When your partner is really making you angry, do you assume that they’re doing it because they’re trying to piss you off? Or assume that they don’t care, or that they’re just mean, or lazy?

You’re not alone. Many of the couples that I work with have a tendency to assume the worst about their partner. For example, when their partner is running late, the immediate assumption is something like, “They don’t care about me, that’s why.” Sometimes people jump to, “She never thinks about my feelings,” or, “He just can’t prioritize me.”

I hate to break it to you — because it’s way easier to just be mad and think the other person is pissing you off on purpose — but this is usually far off from the truth. Your partner did not wake up this morning thinking “I want to piss my partner off today, that’s my goal.”

Usually, once I talk both people, it becomes clear that the goal of the partner is not to upset you. In fact, they’re usually are trying their damndest NOT to upset you, especially if you’ve been fighting a lot!

When you assume the best of your partner you’re usually more accurate in terms of what’s really happening. Assuming the best of intentions is often something I have people practice with their partners. What would you be assuming if you were assuming the best?

Using the previous example, if your partner was running late, you could assume instead that they were caught up in work, or that they got stuck in traffic, or that they were finishing something. Instead of thinking that your partner is trying to make you angry, or being lazy or selfish on purpose to make you angry.

Now just because you’re assuming the best of your partner doesn’t mean you can’t make a request of them. You can still look together at your partner’s impact versus the intention of their actions. But you’re starting with assuming the best intention of your partner, and that makes a huge difference.

What would you be thinking about your partner’s habits or what they’ve been saying if you assumed the best? How would you talk to them if you were assuming the best of them? Make it a practice. Even if you practice for one week, it can make a dramatic effect in your relationship.