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How to Avoid Assumptions in Marriage

Were you ever convinced something was true only to discover you were mistaken? For instance, you wave at a friend. She ignores you. “She must be upset with me,” you assume. As you get closer, you realize it is not her. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines assumption as “a belief or feeling that something is true or that something will happen, although there is no proof.” Couples may find themselves at odds when they jump to conclusions and make judgments before communicating with their spouse. When assumptions overtake a marriage, they create division rather than unity.


Speculation. Playing the guessing game may lead to intriguing clues. However, this approach can be flawed if it is based on opinions, not facts. This game produces:

  • Disappointment 
  • Closed-mindedness
  • Physical barriers
  • Resentment 
  • Heartache 

Assumptions can arise from day-to-day interactions. Ben is convinced Misty lost his car keys because she has a track record of being forgetful. Linda accuses Ray of eating the last slice of cake because she saw him peering into the refrigerator last night. Moments like these can be frustrating yet trivial.

Clarification. Whatever the context, assumptions can lead to confusion and conflict. Steven Covey writes, “We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions.” Resist the temptation to resolve that your assumptions are true without proof. Rather, strive to understand the other person’s viewpoint. A reasonable strategy is to discuss matters with an open mind. Ask questions. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Realize you could be mistaken and admit when you are wrong. Share your concerns with respect and seek clarity. John 7:51 states, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” 

Avoiding assumptions means giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt, though circumstances seem to confirm your unproven suspicions. It means asking “what” questions rather than “why” questions. Assuming can trigger bad feelings and distrust. More importantly, it can ruin your marriage. Expect the best and get the complete story first. James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Imagine all the blessings your marriage will have when you trust, love, and respect each other. Your reward will be peace of mind and contentment.

This article first appeared in the Birmingham Christian Family Magazine.

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