intimate connecting.

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