How To Save A Relationship: Stop Assuming the Worst
One of the biggest challenges in communication in relationships is that it is easy to misinterpret or be misinterpreted. People often assume the worst possible interpretation instead of asking for clarification. This behavior makes mountains out of molehills and causes friction in marriages. It also leads to unwarranted over reactions, which can destroy a happy marriage.
If you want to save your marriage, you have to stop assuming that you spouse is out to hurt you. There is no hidden meaning or motive in everything your spouse says or does. You may be used to reading between the lines so as to protect yourself from getting hurt, but being cynical about your spouse can ruin your relationship. You should assume your spouse has your back unless you have good reason to believe otherwise.
How to Stop Assuming the Worst of Your Spouse
You can’t just flip a switch and quit being skeptical of your spouse or automatically get better at communication in relationships. Learning to assume the best of your spouse is a process so here are some tips to get you started.
- Stop and think before you react – If your spouse says something that annoys you, stop and ask yourself if a stranger would react the same way. This ensures that you are not “reading between the lines” and misperceiving things through the filter of your critical inner voice.
- Ask for clarification – Before jumping to conclusions about something your spouse has said, ask for clarification. Do this as soon as you can before you have a chance to concoct unfavorable scenarios in your head. When you ask for clarification, don’t do it in an accusatory manner. Start you question with “Did you mean . . .” This will keep your spouse from getting defensive explaining what he or she meant.
- Show gratitude – Make a point of complimenting and thanking your spouse regularly when he or she does something right. When you pay attention to the good things, occasional slip ups won’t seem like a big deal. Also, by reinforcing your spouse’s positive behavior, you are encouraging him or her to keep it up.
May people think they are hard wired to read between the lines and assume the worst of other people. However, this isn’t the case. Human brains are extremely adaptable and can be rewired to accommodate changes in behavior. Start thinking before you react, asking for clarification and showing gratitude and sooner or later, you’ll stop assuming the worst of your spouse and get better at communication in relationships.