Anger Issues

Assume NOTHING – Avoid Misunderstanding!

assumptions-misunderstanding By Harold and Bette Gillogly

   I was on the phone making an appointment for a medical test I needed. Harold was sitting close enough to hear the conversation. Monday morning, three weeks away, was the earliest appointment available, so I took it. Harold said softly, “It has to be Monday?” I assumed he meant that he plays ping pong with a group on Monday mornings and didn’t want to miss it. I said, “It’s ok. I can go alone for this test.” Harold repeated, “It has to be Monday?” So I quipped, “It’s ok, Honey. I can go by myself.” The appointment was set and I hung up the phone.

Then Harold reminded me we have devotions with a group of friends every Monday morning as well as his ping pong date. Oops! I had forgotten that. Now I was going to miss that opportunity because I assumed Harold meant one thing, when he actually meant something else. But this assumption thing was a two-way street. He assumed I understood what he was talking about when I had actually forgotten about the devotion time with friends. We both got frustrated and testy with each other.

Looking back, it was just plain stupid! And completely avoidable! And that just about defines assumptions…stupid and avoidable!

Today we want to warn you about three common ASSUMPTIONS you may be making that are causing misunderstandings and hard feelings in your marriage. They are (1) Assuming what your spouse means. (2) Assuming what your spouse knows (or you think they know). And (3) assuming what your spouse’s intentions are.

You just saw the first two in the scenario we confessed to you to start with. Now think with us about how we could have avoided all the frustration. One simple question… “What do you mean?” I could have discovered what Harold meant. Problem solved. So the next time you start to assume you know what your spouse means, instead of assuming, ask, “What do you mean?” And then listen.

Or the next time you assume what your spouse knows, instead of setting yourself up for unmet expectations, tell them plainly what you want. That’s the only way to give them a fair chance of meeting your expectations. So the way to avoid assuming what your spouse knows is to tell them plainly what you want. There…we wanted to be really plain about that!

The third assumption we want to warn you about is assuming what your spouse’s intentions are. This one is really dangerous! Have you ever noticed that when you assume someone else’s intentions, your assumptions are almost always negative? And they usually make you feel miserable? We think, “She said that because she never wants to do what I want.” Or, “He did that because my feelings aren’t important to him.” You are a lousy mind reader! We all are. So instead of jumping to a conclusion, we need to give our spouse the benefit of the doubt and assume positive intent. You can say, “I’m curious. Tell me more.”

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