Assaulted with Assumption: 5 Marital Assumptions to Deal With

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…

 

Eviction Notices: 8 Things to evict from your mind to help your marriage.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7

I can’t say that I’ve ever been given an eviction notice.  But I assume it’s not a good thing to get one.  In my lifetime, I’ve had my power shut off before.  I’ve even had collections call.  But to get an eviction notice, that’s something I do not desire to experience.  It was about a year ago that our staff helped an individual who was being evicted.  The experience of seeing everything the person owned thrown on the lawn was surreal to say the least.  But to deal with the people whose family member was being evicted was quite the learning experience. This man went to bed in his “home” and woke up to not having a home.

Eviction notices.  The notification telling someone who they are being expelled or kicked out from the place they called home.  This is where Proverbs 23:7 comes in.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
The mind is a powerful thing.  And carrying unhealthy mindsets in your marriage can cause your marriage to struggle far more than it needs to. There enough challenges in this world for your marriage and your mind shouldn’t be the place where they start or are fed.  When we conceive an unhealthy mindset about our marriage and/or about our spouse, we will ultimately live it out.  It won’t stay in the mind.  Whatever it is you are entertaining in your thought life, you are inviting into the rest of your life.  So today I’m challenging you to serve eviction notices to things that have been living in your mind.
 
Evict 2

7 Mindsets you need to evict: 

1 – Assumption.  The old adage says, “When you assume you make a _______ out of U & ME” and it’s just as true in our marriage.  Fear drives assumption.  It’s the result of darkness in your relationship.  When you don’t know what has happened and/or what is going on (even in the little things), your mind is going to wander and indulge in wrong thinking. When you have communication breakdowns, assumption is the natural result and it will toy with your mind.  How many times have you had a shift in your mood because assumption has filled your thoughts and changed your emotions? How many times do you find yourself mad, hurt, frustrated with your spouse AND you don’t even know why? It’s assumption.

Side note:  If you are keeping ANYTHING from your spouse, don’t complain about your spouse assuming things.  Again, assumption is the natural result of invited darkness/mystery.

2 – Jealousy. This is a negative mindset rooted in low self-esteem and fear. Spouses are more likely to be jealous when he/she doesn’t believe he/she is lovable or that they are not worthy of being loved. People like this live in constant fear that their spouse will, first, see others more attractive and, second, take actions based upon those feelings.  Jealousy rapes your mind.  I know that’s a strong word but it’s the only way to project that damage it does.  It will rob the individual experiencing it of value while ripping the trust from the marriage.

3 – Suspicion. (Anne encouraged me to separate this from jealousy.) Many times, this isn’t based on anything a spouse may or may not have done. It might not be about what he/she actually did or is presently doing.  It may not be about what a spouse will ever do, Suspicion lives off of the “what could be” mindsets.  Suspicion is demanding and unreasonable because the spouse doesn’t have to do anything wrong. The fear is that they are losing that person and they have to do something to hold onto them, to test them and to make them understand that they are needed. If not dealt with, suspicion knows no reason and can be very detrimental to a relationship.

4 – Visual Pornography.  NOTE: This is not just a male issue.   Both men and women can be visually stimulated.  The goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Visual pornography is a huge stumbling block for couples and causes tremendous sexual issues. Two of my biggest reasons is it causes an unhealthy view of the female body as well as an unhealthy sexual expectations.  Top it off with the addictive nature of porn devised to make you dependent upon it, you then have a monster that isn’t worth the amount of space it will take up in your thoughts.

5 – Emotional Pornography.  I guess I could have lumped both kinds together, but like jealousy and suspicion, this second type of porn needed to be separate.  Again, the goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Emotional porn may not fill you mind with naked people, but it will fill your imaginations with the skewed reality of where your marriage is at.  Like it’s counterpart, unhealthy scenarios of what your partner is/isn’t doing, what you do/don’t deserve, what you are/aren’t experiencing fill your thoughts and develops unrealistic expectations that probably can never be met.  Like a thirsty man crawling through the desert after a mirage, emotional porn has you crawling toward an illusion that will leave you constantly in want.

6 – Unforgiveness.  I can’t bring this up enough.  Unforgiveness is the best way to define what having “skeletons in the closet” means.  Some of you are holding onto the bones of previous fights and issues that have long since died.  But you still keep the remnants around.  Maybe it’s because of the hurt.  Most the time it’s for ammo to use just in case a fight starts.  Nevertheless, the bones/remains of past issues will haunt your mind unless they are released to be buried in time.

7 – Negativity.  Living life in a pessimistic state is miserable.  Some people place themselves there because he/she feels they don’t deserve anything good. It’s like some sort of way of living out punishment.  Others refuse to be positive because they’ve never known that growing up. They’ll call it being the “realist” in the marriage.  I’m, by nature, a dreamer so I recognize the need for a realist (Anne) in my life.  She dreams with me but knows, at some point, the rubber must hit the road.   Spouses who rent out space in their heads to the negative are miserable people.  Stop giving yourself permission to be negative by saying you’re a realist.  That negativity in your mind is sucking the fun out of your life.

8 – Envy. Why do we look at others and fixate on what they have and what we do not.  We see others, compare our marriages, material possessions, and lifestyles and use them as ideals to chase.  In our minds, we conjure up so much frustration with ourselves AND our spouse because what we don’t have what others do.  We then project that mindset onto our spouse and make them feel miserable because what they offer and who they are is never going to be enough.

I don’t know what your mind is consumed with, but it’s time to hand out eviction notices.  It’s time to identify the infectious crap that wants to cloud your minds and destroy your judgement.   Remember, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”  Whatever it is you are entertaining in your thought life, you are inviting into the rest of your life. If you’re struggling with your thought life, would you take a moment to confess it? It may sound crazy, but scripture says,

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  James 5:16

We confess vertically to Jesus that we may be forgiven.  We confess horizontally to someone (namely our spouse) that we can find healing.  Sit with your spouse, and pray.  Take time to confess to the Lord what you’re struggling with. He already knows what you’re dealing with.  He’s faithful and just to forgive.  Then talk with your spouse.  Let him/her help you as you both move forward with minds that give no room for ANYTHING that has no right to take up space in your mind.

Guard your marriage by guarding your minds.

Thanks for letting me ramble…