Not a Mind Reader

mind reader
mind reader

Don't have the argument by yourself. Those were words of wisdom from once upon a time when I worked in property management. It was Friday afternoon, and I'd gotten a voicemail from the vice president of a large firm and long term tenant in one of the office parks I managed, asking for a return call to discuss a letter he'd recently received from me.

My mind raced. I spoke with the our lease administrator, running through the things I thought the VP could be calling about and how I would respond. A wise man, he reminded me that I knew this tenant's lease, I was good at what I did, and I should stop preparing for an argument that didn't exist.

Don't have the argument by yourself. Chapter 11 of The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle is aptly titled Stop Reading His Mind. Yes, you may think you've been together long enough that you think you can do this...but how often have you been wrong? Probably more than you've been right. And then you spend time and energy responding to a situation that didn't exist, whipping up a batch of emotions and responses that don't have anything to do with the situation at hand.

It's better to ask some of the questions than to have all of the answers. - James Thurber

It's not about you

You'd think that after twenty plus years of marriage, I'd know that it's not all about me. But for some reason, when I perceive my husband is annoyed, I first wonder if it's my fault...something I've done, haven't done, should have done...shouldn't have done. More often than not, in those moments, it's usually about his favorite football team trading a player he likes, he forgot to do something he meant to do, he's brought something home from work that he's still chewing on, something his mother said, or something he's been wrestling with the Holy Spirit about. Oh, and generally, what I perceive as him being annoyed has little to do with me, until I decide it is and respond accordingly asking why he's annoyed with me.

Instead, when I choose to believe what I know, {{that my husband is a grown man with the ability to tell me when he's got a bone to pick with me}} I'm trusting that he's working out his day and thoughts.

You are not a mind reader

Acknowledging you are not a mind reader, and knowing that you have all the wisdom and understanding of the universe available from God, as shared in Proverbs 2:6-8, is a great first step. What's next?

Create time for sharing. We set aside time daily together, usually in the morning on the deck with coffee. It's a time of catching up, sharing a short devotional, talking about the day behind us or the day ahead. Sometimes we're just still and quiet together. We know we've got this time, space and grace to share with each other, so we don't let issues build up.

Give the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of your husband as he's working out his day. Only small children need someone to help figure out whether they're angry, frustrated, hungry or tired by the look on their face. -Laura Doyle

Give him space when he's in a funk. Don't make your husband's funk your funk, and when he's in a funk is not the time to seek him out for reassurance that he loves you. Give him the space to work out what's in his head. Take that time for yourself, pull out the list of things you like to do...and do one of them!

Don't have the argument with yourself.When you decide you can read your husband's mind, you'll go places he had no idea existed. Ask good questions (at the right time!) and let him surprise you with what he is really thinking.

Stay away from the 'what ifs.'When you don't give your husband the benefit of the doubt, you decide you can read his mind, and you start having the argument with yourself, you'll what if yourself crazy. When you start to hear in your thoughts "if he________, then I'll _______," stop. STOP. You were not created with the grace to consider all of the what ifs. Satan will use the what ifs to wear you down and to diminish God's power in your life. Be quick to listen...first to the Holy Spirit; then to your husband.

Listen. Focus on hearing your husband when he does share, seeking to understand his words and heart, instead of guessing or preparing your response.

Acknowledging you cannot read your husband's mind, and pursuing intimacy with him through listening instead of preparing to speak, gives your husband the opportunity to actually tell you what he's thinking. 

Oh, and that voicemail from the VP? He wanted to let me know how much he appreciated how thorough and prompt my work was, enabling him and his team to reconcile the previous year's expenses expeditiously. I wasted perfectly good time, energy and thoughts being spun up over nothing.

In case you've missed it, this post is part of a series following along with The Surrendered Wife. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read along! Catch up on the blog series now by reading: 

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