Getting a messed up perspective can cause all kinds of relationship problems. A friend sent me a hilarious email that was a parody on the differences between men and women. One example was a couple traveling down the highway with very little conversation happening. The woman’s mind and emotions start racing as she jumps to the conclusion that the guy is angry with her, thinking that he’s distancing himself from her, and imagining that he must be ready to break off their engagement.
While the woman is having this inner emotional meltdown, the man is actually just trying to figure the gas mileage, running a mechanical check-list in his mind, and looking for roads signs because he’s confused about where they are.
How many times can that kind of thing be replayed? We can easily slip into a faulty perception that comes from assuming the worst of others. When I think the best of my husband, rather than assuming the worst, my perception of him is probably much closer to actual reality.
For example, my perception would be closer to reality if . . .
♥ When he is quiet for long periods of time, I consider that it could be that he is tired or needing time to process, rather than assuming he is ignoring me.
♥ When he fails to empty the trash, I realize that it wasn’t intentional or because he’s lazy, he just forgot.
♥ When he asks me to make a restaurant choice, it’s not a game—he really wants to know where I prefer to eat!
♥ When he suggests a better way for me to approach a project, I don’t view him as being controlling or trying to make me feel inept, but as trying to be helpful.
Or what about having wrong perceptions of a friend?
Is it possible that I have a faulty perception of my friend that contributes to our conflict?
If I’m thinking the best rather than the worst:
♥ When my friend doesn’t return my text or call, I’ll know she’s got a lot going on or didn’t get my message, rather than assume she doesn’t want to talk.
♥ When my friend has a curt reply, I’ll figure she’s had a hard day and probably needs more sleep, rather than getting offended and thinking she’s mad at me.
♥ When my friend isn’t able to make a lunch date, I’ll believe she has legitimate constraints that prevent scheduling it, rather than assume she doesn’t want to spend time with me.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when perception is reality. My friend may actually be mad, my husband may be ignoring me, and the worst-case scenario may actually be reality. But, I think too often we assume the worst before we consider the best . . . and that isn’t demonstrating love to one another.
We’ll add another day to this tomorrow by looking at the relationship template that God provides in Scripture to help us overcome the tendency to have faulty perceptions.
Anyone else ever struggle with faulty perceptions?
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