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Christian Counseling - Finger Pointing As A Failed Marital Bridge of Connection

Bridges are constructed to connect two separate things or people, which makes traveling between them possible. Marriage is the bridge that connects a husband and wife. Couples expect they will be able to freely travel to and from one another according to each others' needs and guidelines. But, when these are not well understood or followed, one or both will feel too disconnected, which will give way to loneliness, insecurity and feeling unloved. If the disconnection is traumatic (an affair) and/or extended over a long period of time, the marital bridge can collapse.

Before a marriage collapses one or both partners will have analyzed the reasons for disconnection and attempted to resolve them. A frequent, but sure to collapse bridge rebuilding or reconnection effort is pointing out flaws in their partner's thoughts, feelings and behavior. Once one spouse begins down this hazardous road, the other often feel compelled to do likewise.

Think about this, rebuilding through finger pointing. Doesn't that sound like an oxymoron, like foolishness? Does finger pointing ever build a relational bridge between people? Isn't it much more likely to result in reduced support and collapse? This approach and its predictable end is as tragic as it is avoidable. The kicker to finger pointing is that often short-sighted fault finders fail to see faults in themselves. Some who do see their own faults won't acknowledge it to their partner. The result is both feel a sense of being completely blamed for all the conflicts. To avoid the unhappiness of disconnection and the destruction of the relationship, a different approach is necessary.

If one partner refuses to accept responsibility for his or her actions, the remaining partner must resist the temptation to become like the weaker one and follow suit. That partner also needs to continue doing what is right by owning and working on his or her faults. Further, it is right to expect the other to do the same. The problem is some people deny responsibility or use the confessed fault of the other against them.

These latter behaviors require firm boundaries that can help protect the goodness of the relationship from being eaten away. For example, a spouse may say she refuses to discuss any problem unless both people first point the finger at themselves and express a willingness to correct their negative contribution. For this to work, both people need to be fairly reasonable. When one is not reasonable a couples resolution may require experienced help, especially if he or she also chronically avoids responsibility and is generally given to projecting or shifting blame to others. These poor behaviors are indications of a more serious problem, that of an enduring personality disturbance, which is unlikely to be remedied solely by a marital partner.

These and other techniques are part of a useful plan that can serve as a blueprint on how to rebuild a marital bridge of connection where trust, safety, fairness and caring can once again freely flow.

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