Are you responsible for your spouse’s happiness?

Of course not! How could you be? If your spouse has handed you “the keys” to their emotional wellbeing, please give them back!


When you notice that someone has tried to make you responsible for whatever it is that God has made them responsible for – their attitudes, their feelings, their behavior, their stress, their decisions, their depression, their optimism – invite them to embrace this reality: you may have a responsibility to them, but you can never be responsible for them.

When you are with an otherwise capable adult as if they were incapable of adult choices and unable to bear the adult consequences for those choices, there is an impact–a “fruit” that is produced. This happens whenever you persuade another to live irresponsibly.

The distinction of being responsible to vs. responsible for is central for any of us in leadership.

There’s actually great freedom when you are clear about this distinction, and lead in such a way that those you influence are clear about it too. To stand in life responsible to others and responsible for your own emotional being and destiny may call for courage you’ve not been willing to summon, up ‘till now.


–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at


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