How to Avoid the Blame Game in Life and Marriage

Quit blame-shifting and come clean in times of conflict with your spouse. #marriage #communication #temptation #conflict #Satan #verses #Bible #anger #blame #guilt

Do you remember the old “Staples” commercial that touted the easy button”? Oh, if only it could be that easy when we blow it in life and marriage!

  • Lose your temper with your spouse? Hit the easy button and all is forgiven!
  • Lie to your husband about all the new outfits you recently bought? Hit the easy button and the bills just disappear!
  • Get caught by your wife sending a flirtatious text to a coworker? Hit the easy button and no one is the wiser!

This is exactly why we try to blame-shift in marriage. We foolishly think that blaming our spouse or other factors in life will shift our problems and responsibilities away from us and out of sight!

Trouble is, there’s no easy button in real life, especially when it comes to taking responsibility in marriage.

That’s because there is no easy way around self-evaluation, confession and repentance.

So, allow me to catch you up to speed on our Marriage Battle Strategies series. Today, we’re moving on from the moment Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the garden, to what came next in Genesis 3:10-13.

4 Battle Strategies that Help You Avoid Blame-Shifting in Marriage

1. Avoid giving in to your fear and confess your sins to God.

He [Adam] answered [God], “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:10-11

Feeling afraid and exposed are natural consequences of the sins we commit. We feel afraid for a variety of reasons, but mostly because we feel shame and guilt over our sins.

Though it is not expressed in this passage, I’m sure that the serpent (also known as the Accuser) was whispering accusations in the ears of these two—stirring up their fears.

Is he doing that with you? Remember Romans 8:1-2

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 

Ironically, Satan tempts you to push the easy button while he much prefers to push your panic button!

He tells you that coming clean is much too hard and demoralizing. If you take that bait, you pick up where he left off, questioning whether it’s even productive to come clean with God or your spouse.

That’s when you’ll fall for the lie that running away from God is better than seeking the safety and cleansing of His embrace.

For how to confess and apologize, see number 4 below.

2. Resist the urge to blame your spouse.

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12

When fear and shame enter the picture, it’s so EASY to feel like the EASY way out of our pain and shame is to blame.

But when we blame our spouses, two things happen …

  • First, it disrespects, disparages and rejects them. Ouch!
  • Second, we don’t take the open door that frees us from our guilt and shame. Double ouch!

That open door is confession and repentance—aka taking responsibility.

I’ve learned to appreciate the freedom and connection that taking responsibility for my sin brings. But it’s still very hard and awkward for me while I’m walking through that “door.” I just try to remember that it only takes a minute to pass through!

So, the next time the door is open for you, envision the freedom and connection found on the other side. It might feel momentarily painful to walk over that threshold but the pain will quickly melt in sweet relief on the other side! Go for it!

3. Resist playing the “blame game.”

“The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12-13

Do you see it? Adam tossed the blame ball over to Eve and she spiked it back to the serpent. #blamegame

When we get into arguments or tension-filled moments, it’s so tempting to let what our spouses say or do determine our next move. But this is a “reaction” and not a response.

  • When you respond, you act responsibly.
  • However, when you react, you act codependently and recklessly.

One great way to respond in times of conflict or sin is to apologize (keep reading for how to apologize). Another healthy way to respond is to listen to your spouse’s feelings, validating whether you agree with them or not. Click the link to read a post on how to validate.

4. Give a humble and thorough apology.

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13

Granted, Eve did admit being deceived. However, this admission only justified her actions and avoided taking responsibility for them.

Think back to the last time your spouse confronted you about a sin that you committed. Did you blame-shift? Did you come up with a flimsy excuse to try and justify your actions?

I challenge you to humbly apologize to your spouse no matter how much time has elapsed.

If you don’t know how to go about it, click the links to view my post, How to Apologize Effectively, or download my Apology Template. These will guide you through the process of offering a thorough and sincere apology.

Next week, I hope you’ll join me as I continue in this Marriage Battle Strategies series. I’ll be taking a look at how the curse and cross factor into the spiritual battles we face in life and marriage.


Which of these strategies do you need to work on the most in your marriage and/or life? 


What fears do you have about coming clean in the heat of the moment? 

20 responses to “How to Avoid the Blame Game in Life and Marriage”

  1. In this long unfolding game
    of topsy-turvy married life,
    it’s easiest to place the blame
    right smack-dab upon your wife.
    After all, she’s not the head,
    and, hey, baby, that’s the breaks;
    so rather than own up, instead,
    she takes the fall for your mistakes.
    Be careful when you set the scene;
    don’t leave her with an alibi,
    and to show that you’re not mean,
    kiss her when you make her cry.
    Remember, though, when you are through,
    there’s Someone who is watching YOU.


    1. I love this one, Andrew! So clever, humorous and true! Not that you would ever do those things, right?! Lol! Thanks for coming by! I know it’s not easy at all but I do appreciate it! Hugs and prayers!


  2. I can relate to all of this! When I make mistakes, I hate apologizing–but I’m learning. It makes such a difference when we can apologize sincerely!


    1. Yes, I’m learning too, Anita! I think it just might be a life-long process! At least, for me! Thanks for coming by and joining the conversation!


  3. You know beth, when you’re newly married, you’re reminded that you should ‘adjust’ and ‘compromise’ with your companion – but after 22 years into the marriage, you question yourself, HOW LONG is this COMPROMISE going to continue ????? Its not like my husband is a rude or obnoxious person. I am married to a kind and caring man. Every need is taken care of – he is a wonderful father as well. We have our ups and downs – but who doesn’t ?
    But I wish I could just change his habit of the blame game. That’s the only thing annoying about him. He is actually so nice that just writing about him here feels, almost wrong.
    Your article is insightful.


    1. I’m so sorry that you’ve got this quandary, Naush. That’s quite a struggle when you know he’s so nice but doesn’t take responsibility when he blows it. I think I’d be very frustrated too, especially when the problem has persisted like you’ve said. I hope that you find the courage, humility and strength to do your part, even if he doesn’t do his. Hugs, my friend!


  4. “I’ve learned to appreciate the freedom and connection that taking responsibility for my sin brings” – this can be difficult to do but it’s oh so freeing. I’m being really blessed by this Battle Strategies series – thank you. I’ve shared! x


    1. I’m so glad to hear it, Wemi! It truly is freeing but so very hard sometimes! 😉 Thanks for coming by!


  5. It’s so easy to fall into the defensive stance of blame shifting. Next up is making excuses or giving explanations rather than simply listening. Many times, my husband just want’s to be heard.


    1. Yes, Ginger! I agree! I think we’re sort of hardwired to make excuses. I guess it goes back to this very moment at “the fall.” And I love your honest and tender admission–he just wants to be heard. Isn’t that the truth for all of us! Something we surely need to keep in mind at all times! Thanks for stopping by, my friend!


  6. This is such a helpful post! It is so important to humbly and gracious respond to one another instead of blame shifting! Such a great encouragement to me today! Thank you!


    1. I’m so glad you found it encouraging, Kristin! Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!


  7. “Justifying is just a fancy word for making an excuse when there is no excuse.” Great definition, Beth. Neil Anderson said, “If you’re wrong, you have no excuse. If you’re right, you don’t need an excuse.”


    1. I love Neil Anderson! Don’t remember that quote but it fits perfectly, Debbie! Nice to see you in my neck of the woods–or cyberspace! Lol! I hope you are doing well!


  8. Great post Beth! I have always found this interaction in Genesis so interesting. Adam blames God and then Eve and then Eve blames the serpent. No one actually admits to doing the wrong. Yet God still loved them enough to sacrifice for them and extend grace to them. I am definitely pinning and sharing!


    1. Yes! Isn’t that the wonderful truth that emerges, Angela?! God still loved them enough to sacrifice for them! That’s where I’m headed next week–how the cross crushes the curse. I hope you’ll come back by! Hugs to you!


  9. Hey Beth,
    This is my first time on your site and thanks for sharing your story in the video below your bio. It’s encouraging and awesome to hear how God worked in your life, marriage, and family!

    I love what you’re doing!


    1. Hi Jed, I think you’ve visited here before. At least, I remember you from years ago. Glad to see you back around and thanks so much for your encouragement!


  10. It’s better to be “wrong” than to pass blame, but every thing inside me wars against this! Thank you so much for the rational, biblical perspective.


    1. Yes, me too, Michele! The “flesh” sure does want to reemerge in key moments! Thanks for coming by, my friend!


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