Has your spouse ever assumed the worst of you? Have you ever assumed the worst of your spouse? Hardly a marriage escapes this happening at some point, but rarely do spouses choose to reverse the trend of negative assumptions and replace them with assuming the best.
When we assume the worst our minds are driven by fear, anger, confusion, and pride. We make dark judgments about our mate’s intentions and motives. As a result, our minds begin to conjure up scenarios about their underlying aim. Anger, hurt, and misunderstanding can well up in our heart and mind. We distance ourselves emotionally. Sometimes we may even accuse our spouse of things that aren’t at all what they were meaning to project. Ultimately, loneliness can get anchored in our marriage because there are now two lonely, well-intentioned but misunderstood people.
So how can we break free from the trap of assumptions? Here are four things you can begin today to build your marriages with right thinking:
1) Release your right to question motives
The Bible is clear that “motives are weighed by the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:2). When we assume we know and understand our spouse’s intentions, we create a scenario in which they have already lost. We lose as well because our misunderstanding leads to a misinformed reaction that perpetuates the hurt and distance with our spouse.
2) Consider the alternatives
Look at the situation from your spouse’s perspective. What might your spouse be facing, feeling, thinking? Are they under stress at work? How are the dynamics with their extended family? Are they simply expressing habits that they’ve formed over the years verses doing things to specifically spite you?
3) Listen to understand
To avoid false accusations, ask questions to get at the heart of the matter. A couple of good lead-in statements to learn someone’s thinking include:
“Help me understand….” This phrase communicates that you are the listener and your spouse is empowered to teach. It can set the stage for a healthy dialogue.
“When that happened, I felt….” No one can legitimately argue with your feelings because they are yours! This allows you to express how you were impacted without assigning blame and thus escalating the tension and division.
4) Verbalize the best
Make it a daily habit to tell your spouse things that you appreciate about who they are. Focus on character qualities such as: their work ethic, love for family, humility, drive, passion, intelligence, tenderness, mercy, etc. As you communicate these things, you will begin to think about your spouse with your mind permeated with the positive instead of the negative.
What have you done to retrain your mind so you are assuming and thinking the best of your spouse? Start today with these four steps and build your marriage!