Marriage problems can begin innocently…Last week, I got super ambitious and did some deep dive housecleaning. It felt great to get rid of things we didn’t need—or things I thought we didn’t need. I tossed some of my husband’s clothes, clothes that he actually wanted to keep.
He handled it well. He focused on my motive, not my action. He knew that I had good intentions even though the execution of those intentions didn’t turn out so great. He assessed by the phrase… intent, not impact. Instead of judging our husband solely on the impact of his actions or choices, it’s more loving to judge him on his intentions. Here are three marriage categories where that approach can help.
After you’ve been married for a while, little things can get on your nerves. “Does he really have to close the bathroom drawers so loudly?” “What’s up with him leaving his dishes on the counter?” Etc.
Intent, not impact. It’s important to remember that his intent is not to annoy you. But, if the impact of his actions is bringing you to the boiling point, talk to him… kindly.
“I know what you’re thinking!” Have you ever said that to your husband? We might say it when we’re in an argument and he makes a face we interpret as confrontational or belittling. Maybe we think we can mind-read his thoughts after we’ve done something on accident—gotten in a fender bender, forgot to pay a bill, or dropped and broke our phone. “Great, he’s mad at me,” we might assume. This is where intent, not impact comes into play.
Intent, not impact. He may look upset, or he may even seem to be acting upset; but, maybe, he’s not. The impact of his actions make us feel one way, but his intent is totally opposite. So we need to not base our read of the situation solely on what we see. Intentions are in the mind and heart and can’t always be seen from the outside. (And, mind-reading is one of the four destructive patterns that can wreck your marriage.)
Our husbands are human too. Just like us, they try to make good decisions. There are times, however, when we wonder what in the world they were thinking when they made a particular choice. Before we jump to conclusions, it pays to talk with him. The impact of his decision might be bad, but when we ask our husband the why behind it, he might have had the right intentions but things just didn’t turn out the way he thought they would.
Intent, not impact. It can be difficult not to jump to conclusions when our husband upsets us with his actions or even his words, but before we react, it can help our marriage so much if we consider his intentions first. If you’re still mad at your husband, even after you understand his true intent, consider what part forgiveness can play.
When’s a time you assumed your husband’s intent and were wrong?