Okay. Let's face it. To stay married is more challenging than we all want to admit. And if you are able to meet the challenge of staying married, to not be complete a-holes to each other on a semi-regular basis. Yes. Even people that love Jesus can be a-holes.
There are some things you and your spouse are naturally good at. I like to cook and bake, so there is never a shortage of yummy eats around here. But vacuuming. Not so much.
This is how you play: try to fit as much garbage into a trash receptacle as you possible are able, until you eventually have to take the lid off to fit in more. The winner gets to watch the loser pry the over-filled bag from the can. I don't win often.
Think perhaps I'm exaggerating?
Why is it so tricky to focus on what our spouse/partner DOES, instead of what they DON'T do?! But I digress....
So. How to deal with what they DON'T do....
a fun, little phrase~
The Benefit of the Doubt
Let's start with a definition. We're going to use a trusted online resource. urbandictionary.com.
Um... don't even try to deny, you used this site at least once. Typically to figure out what that character said on the show you don't tell any of your friends you watch.
"When giving someone the benefit of the doubt, you are believing what they say and taking their word because you, yourself, have some doubt about what happened."
Let's try the good old Dictionary:
"a favorable opinion or judgement adopted despite uncertainty."
Let's pretend you text your spouse about something you thought was funny, interesting or just face it...you wanted a little attention from them to get through your day. They don't respond. 3 hours later...still. no. response. You start thinking to yourself, "I am CLEARLY not important enough for them to take 2 SECONDS to respond. I mean really?! What are they doing that is SO important? Don't they love me?!"
You walk in your house after a loooong day at work. Trip on 14 toys before plopping onto the couch. The dishes from the sink are omitting a strange, indistinguishable odor and there are shopping bags all over the kitchen table. So you think, "why is this place such a mess?! Why do I work SO hard all day to come home to THIS?! Don't they love me?!"
See what just happened? This is where The Benefit of the Doubt comes in. Instead of letting yourself go down the road to frustration, so by the next time you see or speak to your spouse, you are pretty sure they're the most horrible person to have ever walked the earth. Stop your thoughts and say to yourself, "They're probably busy. They have a stressful job and are working so hard for our family. They love us enough to give so much of themselves."
"She probably went to three different stores looking for that manly colored loofah (that is spotted about as often as a unicorn) and had all kids in tow. Walked in the door and everybody was hungry, the baby started crying and she had to pee."
So maybe that's a little too specific, but you get the idea.
You must steer your thoughts in a positive direction. And don't be fooled. This isn't something that only happens to optimistic personalities. This is a LEARNED SKILL that takes time to develop.
My disclaimer: I must say if there is a genuine issue in any of your relationships, you should absolutely address it with them when you are both calm. But more likely than not, a misunderstanding has occurred. Take a deep breath. And find.The Benefit. of the Doubt.