The smallest things push my “guilt button,” and I know this has a negative effect on my marriage. What should I do?
“I could’ve done this.”
“I should’ve done that.”
“If I could do it over, I would’ve done this.”
How many times have you spoken to yourself this way? Do you ruminate often about things you probably shouldn’t worry about? Do you have a constant wave of regret and second-guessing that leads to an unhealthy self-perception? These thought patterns can easily become addictive and toxic if you allow yourself to settle into them.
Did you know that loading yourself down with unreasonable guilt leads to shame–and these mindsets can harm your relationship with your spouse? If it’s not properly dealt with, this type of guilt snowballs and creates problems much larger than the “guilty party” could possibly imagine at the onset.
Guilt can sabotage your marriage and your intimacy like few other things because it makes you unwittingly selfish. It numbs your capacity for empathy and turns your primary focus inward, instead of outward onto your spouse. You become so preoccupied with the inner negative feelings associated with the guilt or shame you’re experiencing that you can no longer be the husband or wife you need to be for your spouse’s sake (and your own, too).
It’s healthy to feel remorseful if you’ve done something wrong or hurtful to someone, or if you have made a decision or taken an action in your life that was morally wrong. But don’t confuse healthy remorse or godly sorrow with the kind of guilt we’re talking about here. This kind of guilt is toxic, draining, and will sink your marriage if you let it in.
In today’s video, we discuss what perpetual guilt does to individuals and to marriages.
Do you saddle yourself with loads of unnecessary guilt? Have you been able to shed that guilt–and if so, what did you do to overcome it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.