Julie and Clay’s first baby was due any time. To celebrate and to enjoy one last date night – at least for a while – Julie planned a romantic dinner at their favorite restaurant.
That evening, Julie arrived before Clay, and waited.
He was supposed to come there straight from work, but twenty minutes passed and still no Clay. She called his phone. No answer.
Thirty minutes passed.
Then an hour.
Clay and Julie lost their reservation, and Julie’s expectations for the night were ruined. When Clay finally walked in the front door of the house later that night, Julie was relieved … then she felt angry that he had been so inconsiderate to her.
How would you have responded in that moment?
Julie took a step back. “Wait a minute,” she thought. “I know he was looking forward to our evening together as much as I was. He must have a good reason for being so late.”
Sure enough, an important client had called at the end of the day, and Clay’s boss was in the room helping to make sure Clay had the answers he needed. Especially with layoffs on the horizon, Clay didn’t think he could tell his boss he had to leave.
“We have a baby coming,” he told her. “I can’t afford to create a negative impression with my boss.”
Julie could have escalated that scenario into full-blown conflict. Instead, she chose to assume the best – not the worst – about her husband. Her approach preserved their happiness by giving him a chance to explain himself without accusation. It also became a positive deposit in their relationship. She trusted her husband’s heart for her even when circumstances might have suggested otherwise.
According to Shaunti Feldhahn, assuming the best about your spouse is just one of the things happy couples do. She conducted a large, national survey, interviewing over 1,000 couples who said they were happy in their marriages. She found 12 common traits among them. She’s with us on our program “Uncovering the Secrets to a Happy Marriage” to share her findings. Find our broadcast on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app.
Shaunti Feldhahn is a speaker and the author of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference available through our online bookstore.
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