Chainsaws, Rosebushes, and Other Detriments To Marriage

By on March 11, 2018

By Kimberly Rae – 

My mother has always loved rosebushes. I think perhaps her favorite was a climbing rosebush that grew right outside the kitchen window of my small, childhood home in Jacksonville, Florida. It started out small, but Mom waited as the months passed, excited to see the rosebush slowly but persistently creep up the wall toward the kitchen window.

She was so happy when that rosebush had finally climbed high enough to be seen from the kitchen window.

Mom was pointing it out to a friend as they talked together in the kitchen one day, when they heard a whirring sound outside the window. Suddenly, the rosebush was gone. Bewildered, my mom turned to see my dad come into the house, stating proudly, “I trimmed that bush that was getting too big!”

Assumptions. They creep into our thoughts and make a cozy home there, so familiar and reasonable to our own minds that we don’t even realize they are only assumptions until, say, a rosebush comes crashing down, and a husband and wife now have an emotional issue to deal with.

Assumptions can cause problems from the smallest choices, like what’s for dinner, to the life-changing choices, like financing a house or having children.  

God designed us so we cannot read other people’s minds, and no one can read our minds (thankfully!).  Somehow, however, we end up thinking that people think through our frame of reference, act and react out of the same motivations that we would, and their words mean the same as they would if they were coming from our mouths.  

And in my opinion, the place where assumptions cause the most damage is in our marriages.

How can assuming get us into trouble in our marriages?

When we assume, we can decide our husbands are insensitive or unreasonable.  “He is so selfish!” “She gets defensive of the littlest things!” We react out of hurt or our own selfishness. They react to us . . . .

And the beat goes on.

The cycle of hurt grows as it continues.

Assumption problems often come from different styles of communication.

We know the typical: men mean what they say and say what they mean. Women communicate with words or silence, gestures or tones, facial expressions or body language. This does not apply in every case of course (don’t assume it does!), but many women read into their husbands non-verbal communication.  

The husband may be “shouting” things with his non-verbals that he doesn’t intend or feel at all, while the wife may be “shouting” things with her non-verbals on purpose, but he doesn’t notice them because he is only listening to her words.

Assumptions will cause problems in our conflicts.

Put any man and woman together, and most likely they will face conflict differently. Face them head on. Retreat and hope they go away. Pretend they don’t exist. And any given method comes along with assumptions about the reasons for the other person’s methods, assumptions that are likely wrong.

Why? Because the motives behind your spouse’s actions and words and probably different than what your motives would be had you used the same actions or words.

You might decide your husband slammed the door out of spite and anger, when really his hands were full and he kicked it hard to make sure it shut tight. So he goes on his way, assuming nothing is wrong, and returns to find you fuming about how insensitive and cold-hearted he is!

So how do we keep from allowing assumptions to cause problems?

  1.  Communicate! Don’t assume your spouse is thinking the same things you’re thinking. Talk about what you are thinking, and ask what he or she is thinking. “What is your opinion on that?” “Where are you coming from?”  “Why do you think that?” “Can you elaborate, please?”
  2.  Either find out, or let go. If you decide not to ask why, or find out what’s behind the action or reaction, then let it go.  This is my person struggle. I can tell myself all the good things, then still stew over it for days.  When I do that, we’re not right. I can mess up days for our marriage, not because of what my husband did or said, but because I can’t let go of what I felt like he meant by it.
  3.  Pray, pray, pray. One of the best ways to not assume the worst is to be daily in prayer for your spouse and your own attitude.
  4.  Don’t get used to your spouse. Don’t assume you know everything there is to know about your husband or wife. Ask questions about childhood, goals and ambitions, dreams. “What is your happiest memory of childhood, our marriage, our children, etc?” “Who were your heroes?” “Do you have anyone you look up to now?”

The more we know someone, the less we assume they think and act like we do. As one husband told me profoundly, “You shouldn’t assume your wife likes to clean the toilet just because she does it.” Amen!

Trying to avoid the assumption trap is an overwhelming challenge. But, thanks to Jesus Christ and His salvation, we have all the resources we need to be “more than conquerors” in every area of our lives, including marriage! Christ gives us all the strength we need to dissolve the assumption upsets in our daily lives. “God wants us to accept our mates as they are,” one wife says, “a beautiful work of God’s art in the making.”  

So, learn and ask and pray. Give yourself, your spouse, and your marriage over to the Lord’s control.  Allow God to change you today, and your spouse tomorrow. In the end, you can avoid a chopped up climbing rosebush, a confused husband, and an emotional conflict—and everybody’s happy!

 

Kimberly Rae lived in Bangladesh, Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia before Addison’s disease brought her permanently back to the US. She is the author of over twenty books, including Stolen Woman (Amazon bestselling romantic suspense on fighting international human trafficking) and Shredded (Amazon bestselling romantic suspense on fighting trafficking in small-town USA), and will soon be moving to Madison, Georgia, to join Source of Light Ministries, where she will use her love of writing to share Good News with the world. Find out more or order autographed books at www.kimberlyrae.com

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One Comment

  1. Gloria Tolliver

    March 12, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    If only all of us would be slower to react or respond, and faster to ask questions and forgive.

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Chainsaws, Rosebushes, and Other Detriments To Marriage