For a big part of my marriage I have been blaming my wife for how unhappy I was in certain situations. She has also been blaming me for a lot of stuff (Of which I am guilty of many) and this has kept us in a constant Impasse with no real resolution on particular sensitive issues. So we tend to walk around these issues like broken glass with tension that could break a glass and make either of us flare up in anger, and as usual we blame each other for the way we feel.
You may have a chip on your shoulder and not even realize it.
This odd expression means you’re spoiling for a fight, or at least an argument. It supposedly comes from the American practice in the 1800’s of putting a chip of wood on your shoulder and daring someone to knock it off. The person with the chip was angry, looking for someone to inflict that anger upon.
Later, the term came to mean someone who is argumentative or just plain cantankerous
We’ve all said, “You make me so mad!” But when we blame others for the way we feel, we’re giving them the ownership of our emotions. That means they’ll become the landlord of our feelings, and we’ll expect them to fix everything.
Renting a house is easier than owning one. But renters aren’t nearly as committed to maintenance and repair, and they’re restricted on making improvements. When someone owns a home, he or she dreams of the possibilities and makes the changes happen. The sky’s the limit — but owners often have to do the work themselves.
Marriages never thrive when spouses rent the relationship, expecting their husband or wife to be responsible for fixing their feelings. If we become the owners of our emotions, we’re free to be co-owners of the relationship. Together with our spouse, we have the potential to build something great.
The truth is that no one can force us to feel. Sure, our husband or wife can do something, and we become angry or frustrated or defeated. It’s not something we planned; it just happened. But what we do next is up to us, not up to our spouse.
It’s the difference between a reaction and a response. A reaction is just an emotion. It’s not right or wrong, it just is. Our spouse says or does something, and an emotion pops to the surface. He or she didn’t plant that emotion in us; it was ours.
The spiritually and emotionally mature person understands when it’s time to move on. Living in the past–always looking behind you–gives you a permanent kink in the neck, and that’s painful.
Two year-old children throw tantrums and even though it’s obnoxious, we tend to overlook it because of their age. In thirty year-or fourty year olds, it’s downright scary.
Carrying a chip on your shoulder harms you the most. People steer away from you; you’re like a vicious dog that may bite with the slightest provocation. Friendships fall apart. The more people avoid you, the more bitter you get.
Often, we assume that we’re stuck with that emotion — that there’s nothing we can do about it. But a response acknowledges that while the emotion is real, we can choose what we do with it. If we stay stuck, we’re waiting for the landlord to do something. But if we take ownership of that feeling, we’re free to move forward in a healthy way.
Owning our emotions means staying on our own side of the court. We can’t force a spouse to change, but the choices we make will influence him or her. There are never guarantees, but there is always hope. When we spend all our time focusing on the faults of others, we don’t have time to work on our own.
Matthew 7: 3-5 “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Will Frank – @ariseinchrist