- You may be finding yourself more easily bothered by things that don’t usually bother you
- What to do with all of this added tension (from COVID-19 Crisis)
- Take a deep breath or count to 10 to keep yourself in the right frame of mind
- What does it look life for you to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt?
The following is a full transcript of a Facebook Live, where Susie is speaking extemporaneously – she is unscripted and unedited.
Hi friends, Susie Miller here. Sorry for the repeat or I guess for you it’s not a repeat. I had to delete the other video cause it didn’t upload the whole video. So I’m learning technology and all kinds of new things and so I’m doing this directly to live because the joint stream, didn’t work anyway.
I’m so glad you’re here today to talk about relationships, better relationships with the people that matter most. Better communication. That is something I’m passionate about as you know. And today I want to talk about how to have less tension in your marriage. This tip works in general all the time. It’s something that has helped my marriage with John go through tough times, go through ups and downs, but I think it’s so important right now during this Corona crisis because we are all more tense.
We are all struggling. We are all in a place where the things that maybe didn’t bother us before are getting to us. I don’t know about you, but I am finding that even in my effort to stay positive and stay faith filled and not live in fear, there is this reality of this threat that’s going on outside in our world that is making it harder. It is causing us to have a little bit more anxious. We can’t ignore it. And even the most positive successful people are struggling. Even the most strong and healthy relationships are struggling. Even then, you know, the most faith filled people I know are wrestling with how to live well in the midst of this this time, this unique season. And so I do want to give us permission to say it is harder. It is a challenge. That doesn’t mean we have to give into it.
That doesn’t mean it gets to control us. But that does mean we have to acknowledge and name it. If you spent any time with me, you know that I talk a lot about naming your feelings and naming what’s real and not pretending that reality isn’t reality. And so one of the things I want to talk about today is what to do with all this added tension. And one of those things we do is we spend time with the Lord and we get ourselves centered. We spend time with taking care of ourselves and we get ourselves kind of in a good state of mind. I’ve done a lot of deep breathing, a lot of counting to 10 just to keep myself in the right frame of mind. But with our people, with our spouse, with the one that we love, it is hard to not let it eat out because sometimes we can take for granted that they will understand or they’ll be there for us.
And I know for me this has been something I’ve really tried to do with John the last week as we’ve tried to wrestle through some choices, some decisions, and just the tension of the times until my, my tip for you today is this. It is what does it look like for you to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt in all these situations? Now, that might sound like a really simple kind of no brainer tip, but it really has made a difference and not doing this this is when we can take things personally. We can start telling ourselves stories about what they mean, what they say, the what they’re really trying to communicate and all it is is a bad moment for them too. All it is is a slip up or a a moment where they’re just not on their best game. How many of you have not been on your best game this week?
I know I have not been on my best game this week. It’s only Monday. I have not been on my game sometimes these last few days and I actually took the weekend to regroup and kind of recharge. But on this Monday, this Marriage Monday tip, let’s talk about benefit of the doubt, giving each other the benefit of the doubt or if you’re the only one working on your marriage, you giving him or her the benefit of the doubt, And what do I mean by that? The very kind of simplest way to explain it is to assume the best of them. To assume that they didn’t mean it to the way it might’ve come out if it was in a bad tone, that they’re not being disrespectful, that they’re not accusing you, that whatever the story you are telling yourself might not be accurate. And so here’s an example.
Over the weekend I got to, got to in quotes try my hand at cutting John’s hair and he has a lot of thick hair and he wanted me to cut it. And we had tried to order trimmers from Walmart, from target, from Amazon. And I guess last week before I figured it out, everybody else figured out that there was not going to be any hairstyling appointments and every, there was a run on men’s hair Clippers. And so he has this beard trimmer that has a couple extra attachments to it. And he was like, we can do this, you can do this. Just buzz it through, here’s how we’re going to do it. So we go outside and I’m trying to cut literally his hair and give him this kind of, you know, I had thought I could do something cool, but we just have just kind of going through the whole thing with one one trimmer and it’s a battery trimmer, you know, like a rechargeable.
So it doesn’t even have that much power. So all of these things were stacked against us in starting to do this hairstyling that we were doing for him and as I was trying to do it and you know, make it even and, and not get a big glitch in it and all those things that you, you do when you cut hair. I’m not a hairstylist. I had watched a YouTube video or two just to help me along the way. He’s not a hairstylist, and it was hot out! We were both trying hard and he made a comment about, well, just do it this way or just hold it that way. And it came out with that tone that for me had the unspoken words, “Well, don’t be so dumb. Or if only you knew better.” And I know my husband’s heart towards me and I know he doesn’t think that about me, but it would have been really easy in that moment to overreact and be personally hurt by his comment, tone, or take it personally.
Like he was not appreciating my efforts or he didn’t think I was doing a good job. And all of that went on in my head in this three to five second conversation and I realized, wait a minute, that is not who he is, that is not as heart towards me. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. And it’s just that he’s making a comment about a better way to hold the Clippers.
Something so small, something so simple can get in the way. And they become these splinters in our relationship. And we began to think the worst or less than the best of our spouse. We began to read into their tone or read into their comments more than what they really mean. And this happens in other relationships, so this of giving the benefit of the doubt applies. Giving the benefit of the doubt to the people we love is so important in reducing tension, in believing the best of them and hearing what they’re saying through the lens of goodness and grace versus maybe the lens of tension.
One of the clients I worked with this last week, told me a story about just being frustrated because her husband didn’t seem to be respecting her job as much as he, she was trying to respect his job and the need for office hours. And she told me a story about how their kids came down and they were supposed to be doing their schooling in their room and were yelling, mom, dad, mom, dad, and the mom was on a work kind of meeting and she could mute out. So nobody heard this. But she began to build up the story in her mind of how her husband wasn’t respecting her work, of how he wasn’t listening, of how he didn’t, you know, look at the calendar. All these things started going through her head. And she remembered us talking about the benefit of the doubt.
And she said, you know, Susie, what I did was I thought, wait a minute, maybe he doesn’t hear our kids. Maybe he’s on a call and he can’t step away. Maybe this isn’t personal. Maybe it’s just circumstantial. And she said in that moment, what she felt was building as annoyance and hurt and frustration with her spouse. She was able to kind of take a deep breath and go, no, no, that’s not who he is. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, believe the best of him, and just think that circumstantially he might not be hearing our kid or he might not be able to step away. We might be in the same situation both in meetings and it’s just a bad timing thing. Can you see how that shifted her perspective? Can you see how when we give the person we love the benefit of the doubt and believe the best of them and offer them grace, tension just comes down our tension.
Just kind of lessens it, just deflates it. And then we don’t have these splinters and these grievances that build up. Instead our relationships are covered by grace. They’re covered by a sense of knowing the heart of the person we love and knowing their heart towards us. Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a conversation that says, Hey, can we deal with the fact that that tone of voice is hard for me was what I would say to John or that we need to figure out a system for when we’re both in a meeting and we don’t hear our son coming down. It can be addressed. I’m not saying to ignore stuff. I mean some stuff you can just ignore and let go because it’s just momentary and grace covers it. Other things you do need to address and we’re going to talk this week about ways to do that in, you know, wise and relationship building ways, how to talk about the hard things.
So for today, if you can in the relationship with your spouse, maybe if you’re not married, a relationship with a friend or relationship with a kid, you can pause and not begin to tell yourself the story that’s negative. But ask yourself, how do I give this person that I love the benefit of the doubt? How do I believe the best of him? How do I let this go? Take a deep breath and believe the best of them in this moment so that they’re not on trial and I’m not tense because that show is going to help us across the board in our relationships, but especially right now when things are harder and tensions run higher. So I hope that tip helps you. If you do give somebody the benefit of the doubt in the, in the course of the day or when you hear this video, give me a thumbs up in the comments.
Tell me how it went. Because I’m always looking for ways to support you and encourage you. If there are things that you want me to cover in this relationship and communication space, drop me a PM in the messages or put it in the comments below and I will cover it. This week I have moved over to my business page because it’s easier to share to other platforms from there. And so I hope you’ll join me here this week at 12 o’clock Eastern time every day, and we will talk about how to thrive in the relationships that matter most. I’m cheering you on and I’m here for you. Have a great day.