How Your Role Can Ruin Your Marriage
Play your role or watch your marriage die.
I decided to pay Mike the money we owed him,” Mercy told her husband Jim. “Apparently, you seem not to be concerned or bothered by accumulating debts and what people will say.”
Mercy was annoyed. She came from a background where people were expected to stand by their word. Therefore, it bothered her when her husband failed to take care of simple and straightforward duties.
The couple had discussed Jim’s seemingly “laid back” attitude on many occasions and Mercy had thought that this attitude would change after their marriage.
“Maybe the carefree single person’s attitude will go away one day and he will mature into a responsible man,” she had thought to herself.
Sometimes a year would pass and Jim would have done nothing about a particular issue, even after several reminders. He would claim that he had forgotten or that he was busy. But Mercy was concerned that Jim’s lack of seriousness involved more than just fixing little things in the house; he kept forgetting to attend to family business.
Strangely, Jim’s memory was quite good when it came to things that concerned him. And this would drive Mercy up the wall.
This behaviour may be referred to as dysfunctional role-playing in marriage.
Conflicts regarding role-performance, or the division of responsibilities in a marriage, are bound to occur. But if both partners are committed to resolving these differences amicably, then conflict will be minimised and help the relationship to mature.
If a couple experiences disharmony and arguments over marital expectations frequently, or if arguments seem to characterise the marriage, then the problem needs to be handled systematically by dealing with the core causes of the dysfunction. The partners should recommit themselves to prayer and to one another in an attitude of love and respect.
Simply defined, a dysfunctional role-playing in marriage refers to a deviation from the norms of social behaviour in a way regarded as bad or irresponsible on the part of a marriage partner and can produce conflict and disharmony.
When disharmony comes into a marriage, confusion and confrontation will ensue. On the other hand, well played roles help create understanding, thereby bringing harmony and peace. It also helps bring about a sense of identity and ownership in the marriage, creating a climate conducive for the couple to realise their potential.
In good and growing marriages, couples must make a deliberate effort to take the disclosure route when they talk about their sides that cause unease or discomfort in the relationship.
We have to understand that the dysfunction we see in relationships today may be as a result of the upbringing, exposure, convictions, beliefs, or values of a marriage partner.
Whatever the cause of the dysfunctions, a couple needs to identify and understand them and their impact on the relationship. Some dysfunctions may be unintended but still cause pain and disharmony.
If poorly managed, these dysfunctions will go against the God-given roles of a man and a woman in marriage. For example, man is called to manage his home by showing clear and dependable leadership to the family.
He is also called to manage his home by having obedient and respectful children. Therefore, in a situation where the man shows no interest in the children, does not spend time with his family, and is indifferent to the issues that affect the family, then he has failed in his role.
Husbands and wives are expected to perform many important roles if their marriage is to succeed. Therefore, they must both work equally hard, regardless of who is the cause of the dysfunction afflicting their relationship, to put their marriage back on the path of success.
Love is a requirement in a successful marriage. A husband needs not only to love his wife as he loves himself, but should also nurture and take care of his marriage by playing his role. Love is about being romantic as well as showing commitment to each other in both good and bad times