Good communication is vital to a healthy marriage. Yet many of us struggle on this important area of marital maintenance. As we lead marriage intensives, we see lots of couples who struggle with communication and have come to the conclusion that many times their problems are linked to one of these three unrealistic assumptions. So let’s take a minute to unpack them.
First assumption is we assume our spouse is a mind reader. Lots of couples get the misguided idea that because they love each other, their husband or wife should be able to know what they want as well as how and when they want it. But let’s be honest, it would definitely make marriage a whole lot easier if we could read each other’s minds. My wife and I have tried for years and have found that we’re both terrible at it. Marriage is difficult, if not impossible, when spouses harbor unexpressed expectations. These unmet hopes can apply to how things should be done around the house, the way you’re supposed to speak each other’s love language or even your anticipation in the bedroom. Over time, this faulty mindset of he or she should just know me will lead to frustration and resentment over unmet expectations. So what’s the solution? Marriage does not automatically guarantee that your spouse will ever know what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling. The best and only way to make sure your spouse knows all of that is to share your heart openly and honestly. Make your desires and expectations known. Repeat them over and over again if necessary. Continual and honest communication is the key to better understanding each other.
The second assumption we assume our spouse has impure motives. The one person we should be able to trust more than anyone else is our spouse, the one who loves us and always has our best interest in mind. Yet how many times do we find ourselves questioning our spouses motives? And if we’re honest, we often find ourselves believing the worst rather than the best of each other. When we assume that our spouse is angry or we attribute motives for why he or she may have acted the way they have, we are in a bad place. That’s because we begin to respond to our mate based on our negative beliefs about him or her. And it won’t be long before a lot of unhealthy words or nonverbal communication starts happening. Faulty assumptions spark and fuel arguments. Well, what’s a solution to this assumption? 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that Love believes the best, so we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt, trust one another. And if that trust has been broken, you need to work hard to rebuild it. Instead of assuming anything negative, if you don’t know, ask.
And the last faulty assumption, we assume efficiency is more important than intimacy. Married life gets busy. Add kids to the mix and it becomes a logistical nightmare. It doesn’t take long for your communication to focus on the essentials of keeping the family functioning well. It seems like you only have enough time to transmit facts and feelings seem to lose their importance. You’re feeling more like a business partner than a married couple. The solution…Building intimacy takes intentionality. Schedule times to talk about life and love to each other. And don’t be afraid to laugh and have some fun. Whether that’s the first thing in the morning, at the end of the day, or during a lunch or coffee break in between, work hard to make these times more than just predictable. Make them enjoyable. Hey, communication will either make or break your marriage and it takes a lot of work to do it well. So start by checking these faulty assumptions at the door so you can enter the world of healthy communication.