Myth 7: It’s your fault, because “it takes two to tango.”
TRUTH: It only takes one destructive spouse to make a marriage dangerous.
This myth says you cannot claim to be innocent. You must bear significant
blame in this marital breakdown.
Some variations on this myth include:
- “It takes two to tango.”
- “You must have done something to deserve it.”
- “Marital problems are always 50/50.”
- “You both share responsibility.”
- “You can’t claim to be the innocent spouse. Everyone’s at fault.”
- This myth makes everything 50% your fault. It’s called mutualizing.
Abusive and unfaithful spouses are experts at this; they mutualize the sin and blame it on you.
- “If you hadn’t _________, I wouldn’t have __________.”
- “I cheated because you ______________.”
- “You deliberately pushed my buttons.”
- “If you do that again, I’m going to blow up, and who knows what
- I might do when I get angry.”
- “Even if I did those things, you claim to be a Christian, and you should forgive me and get together again.”
- “Both sides…” or “But what about you?”
The truth is: It only takes ONE destructive spouse to make a marriage dangerous.
There is nothing the victim can do to ensure the other spouse does not sin.
A wise Christian counselor met with a man and his unfaithful wife (she had cheated on him many times). Watch how the counselor handled it:
She didn’t allow the wife to make her husband equally guilty. In the husband’s words—
My adulterous former wife said she was repentant and said she wanted to do counseling to put our marriage back together again. We found a Christian counselor and set a meeting. …Right away, my ex started in on how she did things because of me. Each time the therapist stopped her and said, “Don’t you think you had other choices?”
Unfortunately, not all counselors and friends are this savvy. In some cases, well-meaning but overly idealistic friends may not even listen to your claim of innocence, especially if they have heard and bought into your spouse’s explanations, denials, and lies. They can’t bring themselves to face the truth. They cannot accept that someone they like—someone like your spouse—can be that way. They interrupt, dismiss serious problems, and try to pin the blame on you. They cannot enter the pain because they dislike uncomfortable things that might require them to act, so they avoid it.
For more on this myth, read Chapter 3 in The Life-Saving Divorce.