There are so many marriage killers but assumptions may be one of the worst. So often when people are trying to rescue their marriage, the focus is on what we say and how we say it. We’ve all heard that we should never use the words ‘never’ or ‘always.’ We are told to be respectful, polite, and kind when speaking to our spouse. The old saying is thrown in our face:
If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all!
These are all good, but today, I don’t want to talk to you about what you are saying. No, I want to talk to you about what you are thinking in your relationship. I want to talk to you about the quick assumptions that kill the marriage and how to stop doing it.
If you are an athlete, you have probably heard the term ‘muscle memory.’ In sports, we train through drills, doing the same thing over and over again. When I was playing football, over and over again, I would trace my steps to get the gap I needed to cover based on what the offense was doing. The purpose is to do it so often that in the game, you don’t have to think. Your muscles just know what to do. Well, in relationships, we have emotional memory.
As soon as our spouse starts to say something similar to what others have said that made us feel unloved, unappreciated, disliked, disrespected, our emotions run away within us like a tsunami. Our emotions don’t wait to hear the whole thing. Our emotions systematically rush hurt, frustration, and offense into our heart like they always have in our life without knowing if this situation really is just like all those before. If your Dad always told you that you were lazy as soon as your wife asks why you didn’t get to the “honey-do’s”, your emotions are going to fill your spirit with the same stuff it used to when you Dad would go off on you. In fact, the emotions may be so strong that you stop really listening. Our emotional memory pushes us to make assumptions about what our spouse thinks or feels. We will read into their body language, facial expressions, or words something that is not there. And we are so sure that they are thinking what we think they are thinking that we don’t stop to ask if that is really what they are thinking. Then, we get angry, offended, hurt and this is usually followed up with frustration, yelling, screaming, locking yourself in the bathroom, storming out of the house, withholding sex, etc. Assumptions will kill the marriage. But here is the truth:
For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)
Even when you have known someone your whole life, you can still, at times, assume they feel or think something they don’t actually think or feel. It’s possible. But when we assume it to be true when it’s not and then act as if it is true, we create more hurt and the divide between spouses widens. Here are some tips to help stop the assumptions that will kill your marriage:
- In humility, try to reserve in your mind the possibility that what you think may not be correct
Yeah, that is a hard one. Yes, I am asking you to remember that you have been wrong before and that you have misunderstood what people were saying before. Remember, there have been times where it became clear that you assumed someone thought or felt something then realized you were wrong. It’s ok to be wrong. Rather than working so hard to not be wrong, we should work harder to protect the peace in the relationship.
- Be aware that you have often been misunderstood by people assuming they knew what you were thinking or feeling.
Yes, if people have done it to you, then don’t be so arrogant to think that you could also do it to someone else. It’s human nature. It’s emotional memory. It’s not that we are trying to do it. It is the pain of our past still working to control and destroy our future.
- Listen with patience.
Many of us do not realize that we do not listen with patience. We hear a couple of words from someone, our emotions realize that those few words are stirring up things from the past and that old fire burns again in our belly and we start thinking of our defense. When we get here, it is hard to control that fire and we start talking before they finish. We interrupt. Here is a good technique. Teach yourself to take a deep breath when they finish talking. You will be amazed at how often you thought they were done, but they really weren’t.
- Ask questions to clarify.
It is always a good idea to ask them if they feel what you assume they feel. Ask them if they are thinking what you are assuming they are thinking. Give them an opportunity to realize what is coming across to you and clarify.
These are four ways to save your marriage from assumptions. Keep a tight reign on that tongue of yours and use your words to build up the marriage, but also, keep a tight reign on what you are thinking and stop assuming!
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Security in Covenant
I came across a recent news article that quoted Justin Bieber. This is not an endorsement of Bieber nor his music, but I do believe from this quote that somewhere he was taught some Scripture.
“The security marriage gives you is make a covenant before God to love that person for better or worse, in sickness and in health, which is something that you’ve done amazing for me,” he said to Hailey.
Hailey is Justin’s wife and they are now doing a Facebook video series called “The Biebers on Watch.” With 77 million Facebook followers, Justin and Hailey spoke of the security of marriage that comes from a Covenant made before God to love unconditionally… Read More
Remember these? -Your vows?
So today, I am preparing for a wedding. How appropriate on Marriage Friday, right? In just a few short hours, I will stand before this beautiful couple and I will charge them with these very familiar words as part of their wedding vows:
Will you love, honor, and keep for richer-for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish til death do you part?
These vows have been in place for centuries. In fact, most of you reading this and me too, as I am writing this, remember repeating these words possibly in a church in front of a preacher… Read More
God is love (1 John 4:8) so if we are to know God, we must know love. God defines love for us in Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). He tells us that love never ends, love never fails, love endures all things, but does it?
The power of love is obvious. It is the love of God revealed through the Scripture, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that has released power to turn millions of hearts from pride and selfishness to love, humility, and generosity. He loved us first (1 John 4:19) and when we realize the depth of His love, we fall in love with Him and want to honor Him with our life. Lives are changed by the love of God in Jesus Christ… Read more
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