It only took me 5 or so years, but I discovered that Anne wasn’t the biggest fan of flowers. It’s not that she doesn’t like them (she confirmed she did), but they didn’t speak to her ANYTHING close to what I thought they were communicating. Through dating and into marriage, I had been buying them thinking that was speaking the value I assumed they were communicating.
Yep…not so much.
I wasn’t necessarily hurt by the truth about the flowers. I was more ticked off I realized how much money I spent in 5 years of roses when it could have been used for something like an xbox…er…something for our marriage.
Assumption has made fools of us all. It’s like a carefully hidden spiderweb laid out to catch unsuspecting individuals casually walking by. Unfortunately, too many couples find themselves caught and tangled up in it. It can lead to frustrations and, if not corrected, fracture in your relationship.
When it comes to my marriage, what shouldn’t I assume?
1 – Assuming my spouse knows that I love him/her. “My spouse knows how I feel” is not a statement of marital strength as it is the admission of relational laziness. The longer you’ve been with someone the more apt we are to take them for granted. To add more fuel to this fire, if we don’t recognize/know their love language, the few times attempts get missed because he/she wasn’t looking for and/or doesn’t operate with that specific form of communication. I’m not advocating annoying your spouse with reminders like a paranoid maniac, but there should be a balanced frequency to the communication of the passion you have for your spouse. Appropriate and balanced communication creates a connection that is essential to the emotional and mental health of your marriage.
Action Step: From random texts to the way you end conversations, find strategic and consistent ways to remind your spouse how much you love her/him.
2 – Assuming things are fine as long as there aren’t any big problems. Whenever I ask premarital couples about the definition of “big problems,” I always hear the same answer: adultery. Certainly, that’s a significant issue. But marriages get fractured and fall apart on far less. It’s said “it’s the little things that matter.” Most of the time we think “little things” pertain to the small touches for an event (date, birthday, anniversary). But the “little things” also have to do with those habits we’ve have been trying to learn to live with. It’s those frustrations you thought would just go away and/or you would just get used to. From under-appreciation and lack of quality time to chronic complaining and gradual physical distancing, fracture has one goal: complete brokenness.
Action Step: At an appropriate time and place, sit and have an honest talk. You may worry about feelings getting hurt, but revealing frustrations in a healthy conversation is constructive. Letting them go is destructive.
3 – Assuming your spouse values what you value. You didn’t marry yourself. You married a different human being which means you will likely have different values. Anne and I have the same value of what makes a restful vacation but have different values in what constitutes a “clean” house. The goal isn’t to get the two of you to fight it out to have the same values, it’s to, first get you to appreciate your differences, and second, to work together so marriage embraces both of your values. So many couples struggle not because someone isn’t unwilling to bend/change. It’s because there hasn’t been any “value” brought to what your spouse values. This is a huge point of frustration that leads to a cloudy home atmosphere.
Action Step: Sit and evaluate the areas where the two of you differ. Don’t assume you know how the other feels about what you values. Be willing to understand his/her point of view and, possibly, make some changes.
4 – Assuming how my spouse is feeling about our relationship. Just because you haven’t heard any complaining doesn’t equate to having a spouse with complete marital satisfaction. That’s like thinking because you don’t see the oil light appear on your dashboard means you don’t need to check it and/or get it changed. I recognize some don’t ask out of fear of what they are going to hear. Ignorance is not bliss. And the time to ask is NOW. You may not want to hear you might be missing the mark on an area or two, but knowing what to work on will give your life marital tread in moving forward to see health in your relationship.
Action Step: Take up the habit of asking your spouse, “Is there anything that I can do to be a better husband/wife?” Don’t wait until something blows up to realize that what you’re dealing with could have been avoided.
5 – Assuming things will never change. This breaks my heart EVERY time I hear it. It’s the cry of hopelessness and stubbornness. It’s the permission we give ourselves to give up. Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” Having Christ as the central element of our marriage hasn’t kept our marriage from storms. But our hope in Him has given us an anchor in them. If you have Christ in your life then you have abundant hope.
Action Step: Walk in humility, servanthood, and boldness. It doesn’t mean you become a doormat to your spouse. It does mean that you first initiate change in your own life, and second, you are looking to foster hope by being the catalyst of change in your relationship.
Is there anything should I assume? Absolutely.
Assume the best in your spouse.
Put your hope in Christ and look at your spouse through the lens of Jesus. See your spouse the way Christ sees them. Stop thinking the worst about them. Refrain to let your mind and emotions put your attitude into a place where you’re living hopeless and constantly frustrated. The reality is: Christ never stopped his pursuit of us despite our issues. Neither should that stop us.
Set your hope in Christ and let the hope see the best in your marriage.
Thanks for letting me ramble…