One of the fastest ways to wreck a marriage is to be possessive of your spouse. Many a husband has driven his wife away because of his insane jealousies and controlling behavior. Likewise, many wives have driven a wedge between themselves and their husbands because they simply were so possessive. It also affects the whole family as parents become possessive of their children. There are many reasons people become possessive, but the primary reason is they simply are seeking their own comfort. Our selfish human nature compels us to fight for our way! It is, however, a form of manipulation where people are being used to get what another wants. What is the antidote for possessive behavior? It is accountability! When we are accountable to God, our wife, our husband, and even our children, we let them go. When we comprehend that we are accountable for our words and conduct, we judge the impact of our actions on those around us. We refuse to hold on to people or things that we think will bring us pleasure. Instead, we seek their highest good.
Accountability is the quality of being accountable. It is an obligation and willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. It is the concept that teaches us that we are answerable to someone—first to God and then to our parents and to those who are in authority. Think of it as the antivirus security software on your computer that guards against viruses that want to get in and corrupt the files on your computer. The Great Wall of China is the greatest wall in the world, stretching over 1500 miles, thirty feet high, and eighteen feet thick. However, on several occasions, the enemy never had to climb the wall, they just had to bribe the gatekeeper to gain entrance. Accountability is the gatekeeper to our minds and hearts.
Accountability says I am a servant of God so I must live in submission to him. Accountability says to the husband and wife that they both must submit to each other. Paul says the husband must love his wife as Christ loved the church and be willing to die for her. She, in turn, must respect him (Eph 5:33). It is a picture of what marriage is supposed to look like, with each putting the other first. So many marriages could be turned around immediately if only they were willing to be accountable to each other.
When we live in accountability to those around us, we seek what is best for them as opposed to what is best for us. This is contrary to how our world teaches us to live. It is, however, exactly how Jesus told us to live, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:24). We have been trained to think that by getting all I can for me, I will have more—more happiness and more fulfillment. The opposite is really true. In giving more, I gain more. Accountability helps hold our feet to the fire so we live the way Jesus lived. You will know when a person is truly accountable because they refuse to control people; instead, they give them freedom.