Trust and Accountability in Marriage
How many times you have thought, I need to keep my husband accountable or somebody needs to keep me accountable and help me to stop eating Ben and Jerry's at 10:30 at night. When we look at accountability in that way, we are completely missing the foundational truth of what accountability is all about. The definition of accountability is acceptance of responsibility for one's own actions or behaviors. Did you guys catch that? Some of you need to let that sink in. It's accepting responsibility for our own actions, our own behaviors, and our own thoughts. When we think about accountability being external, or being directed at somebody else, we have already started to infringe on somebody else's boundaries, and we are trying to manage that person's behavior.
In today’s episode we talk about how accountability should show up in your marriage or in your relationship and then how we can, first of all, keep ourselves accountable. If you're not willing to be accountable to yourself, chances are pretty slim that you're actually going to be accountable to somebody else. So how can you actually become accountable for your actions? And then if you are in a marriage or relationship, how then can you help to support your partner in helping them to be accountable?
4-Step Process to Accountability in Marriage
FocusU.com is a website that's dedicated to providing impactful and engaging learning methods. It's really more of a business website, but I love a lot of the knowledge that they provide and find it’s helpful for relationships too. According to them, they actually have a four-step process to accountability.
Step 1: See it
Step 2: Own it
Step 3: Solve it
Step 4: Do it
You have to muster the courage to see it. To see what? To see whatever the behavior is, whatever the action is that you need to be accountable for. It takes courage to be honest. It takes courage to really look inside of ourselves and to say, you know what, maybe I'm not strong in this area or maybe I'm not as strong in this area as I think I am or as I hope to be. That takes courage and it takes humility to do that.
Next, we have to own it. Find it in your heart to own it. When I think about this, the word vulnerability comes to mind. Vulnerability goes a little beyond transparency; it takes it a step further where not only are you able to see me, not only am I showing you the truth of who I am, but I'm also willing to show you my heart, my internal motivations of why I do the things that I do. Not just looking at what I do, but why I do the things that I do. And so when we own it, then we have to be willing to be honest with ourselves, to deny our pride, and to be humble. We have to be willing to apologize for mistakes that we've made. That's all a part of owning it.
Thirdly, solve it. Obtain the wisdom to solve it. What does this mean? Put those boundaries in place if need be. It's super important that we understand how to set boundaries in marriage. Another part of solving it is getting the wisdom to solve the problem. Get coaching, get help, get an outside perspective. Read your Bible; just do something, and find solutions to solve the problems that you are facing.
Lastly, number four, do it. Exercise the means to do it. What does that mean? That means commit. Commit to doing the heart work. Commit to following through on your commitments. Okay, so now that you've gone through the steps, you've got the courage to see it, you've got the heart to own it. You're seeking out wisdom to solve it. Now you've got to commit to doing it.
Holding Your Spouse Accountable
A part of accountability in marriage is sometimes helping to hold your spouse accountable. Some of these areas include decisions, finances, sexuality, and technology. The truth is, you can’t “hold your spouse accountable” if they won’t allow you to. If they are open to accountability, you must be willing to offer feedback (positive and negative) and follow through on appropriate consequences.
I hope this episode helps you to take your marriages to the next level, to begin to incorporate accountability as a welcome visitor, not like an expired tenant, in your relationship. Because without true accountability, there can truly be no trust. Accountability helps your partner, your spouse, to trust you. It helps you to be a trustworthy person. So embrace accountability and all of its facets in your marriage.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Episode 48: Setting Realistic Expectations in Marriage
Episode 49: Setting Boundaries in Marriage
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