Personal accountability also referred to as taking responsibility for your own actions, is a key component of any marriage or long-term relationship. It’s important to ask yourself if you are living up to the standards that you have set in your own expectations for yourself and in your partner’s expectations of you.
The five steps listed below will help develop personal accountability in any type of marriage or long term relationship.
1. Be aware of your expectations.
Expectations are your own and if not communicated to your partner, he or she cannot live up to them. Look at the high standards you have set for yourself and again for your partner, and decide if they are realistic.
You need to be vocalise what these areas it is an extremely important part of creating trust and a working relationship. If you are not vocalising your expectations of your partner, they can’t be communicated effectively to him or her.
2. Make plans to meet your expectations.
You need to communicate in some form with what you expect from each other. Using a written plan is the best way, but this should be specific as to what you are expecting from your partner and how he or she can meet your expectations.
This could be anything from actions that you expect, conversation and/or gift-giving etc… The more specific you are in the plan, the easier it will be for your partner to follow through.
3. Review your plan to make sure it is achievable.
Having a plan is only as good as the commitment factor of both partners. Set realistic dates for review of progress and revisit the expectations that have been set if necessary. Don’t forget to give positive feedback when these are met, even if it’s a little criticism now and then. This allows you to keep things in perspective and be more tolerant if things aren’t working out perfectly according to your plans.
4. Use accountability as a motivating factor for yourself and your partner.
You can either review the plan with your partner or do it individually. By doing it individually, you can hold yourself accountable for the changes that need to be made, but also hold your partner accountable when you have been unable to make these changes on your own.
When you do the review together, don’t get into a big argument over how things aren’t getting done. Instead, come at it in the form of a discussion and not an argument. Use this time as an opportunity to learn why things are not going as planned and then get into a solution mode on how to correct the problem.
5. Reward yourself and your partner for your ongoing efforts to achieve plan goals.
Rewarding yourself will encourage you to continue making changes, whereas rewarding your partner will encourage her or him to continue with his or her own changes. Don’t overdo it though, as this will become demotivating. If you set your goals at reasonable levels and still can’t achieve these, that’s okay. Keep trying until you finally get there after a few tries.
In all, the key to holding yourself and your partner accountable is to be realistic in what you expect from each other and then communicating those expectations clearly. It’s also important to review your expectations regularly so you can find out how they may have changed over time. And finally, you have to be proactive in trying to achieve your plan goals and reward yourself along the way.
When you live up to your own expectations and those of your partner, it will help everyone live a rich and fulfilling life together.
Bonus tips on a successful marriage
Well we love giving unsolicited advice so on top of this here are some tips to help all marriages succeed.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
This is the key to any successful relationship. It’s the number one thing that you need to work on if things are not going just right in your marriage/relationship.
It is also important to remember that communication can be done in many ways, talking is not the only one! You can talk or write a letter or an email or even text message.
2. Celebrate the little things.
Life is full of little everyday events that you may not even notice, but are important and have a meaningful impact on your relationship. These can even be small gestures like helping out with the dishwashing or doing the laundry. We know this sounds trivial but that is what they are!
3. Focus on positive actions from your partner.
When you’re feeling down about something, take some time to think about the ways your partner has shown love and support for you. This will help you focus on all the positive things in your relationship rather than what is not working out.
4. Be honest with each other.
Honesty will lead to trust and this is the most important thing that promotes a good relationship between two people.
5. Stay in the present moment.
Focus on what is happening right now and not on what you didn’t get done yesterday or over the last few days. When you focus on past events or what you haven’t done, you can end up in endless frustration and stress which will eventually break your spirit and ruin your relationship.
6. Accept each other for who they are without any expectations of who they should be.
Each of you has good and bad points, accept them both and don’t try to change your spouse to be someone else. Rather, learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
7. Laugh with each other, not at each other.
There is nothing more powerful than laughter in a relationship, it’s a great way to relieve tension that builds up between two people. And again has the added bonus of increasing trust between two partners.
8. Express love every day.
Only express your love for each other every day because it can be hard to do, but it’s the most powerful way to show love to your spouse. Any action that you do for another person should be done with the intention of showing them that you love them and care about them, not just a desire to get something in return.
9. Accept the differences between you and your partner.
We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, so accept that. Accept your differences and you will also be able to accept your partner’s strengths and weaknesses as well. This will make a relationship work.
10. Share each other’s secrets.
Spouses should never be in the dark about each others issues, no matter how small they may seem to you. This is vital in maintaining a healthy relationship because when you don’t know the things that your partner is going through, it can lead to misunderstandings and frustrations in your relationship.
11. Give each other your full attention.
If you’re with someone who is not paying attention to you, stop what you’re doing and speak to them by looking at them and repeating back what they’ve just said. If this doesn’t work, try giving them a call, sending a text or email or even going somewhere else for a while.
12. Show each other affection.
Small gestures like kissing or hugging or even touching each other’s hands or arm can make a huge difference in the relationship. This will also help you to form an emotional connection with your partner as well, which is important for a loving relationship or marriage.
Personal accountability in a marriage is so important because it keeps your marriage strong and healthy. This doesn’t mean that you need to be held accountable for everything but on average, most couples are not able to hold themselves accountable for everything either. Therefore, using the relationship and accountability secrets listed above will help you to stop blaming each other and instead, take control to change the things that you both need to change in order to improve the relationship that you now have.
Remember when performing these actions repeatedly they will start to become second nature for you to do and then after a while, they will become automatic because of your new habit of holding yourself and your partner accountable.
If you are in a relationship that isn’t working out how it should or is leaving you feeling stressed, then it’s important to make some changes to help your relationship become the best that it can be.
Looking for help? Need some tips?
We have a great guide on developing personal accountability here.