Imagine… a man impregnates a woman and abandons her. There are certain people who would say he is a deadbeat and was wrong for leaving her. Other people may claim she shouldn’t have allowed him to get her pregnant, because he had not married her and he is not an ideal father or partner.
Or, another man cheats and people blame him for straying. Some other people blame the woman that he cheated with. The cheating man claims he couldn’t help it because he is a man and he has needs that his wife did not meet.
The woman he cheated with says it’s not her fault, because she was having problems with her husband and was seeking solace by cheating. It is true that the man should not have cheated on his wife and the woman should not have cheated on her husband.
It is also true that the best situation for a woman to become pregnant in is when she is married to a husband who loves her and will provide for and protect her and their children. This is God’s plan for a family. It is true that an immature, irresponsible man should not impregnate anyone and it is also true that a woman can choose to say no to sex outside of marriage.
Nowadays, personal responsibility and accountability seem to be a problem with plenty people. What’s with the blame game?
Blaming others is easy. Yet, as an adult, I am 100% accountable and responsible for what I do. The truth of the matter is that I am responsible for doing what is wise and right according to the knowledge I have, to the best of my ability..
Plenty people have toxic and dangerous relationship situations. Their personal choices got them there. I know that as an individual, I am responsible for my decisions and behaviors. This includes my choice of partner or my spouse selection.
When men and women take personal responsibility and accountability for their actions, it makes things better all around. Taking responsibility allows for improvement. When it comes to relationships, it takes two.
I often talk about women holding men accountable, but women are accountable as well. As women, blaming others for the decisions we make will not help us or improve things over all.
These are important responsibilities that I keep in mind.
1) Keep God first
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6: 33 (KJV)
Women may or may not be followers of Jesus Christ, but as a follower of Jesus Christ myself, I am responsible to put and keep God first. The goal is to please and glorify Him in all that I do.
2) Pursue knowledge.
“The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15.
First and foremost, there is Bible knowledge. I am responsible for studying the word of God and learning from it. Also, knowledge and understanding can be obtained through prayer.
There are other valid sources of information that can be researched. There are also family members and friends who have had experiences and gained knowledge as a result.
It is good to talk to people and learn from them, as long as they are credible sources. There are all kinds of things to learn about, including relationships, lifestyles, formal education and more.
3) Learn from mistakes.
I have made plenty mistakes. I know I will make mistakes in the future. We all make mistakes. A big problem is to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
It is madness to repeat the same mistakes and hope for different outcomes. I always should be learning from my experiences. It would not be wise for me to try the same mistakes on various men. For example, let’s say I may be lacking wisdom and lacking knowledge of my own worth and end up in a toxic relationship.
I choose a man based on his height, physique, and eye color. Imagine, I have a baby with this man. Things go south more and more until we break up. I move on, find another man of a similar height, physique, and begin a relationship with him. Then, I have baby number two with him.
This relationship also winds up being toxic in very similar ways as the last one. I leave him and go for another man of similar appearance and good looks. I let my guard down again and have a baby with him also.
In these hypothetical situations, I have chosen men based on the same superficial traits, instead of choosing wisely, based primarily on character qualities. There is nothing wrong with having personal preferences, but they should take a back seat to character traits.
When I chose the first man based primarily on appearance (hypothetically), I should have learned my lesson. Then it happened a second time… and a third time.
I see some women doing these types of things- repeating the same mistakes over and over again. It’s like some are choosing the same man over and over again in a different body, but somehow believing things will be different.
Sometimes, we simply don’t know better than what we are doing at first. We certainly don’t start out knowing everything we should know. But when we make a mistake, that is the time to learn from it.
Some cases, it takes several mistakes in order to learn a lesson. However, the same mistakes being repeated over and over again should not become anyone’s lifestyle.
4) Apply knowledge I obtain.
What good does it do me if I learn some things and then don’t apply the new knowledge in my endeavors?
5) Don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Learning valuable lessons is very important. There is no need for me to gamble by repeating mistakes, hoping for a different outcome each time.
6) Do not accept/ tolerate ill treatment in a relationship.
We are not to hate ourselves, but to love ourselves in a healthy way and take care of ourselves. This will reflect in how we allow others to treat us. People who love themselves take good care of themselves (Ephesians 5: 29).
• For me, this means no tolerating cheating.
• No tolerating spiritual, emotional, verbal, physical or any other kind of abuse.
• It means having right standards and setting healthy boundaries.
• It means not compromising on core values, or negotiating the non-negotiables.
This does not cancel out the need to be realistic in recognizing that humans are flawed. It doesn’t cancel out the need to show others grace and forgiveness. Will there be disagreements, tiffs, arguments, trials and tribulations?
Absolutely and realistically, yes. At some point, these things will happen. I understand the way to deal with these things is in the right, mature way, in as peaceful manner as possible.
I understand we make mistakes, but should sincerely apologize and be working on ourselves to do better and be better. This is common sense, but often, conflict is not handled correctly between people. We don’t always do what we know is right to do.
One problem is that when people are not living to please god, there’s a lot less incentive for them to handle stress, drama, conflict and problems in general correctly.
7) Choose prayerfully, carefully and wisely, a noble man who shares my core values.
“Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 19: 14)
It is not about choosing a “perfect man.” A perfect man does not exist. When some people learn of my standards, I have been told by them that no one is perfect. I never indicated that I was looking for perfection.
I am fully aware of the fact that noone is perfect, including myself. However, no one is perfect, and it is still not too much to ask, to require a faithful, respectful, loving partner who I can grow with and handle the ups downs of life in a healthy way.
8) Treat others well, practicing the golden rule.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets”
(Matthew 7: 12).
No matter who I am dealing with, the golden rule still stands. In a relationship or marriage, I should treat my partner or spouse with respect, love, kindness appreciation, faithfulness.
My aim should be selflessness, not selfishness. We live in an age of narcissism and self-centeredness, so selflessness is unpopular and counteracting to the culture.
I should respect myself, and my decisions should reflect my self-respect. Self-respect is important, generally speaking. When it comes to relationships, some women who don’t value or respect themselves attract men who don’t value and respect them.
10) To love.
“He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Luke 10: 26-27. I am to love God above all else, and love others, as well as myself.
The blame game is common. Taking ownership and holding myself accountable for what I do and the consequent outcomes may be at times difficult. However, it is also one of the most beneficial things I can do. Taking personal responsibility and accountability is equally important for everyone, including women.
Used with permission from Petrina Ferguson.