After many years of listening to couples in distress, I’ve learned something really interesting. There often seems to be a tendency for one or both spouses to make negative assumptions about the motivations of their mate or to jump to the most negative conclusions during communication!
I believe both these tendencies are instigated by the devil who would like nothing more than to get you to think negative, unflattering thoughts about your husband. The devil WANTS you to jump to the most negative conclusions about your husband. The devil WANTS you to misunderstand what your husband is saying so that you will be hurt, frustrated and anxious.
The first step in fighting against this tendency is to realize what the enemy is up to! We must be alert to his tactics. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Applying this verse in our marital communication means that we continually check ourselves to see if we’ve started jumping to negative conclusions and assigning negative motives to our spouse.
Secondly, if we notice that we are reaching a negative assumption during communication, we ask for clarification from our spouse! We don’t just start internally grumbling inside about what a jerk our husband is. We don’t verbally attack them for being a horrible person. We actually pause and ask them to clarify what they meant when they said ___________. Sometimes it’s not even the words that were said but the facial expression or tone of voice. Again, ask for clarification. You might say something like, “When you said that, I felt like you were letting me know that I’m not a good mother. Is that what you meant to say?”
Thirdly, we must start training our minds to assume the most gracious motivations of our spouse instead of the worst! It’s so easy to jump to negative motivations though, isn’t it? Your husband forgets to do a task you asked him to do, and you mumble “He doesn’t care about anyone but himself”. Your husband struggles with pornography, and you mumble “He’s a disgusting person who would instantly stop looking at porn if he really loved me”. However, both these events could be framed in our minds completely differently! When he forgot to do the task, you could say to yourself “I know he didn’t intend to forget. I bet he got busy.” When you caught him looking at porn, you could say to yourself “I know he doesn’t intend to hurt me. He probably has an actual addiction and needs help.”
Let’s be proactive in examining our thoughts ladies! 2 Corinthians 10:5 take every thought captive to obey Christ