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Is it My Fault or His?

Jan 25th, 2009 by Dr. Elia | 0

Dear Dr. Elia,

Years ago our bishop referred us to you and we had a handful of visits before we moved out of state. Life has certainly been an adventure since then but my marriage continues to be a source of great pain and confusion for me.

Do you think there are sometimes problems in a marriage that don’t really stem from the relationship but from one of the spouses personality disorders? Do you think a man who has had numerous secretive emotional and/or physical relationships outside his marriage, even after church disciplinary action, is reacting to “problems” in his marriage or problems in himself that are unacknowledged and unresolved? My spouse loves the idea of love, and the beginning intense period of a new relationship but lacks the ability to weather storms, cope with challenges, and generally stay committed through the ups and downs of family life. He continues to blame me for marital unhappiness, which to him means, his unhappiness. My happiness is never addressed. I feel like all the counseling in the world wouldn’t help us unless he finally acknowledges that the reasons he has violated marital vows are only about him. What do you think? There is a school of thought out there that if one is fulfilled in their relationship they won’t cheat. I say if you are the cheating kind there isn’t anything your spouse could do to make marriage more fulfilling for you.You have to change yourself.


Dear MRS,

You bring up some excellent points about marital relationships. In the
CD The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Surviving to Thriving, I talk
about some of the issues in your marriage. First of all, there are 4 red
flags or what would be considered as “withdrawals” from you marital

Number one on the list is Selfishness and Pride. Every form of sinful,
destructive or addictive behavior has its basis in selfishness. Of
course, your happiness is never addressed! It takes humility or in other
words, an absence of pride for your husband to admit that the reasons
for any violation of his marital vows are about him.

Unfortunately, I have known far too many men who have strayed from their
marital vows, even though they were married to wonderful, loving and
faithful wives. So I tend to agree with you in that the responsibility
lies with the individual. I’ve also known plenty of men who are “just
surviving” in their relationships and yet CHOOSE not to be unfaithful.

Your husband sounds like he has some unresolved issues that may even
predate meeting you. Until those are brought to the surface,
acknowledged and worked through, he will continue to struggle…and in
essence so will you. The idea that he likes “falling in love” and seeks
it elsewhere is a sign of emotional immaturity. The inability to weather
storms, cope with challenges, and stay the course through the ups and
downs of his marriage, is further evidence that he stills needs to “grow
up” emotionally.

In case you were wondering, the other 3 red flags in a marriage are,
lack of forgiveness, criticisms and control or unrighteous dominion.
Obviously there’s more information as to the deposits one can make to
create a thriving marriage! I’d love to hear your feedback after you
listen to the cd. Let me know if you have any other questions.

God bless,

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.

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