Assumptions can be extremely hurtful to any relationship — most of all to a marriage. But they don’t have to be…
I’ve learned in the past year or so that we can actually use assumptions to our own advantage. It takes a little work — and trust me, I haven’t perfected this yet (who knows if I ever will…!), but it’s been super helpful when I have done it.
It’s something as easy as assuming the most helpful thing or the best intention in a situation. I sort of look at this as giving that other person (in my case, mostly my hubby) the benefit of the doubt. And I think if you’re dealing with someone you know and love well, we sort of owe that to them.
I’ve learned you can do this when someone says something and you’re not exactly sure what they mean. You can do this when someone does something, and you’re reading into it a bit… I’m totally guilty of this! And you can do this when you’re sitting at home over-thinking and re-playing a scenario in your head to understand what just happened.
Instead of jumping to the worst conclusion and getting upset over it (which I’ve totally done before — with friends and family, yikes!), stop yourself right there and ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is this good? Is this true?”
If it’s not helpful to you to think that thought, if it’s not good for you to think that thought, and if it’s unlikely that that is a true thought, then stop thinking it! Our Lord would not want you to waste your time thinking thoughts that are hurtful to you or hurtful to your relationship — especially if it’s your relationship with your husband. And, from personal experience, I can tell you that letting a negative thought fester … can be poisonous to your marriage.
And I’m all about non-toxic living nowadays 😉
So once you’ve asked yourself those questions (is it good, is it true, is it helpful?), the next step is to replace that thought with what is the most helpful thing to think in that situation.
For example, let’s say your husband bought you socks for your very first married Christmas. Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience here 😉
And let’s imagine that your personal love language is gifts, like mine is. Maybe you think to yourself that your husband knows your love language is gifts and he purposely bought you socks, and that that must mean… he doesn’t love you enough, he doesn’t want to share his socks with you anymore, he doesn’t think about what would be a thoughtful gift for you, and the list can go on and on. And that is one long rabbit hole to go down. It actually takes a lot of energy out of you to be thinking those things, and in the end, it’s useless – and hurtful.
Been there, done that — and suffered because it! Both of us.
So I’m learning and working on it… You see, I didn’t realize that I was making some assumptions about my husband that were totally not true, that were pretty unreasonable, and that were not helpful for either one of us.
The two of us have talked a lot about that gift — because we learned a lot from it. I learned how my husband gives gifts, and he learned a little bit more about how I think… sorry, honey!
I was assuming he wasn’t very thoughtful of me and that he didn’t take any time to think about what to get me — i.e. he probably ran out to buy some socks at the very last minute. But the truth was that he did think about it — a lot, and he thought about how I didn’t have any socks, and that I kept borrowing his, and that maybe I’d like to have my own pair of socks that fit my feet perfectly. He thought that would be a good gift — a helpful and practical gift; the kind of gift that he appreciates.
Now, it’s much easier to look back at this and think I should have been assuming the most helpful thing in this situation, which would be that my husband had good intentions and was very thoughtful about this gift. But it’s much harder to put that into practice for the next time something like this happens.
And these kinds of scenarios actually seem to happen pretty often in relationships if you think about it.
Sometimes you just don’t know what someone meant when they said something, or you wonder what the intention was behind what someone said or did.
And if it happens again (or, I should say when!), remember to ask yourself, “Is this good, true or helpful?” If your assumption isn’t one of those things, then stop yourself right there and assume the best!
I think we owe it to our husbands to do that, as well as our best friends and closest family members. We love them, they love us — so let’s try to remember that whenever they do or say something. It benefits them, but honestly, it also benefits us; in a way, its sort of like guarding our hearts against ourselves and what we put ourselves through unnecessarily.
And here’s another tip if you’re really struggling with this like I have… Check it out! If you don’t know what your hubby meant when he made a joke the other night about the laundry, or if you don’t know why someone gave you some cleaning products as a gift, ask ’em! Knowing the truth is always better than making a bad assumption.
“Grace and forgiveness are irreplaceable aspects of marriage,” and I truly believe that includes assuming the best intentions of one another, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and talking it out if it’s unclear.