There are 2 critical assumptions in a marriage relationship.
I mean critical.
And, dangerous assumptions to make.
Making these two assumptions and not understanding the gravity of them can cause major problems in the relationship.
In my experience, the assumptions happen naturally — and often cause conflict — but when they are misunderstood, the conflict magnifies exponentially.
Two critical assumptions:
Assuming that what you value your spouse values.
The fact is you will likely have different values.
Let me give you a very practical example from my own marriage. I think our house is always relatively “clean”. Things are in place. I’m not tripping over stuff as I walk through the house. I’d be fine if people “dropped in” unannounced.
Cheryl isn’t okay with that. She sees things I don’t see. She values a “clean” house much more than I do. She sees the dust on the furniture. She knows if it’s been 3 days or 7 since the bathrooms were last “cleaned”. It bothers her if the shoes at the front door are not in their proper place. Her value system is different on those issues than mine.
And, there could be plenty of examples of things I would value that she may not. One for me, as an example, is getting out the door when it’s time to leave. “Come on, let’s go.” But, at that moment, her values of having everything in it’s place conflict with my value to get on the road in a timely manner.
This type conflict in values happens continually in every marriage.
And, equally critical — and dangerous:
Assuming that your spouse’s values don’t matter to you.
They do. They matter greatly. Even if they conflict with your values.
They matter to me because they matter to my spouse.
When I fail to validate a person’s values — any person’s, but especially my spouse — even if they aren’t my values, I speak volumes to them that I don’t care. That may not be true, but that’s the perception received.
Part of having a successful marriage is learning the values of the other person, validating them, and working to balance each other in them.
Cheryl can’t expect me to have the same values as her. Actually, over time, our values do tend to align more. We will always be different, because we are different — designed by God to be different.
Cheryl should expect me to value her values. And, likewise for her to value mine. It’s part of what makes a marriage work.