All couples fight. That’s a fact. But there is one word that separates those who can work out their conflicts versus those who end up with unresolved issues: Accountability. In this week’s Love Essentially, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press, I offer relationship advice as it pertains to accountability.
Relationships Hinge on Accountability by Jackie Pilossoph
Remember that scene in the movie, “When Harry Met Sally,” when Sally tells her girlfriends she and Joe broke up, and Carrie Fisher’s character’s gut reaction is, “You mean Joe’s available?” I had that same instinct when I heard about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner getting divorced. Well, not really. Maybe for a fleeting second.
My real reaction to the news of the Hollywood power couple calling it quits was sadness and surprise. To most, it’s hard to imagine what problems they could possibly have had. Ben and Jennifer have all the money they need, both are thriving and seemingly fulfilled in their careers, and both appear to be smart, positive individuals with pretty good dispositions.
Did you just roll your eyes? I get it. What does Jackie know about the Affleck-Garner family? Do I know them personally? Have I been in their home? No. My assumptions are based on what I see in the news, in the movies and what I feel in my gut.
There are rumors that Affleck’s drinking and gambling were issues in the couple’s marriage. Trust me when I tell you, those are no small issues. But whatever the problems were that led to the couple’s demise, their inability to work them out was a huge factor. In other words, there were arguments that occurred which ultimately couldn’t be effectively solved.
Every couple fights. I assure you that is a fact. Some argue all the time, some have big blowouts infrequently, and some will say “We never, ever fight,” which I don’t buy. But the distinguishing factor between working it out together versus calling it quits comes down to one word: accountability.
There is nothing more frustrating than being in a relationship with someone who refuses to take accountability for his or her actions. In his or her mind, whatever happens is either someone else’s fault or bad luck. Almost like a toddler, the person refuses to take responsibility for anything, no matter what. In their mind, they are the victim. They rationalize things in any way possible to avoid taking ownership or any type of fault. In other words, they have no ability whatsoever to say the words, “It’s my fault,” “I caused this,” “I take full responsibility” or “I’m sorry.”
People who can’t or won’t take accountability lack self-awareness, humility, maturity and courage. Often times, men and women with addictions have this mentality, making excuses for every action. “I drink because you are causing me stress,” they might say, instead of realizing no one else is putting the rim of the glass up to their mouth and forcing them to imbibe 12 drinks in an hour.
In no way am I implying that neither Affleck nor Garner are addicts, or that they don’t take accountability for their actions. Also, I am a divorced person (aka someone who failed at marriage) offering advice on how to solve arguments. It’s ironic, but perhaps what makes me an expert.
Taking accountability isn’t easy. It takes… Click here to read the rest of the article, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.