How often have you felt this way? You say or do something and immediately feels as though your partner jumps down your throat, assuming the worst? For example, your mate has been talking about her desire to shed a few pounds and get back to regular exercising. Her birthday comes along and you buy her a new treadmill, complete with all of the latest bells and whistles. You have it delivered, put a big bow on it and surprise her when she gets home. Thinking she will be ecstatic, you are bewildered when she breaks into tears, exclaiming, “So not only am I older today, but now you think I’m fat!”

Or perhaps your husband has been hinting that he would like to have a quiet weekend to relax without any expectations. So, in an effort to honor that, you make plans on Saturday to hang out with your girlfriends all day. When your husband learns of you plans, he grumbles, “I finally have a day off and you would rather be with your friends than you would with me?”

Both individuals were trying to do a good thing, yet their partner began the interaction from a place of assumed negative intentions. Every interaction begins with an assumption – assuming either this person wants the best for me or they are out to get me (or somewhere in between). When we give each other the benefit of the doubt, we dramatically increase the likelihood of a productive exchange. Couples who begin from this place tend to have relationships that flourish.  You appreciate it when you are afforded the benefit of the doubt so why not offer that same benefit to your partner as well. Slightly rose-colored glasses can be a good thing.