The Curmudgeonly Librarian recently did a great post entitled Two Sides, One Coin, in which he talked about blaming the victim. His example was blaming the refused husband for the lack of sex in his marriage. He spun this out of a post on another blog about victims of adultery being blamed for their spouse’s affair. Both his post and the one he links to are great reading, but I want to go a different way with this.
Don’t blame the victim, but don’t give the victim a pass.
With the exception of abuse, I think it’s always good to look at both people when there is a problem. The sin of one spouse doesn’t mean the other is above reproach.
A man gets so busy with his job and hobbies his wife almost never sees him. In her loneliness, she allows a male friend to get closer than she should. Gradually it goes from talking to flirting, then from flirting to sex. She is wrong, absolutely wrong. She chose to sin, and nothing her husband did excuses her sin. However, he was not giving her the time he should have, which is also wrong. Her sin doesn’t mean his was okay, and he still needs to repent, seek forgiveness, and change.
Over a couple of years, a wife goes from almost always agreeing to sex to almost never saying yes. Biblically this is wrong. But what might her husband be doing that contributes to the problem? Does he ignore her unless he wants sex? Does he shower once a week and never brush his teeth? Is he looking at porn all the time? Is roughly pulling off her clothing his idea of foreplay? Yes, she has a responsibility to care for him sexually, but this doesn’t excuse his unloving and wrong behaviour.
In both examples, it’s impossible for the couple to move to a good marriage if only one spouse deals with their stuff. Any competent counselor is going to go beyond the blatant sin and dig for all the other things that have made the marriage unhealthy. The other things may or may not have contributed to the “big sin”, but they are contributing to the marriage being unhealthy.
Don’t let your husband’s sins, failings, and shortfalls keep you from looking at where you have fallen short in the same area. His “big sin” doesn’t excuse your little sin. This is not about taking the blame for his sin, it’s about dealing with what you’ve done wrong. Fixing all his wrongs won’t make your marriage wonderful, you also need to deal with your wrongs.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I have more than enough of my own stuff to deal with!