Accountability in Christian relationships is a conversation that is becoming more and more popular in Christian circles. However, even with the growth and popularity of the concept of accountability, there are many couples that are still unable to live a life that is pleasing to God and honoring each other. It seems to us today that the term accountability is used casually and carries very little or no meaning to many Christian couples.
After observing several Christian relationships we thought it would be helpful if we wrote this article and do a youtube video to help bring clarity to what accountability in Christian relationships really means.
Definition of Accountability
According to the dictionary accountability is defined as;
the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.
This is pretty clear when we are defining accountability as a general term.
What is Christian Accountability
Unlike the general definition above, Christian accountability needs a little bit more definition for it to bring out the meaning and weight that it carries. In our journey with couples, we have come to the conclusion that Christian accountability falls into two main things.
We define accountability in Christian relationships as; the permission we give someone else over our relationship, allowing ourselves to be accountable to a person or persons.
This permission involves two things: Allowing them to be involved in our,
When we say process, what we mean is, it’s not automatic, every relationship goes through different seasons and this is what we call the process. It is in this process that we need accountability, when things are good and when things are bad. Giving someone else permission to walk with you through this season is what we call accountability.
When we talk about accountability in Christian dating, the relationship does not just involve the two parties, but we need to involved God in the process. This brings us to our second point. Accountability in Christian relationships is not just about your relationship with each other but also about your relationship with God. Giving someone else the permission over your relationship is giving them permission to point you back to Christ over and over.
In Psalm 119:105 the Psalmist talks about God’s word being a lamp at our feet. The goal of the relationship is for the person holding you accountable to point you back to the word where it can light up your path.
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
If a couple understands that they are not just accountable to the human partner but also to God they tend to work better in dealing with their issues in a way that honors each other and gives God glory. In the same Psalm 119:9, the psalmist also touches on how a young man can keep his way pure, which should be the goal of you as a Christian couple and brings clarity to the concept of accountability in Christian relationships.
9How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word.
Psalm 119:9 (Berean Study Bible )
Let me touch on the giving permission part and elaborate further on how that practically works. Giving permission is allowing the person or person’s to;
- Point you to Christ
- Pray with you
- Ask you tough questions
- Give you wise counsel
- Encourage You
- Build you up
- Challenge you
- Listen to you
- Be real with you
- Care for You
Why Accountability Matters
As we mentioned earlier in the post, no relationship is perfect because a relationship is about two imperfect people that have fallen in love wanting to build a perfect happily ever after. This is where all of us desire or aspire to be, which is hard due to the reality of our background, our views, values, personality, and perspective about life. This is not to say that it can’t happen but it requires a lot of intentionalities and that’s why we are having this conversation about accountability in Christian relationships.
With the reality of our differences and what we bring to the relationship, hurting each other is inevitable. At one point in your relationship, you will find yourself celebrating, hurt, or hurting the person you love. This is not because you’re a bad person but because we are not perfect and we need Jesus to work on us as we work on our relationship.
Accountability in Christian relationships is important because it helps us navigate those hard seasons better. This is by giving us a different view about what we are going through, pointing us back to Jesus, and helping us see things from a neutral or a different angle. This includes the two things we mention in the post above, helping you with the process and helping you build your relationship and make it better.
Accountability helps you as a couple to have conversations that you might not have had if it was just the two of you, either because of not knowing how to navigate those conversations or the fear of how those conversations will turn out. This might be out of fear, insecurity, or past experiences that involved hurt.
Functions of accountability Person
Help You Navigate Issues
The goal of accountability in Christian relationships is to help the couple navigate issues and make their relationship better. Everyone needs someone to talk to, you cannot live life in isolation actually my wife and I advise couples to not have a secret relationship, instead we ask them to find other couples and do life together.
Help you point back to the main thing
Another goal is to help the couple keep the main thing as the main things. Dating couples tend to drift a lot especially during crises and having someone to remind you what the main thing is will make a difference.
Help You See Things In a Different Angle
Everyone wants a happy relationship and sometimes that means having someone else helping you see things in different lenses and that’s where accountability comes in.
Helps build your relationship
A healthy accountability relationship will leave you better, healthier, wiser, and ready for marriage. As you join an accountability group or partner. We believe that every relationship needs to develop in these three areas.
- Spiritually (grow deeper with God)
- Emotionally (Sensitive to each other’s feelings)
- Mentality ( addressing the issue from a mature place)
Quality of a good accountability partner
So I have shared with you what accountability in Christian relationships is all about and maybe you are asking the question of how or where should I start in finding one. Well, this list will give you the quality you should be looking out for in a good accountability partner. I admit this is not a complete list, some things might be added depending on your context and relationship goals. This list will give you a good starting point.
- Mature In Christian Faith
- Present and Available
- Honest and Graceful
- Bold in asking the right and tough questions
- Real with the two of you
- Care about the two of you
- Authentic and Intentional
- Willing to Listen
- Reliable (Someone you can count on)
- Has Emotional Intelligence
- Not easily Manipulated
Christian Accountability Partner Expectations
When I started dating my now wife in 2019, we made a deliberate decision to talk about expectations not only in the relationship but what we expected from our accountability partners. Having this conversation with your partner will help you avoid some misunderstanding when it comes to what you share and how you share with your accountability partners. Having clarity in the direction the two of you are heading is very important especially if you are looking to involving someone else in your relationship.
- Expect your accountability person to ask you hard questions
- Expect them to suggest what you need to change
- Expect them to disagree with you
- Expect them not to side with you when you are wrong
- Expect them to rebuke you with God’s word
- Expect them to challenge you
- Expect them to point you to Christ
- Expect them not have all the answers
Characteristics of an accountable person
Are you really ready for accountability? Accountability in Christian relationships is a two-way journey or process. I will repeat this a couple of times in this article to keep emphasizing the importance of honesty from both parties.
As we discussed earlier, accountability has to be an intentional decision. Hence, accountability has to be taken seriously. It is a pathway that helps your relationship become better. Below are some of the things you need to put in mind as you start the journey of being kept accountable. Consider to be;
- Accept correction
- Accept to be challenged
- Accept the truth
- Willing to change behavior
- Be Open-minded
Let’s face it some of these things are not automatic, they will require some work from your end. As you take time to think about them and work around getting an accountability partner we suggest you first look deep inside you and work on yourself.
Don’t miss understand me, am not saying you have to be perfect for you to be accountable; all am saying is don’t ignore these things. Accountability in Christian relationships is two-way traffic you expect the accountability partner to be honest and on the flip side, they expect you to be honest too.
Signs of unhealthy accountability
A friend of mine recently called me and told me that he wanted out from his accountability relationship. I was curious to know what really happened in their relationship. I wanted to know why he was so convinced that it was not what he expected. To be honest, not every accountability relationship will work, some will do while others will struggle. Even as we talk about accountability in Christian relationships we want you to be aware of these realities.
Your ability to recognize when a relationship is getting unhealthy will save you a lot of time and pain. In this list, we provide you with some red flags to watch out for if you are in an accountability relationship with a person or persons. This list will carry different aspects depending on the goal of the accountability relationship and the context so make sure you access your context first before you consider these suggestions.
- When the person contradicts with what the scripture says about a particular matter
- When the person or persons’ keep belittling you and your relationship
- When the person doesn’t practice what they “preach”
- When the person is unavailable and never creates time for you
- When you no longer feel safe with them
- When the conversation doesn’t bring glory to God.
- When there is any kind of abuse
- When someone starts being disrespectful to you or to your relationship
- When the personal always sides with your partner all the time even when they are in the wrong
- codependency (When you start relying on them, emotionally and physically for your relationship to work)
- When you keep feeling judged all the time
- When information starts leaking
Healing from past hurts
We have also had couples who have come to us and have expressed the hurt from a previous accountability relationship. For one couple, they did not want to engage in any other accountability relationship because the pain was too much. For another couple, they did want to be kept accountable but then they would not get to a point of honesty and transparency and this affected the accountability relationship.
The reality of any relationship is that you might get hurt from it, get disappointed, or even get verbally, emotionally, or physically abused. This sometimes leads to a difficult season of not wanting to trust anyone who might intend to be in your best interests. Here are some of the ways you can start to heal from a past accountability relationship so as to cope and invite another accountability person/ persons to be part of your relationship life. As we continue having this conversation about accountability in Christian relationships we hope these questions with the help you in your journey of healing.
- Take time out to ask yourselves how and why you got hurt. As well as what got you hurt.
- Write down some of the benefits from the accountability relationship.
- Write down some of the cons from the accountability relationship.
- Give yourselves time to process what happened as well as work on getting better.
- Seek counsel from someone who is on a neutral ground for example a therapist, who would not side with any of you to find out the impact of the hurt and help you let out what would have happened.
- Ask yourselves whether you would still like to have an accountability relationship.
- Start the journey of finding your place in terms of taking steps to get to a point where you are willing and ready to get into another accountability relationship.
Christian Accountability Questions
Since we got married, my wife and I have been mentoring and getting into the discipleship of young couples, nonstop. It has become our new ministry and mission in life. Actually our mission as a couple is to make it better for other young couples. As a couple, we have found this simple question to be effective in kick-starting a relationship with other couples either as we disciple them or just keeping them accountable. If you are looking to join the club we suggest these Christian accountability questions that you can use as a starting point.
We suggest you look carefully into your relationship with the couple to access which question is best to start with. As we look at accountability in Christian relationships we believe that building a good foundation with the person will create a good platform for the accountability relationship to work better. So we suggest you invest in building the relationship in your early stages of the process.
- How is your personal relationship with God?
- How far is too far in regards to sexual boundaries?
- How do you solve conflicts?
- What’s the goal of the relationship?
- What’s your view about money (my money is my money or my money is our money)?
- Whats is the recurring conflict so far?
- Do you know your partner likes and dislike?
- What’s your definition of a good relationship?
- What are your personal boundaries?
Summary of accountability partner in Christian Relationships
Accountability conversation is becoming more and more evident in these present times. Accountability in Christian relationships is giving permission to someone else over our relationships and this can be in two main areas: the process and the relationship itself. One of the functions of this accountability is that it helps build your relationship and points you to Christ.
You have to be willing to be corrected, be told the truth and be challenged. One of the qualities that an accountability partner needs to have is to be trustworthy and being present in the relationship. Lastly is that when the accountability in Christian relationships becomes unhealthy, it is good to take time out and reevaluate how, why and what could have hurt from the relationship to get a better glimpse of getting into another accountability relationship.
Thank you friend for joining us today. I hope this article about accountability in Christian relationships was helpful to you. Please share and continue making your relationship better.
“Honey Let’s talk. When we talk we make it better.”