Benefit of the Doubt

Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. Decide that you are going to believe that your husband or wife is a person of good will. Live as though your husband loves you; all evidence to the contrary. Live as if your wife respects you; all evidence to the contrary. .

Living like this is not easy. Judging by the number of people who actually give their spouse the benefit of the doubt, it certainly isn’t natural. We see the mistakes, we read them, and our readings are most often bent toward the negative. Many of us do that with most people. We say “many” and “most” because we know you are the exception. Still, many of us do that with most people. Except when we are looking in the mirror.

That’s right. When we look at the person in mirror, we tend to see that person as a good-willed person. We judge ourselves by our intentions, so we are quick to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. “I didn’t mean to do that,” we tell ourselves and subconsciously we respond, “I know.”

We might say, “God looks at the heart; so look at the heart, not the actions of your spouse.” The truth is, however, you can’t see your spouse’s heart like God can. You’ve got to do something else to be in a place where you will believe they are good-willed.

How can you do it? How can you believe that your spouse is good-willed? Here’s a verse that can at least get you started: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). That’s right. If you want your spouse to believe in your best intentions you should believe in his (remember the man in the mirror). It’s a decision that you make to lead your heart to believe in your partner’s best intention because that’s what you want her to do with you when you mess up.

Maybe that will get you there. Give it the old college try. Start today. If you want to read or listen to some more about believing in the good will of your spouse, get Emerson Eggerich’s Love and Respect material.

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