HoH: Taking responsibility

There will be times when things don’t go as planned.  There will be times when you are wrong.  There will be times when your decisions backfire and, as a result, make life much more difficult for you and your family.  There will be times when it would be a whole lot easier to pretend it never happened, or to pretend you never saw it, or pretend you meant to do it that way (even though, clearly, it was the wrong way to do it).  There will be times when you’d rather do anything but acknowledge your role in causing the issue in your marriage/home.

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Murphy’s Law says it best: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  The longer you live this lifestyle, the more you’ll see how true that statement is.  Prepare yourself as best as you can.

As the head of the household in a domestic discipline marriage, it all comes down to how you handle these moments of adversity.  Are you going to dismiss the problem and take the easy way out?  Are you going to turn a cold shoulder?  Are you going to do whatever will benefit you the most, or make it easiest on you?  Are you going to take short cuts and give a half-hearted effort to fix things?

When you look at your marriage and how you handle difficult situations, do you do any of that now?  If you’re honest with yourself and you really take time to think about it, I bet you have been guilty of doing at least one of those things once or twice along the way.  That’s alright.  It happens sometimes.  We all have bad days and sometimes you just don’t want to deal with it.  I get it.  However, it it happens regularly, then obviously there’s a problem.

Taking responsibility for your actions/decisions is crucial to achieving success in this lifestyle.  Maybe taking responsibility comes easy for you.  Maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe you feel you don’t mess up or make bad decisions very often.  That’s fine if that’s how you feel, but as I said in the opening paragraph, there will be times when you do, in fact, mess up.  I don’t care how good you think you are at setting an example, or making decisions, or whatever the case may be.  Mistakes will be made, and they will be your fault.  The question is whether or not you have the character and fortitude to take responsibility and make things right when you make those mistakes.

About three years ago, I wrote an article about handling a situation in which you, the HoH, break one of the rules in your marriage.  You can read that article here.  Rather than focus on how I recommend you go about taking responsibility and fixing things (as that article focuses on), I’m going to talk a little bit about why it’s so important to do that.

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When you humble yourself and take responsibility when you mess up, you earn respect.  Nobody likes a know-it-all, unapologetic person. Those type of people are simply annoying, and generally unpleasant to be around.  Don’t be that guy, especially at home.  Instead, earn your wife’s respect (and your kids’ respect, for that matter) by taking responsibility for your actions when you mess up and doing whatever you must to make things right again.  This also builds your character and obviously sets a good example for your wife.  I’m sure you want her to take responsibility when she messes up.  Right?  Well, you need to as well if you hold your wife accountable when she doesn’t.  Show her how handle things when they don’t go your way.

Taking responsibility for your actions also holds yourself to a higher standard.  This is a tricky point to discuss, because it’s important that you don’t expect perfection of yourself.  You cannot achieve perfection so don’t even try.  But, you can hold yourself to higher standards, and you can uphold those higher standards by taking responsibility for your actions.  It’s not easy to admit you messed up and apologize for it (and/or do what you must to make things right)…but it’s those uncomfortable/difficult moments that make you a better person, and thus a better HoH.

Sometimes you have to be dragged through the mud in order to come out clean on the other side.  That’s just the way it works.  Face those challenging moments head on, handle them calmly and to the very best of your ability, and move forward in the most productive way possible.  Lingering problems never end up well.  Take responsibility, fix it, and move on.  That’s what we HoHs do.  We fix problems, even when those problems are our fault.  Especially when they’re our fault, actually.

This is the kind of example you want to set for your wife.  Your wife will learn from and feed off of your example.  By setting the right example, and taking responsibility when you mess up, you are setting a precedent.  This will reduce the number of punishment situations you and your wife have to go through in the future.  It may take some time to see measurable results, but they’ll come if you take responsibility and make things right when you make mistakes.  You’re going to have to trust me on that one.

Any way you look at it, taking responsibility for your actions and making things right benefits you, your wife, and your marriage.  Challenge yourself to always handle situations the way you know they should be handled, and the way you expect them to be handled by everyone else.  That’s easier said than done, perhaps, but you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and trouble in the long run.

— Clint

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