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The Remarried Life

Dec 31, 2019

Brian Mayer talks about how the human brain will filter something the eyes see and the ears hear into something that maybe is not really there.  It is called making assumptions.  When we see our spouse say or do something, we will often unknowingly ascribe meanings that may or may not be true.  We will talk about this and what to do instead.  We hope you enjoy today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at

Today's Goodies


  • We all know the old cliché about what assumptions do?  That make a “blank” out of you and me.
  • So what exactly is an assumption?  The dictionary says something like, “something that is accepted as true or certain to happen, without proof.” 
  • Now this is certainly tricky, because for sure sometime what we will assume will happen does actually happen but sometimes it does not. 
  • Additionally, in our relationship with our spouse sometimes your reaction to what you perceive you are seeing in your spouse will actually draw that reaction you are believing will happen even more. 
  • An example, of this might happen when you sense a change in tone or bodily language in your partner, and you brain senses anger.  You then might comment on how angry your partner sounds.  What happens next is your spouse gets angry whether they truly were or not.  You then might respond by saying, “yep I knew you were angry and sure enough there it is.”  So in this example, you made an assumption then stoked the fires where it came out anyway or came out even more magnified. 
  • Our brains are like computers processing information at lightning speed.  This is most helpful most of the time specifically if we are in danger.  For example we want our brain to be quick if a vehicle traveling toward us crosses the center line.  We need to be able to react quickly. 
  • Apparently a study by MIT scientists found that our brain processes images that we see in about 13 milliseconds.  Did you know that the blink of an eye takes about a tenth of a second?  I do even really know how to do the math on that, but your brain processes visual information much quicker than the blink of an eye. 
  • Our brain process information we hear a bit slower than what we see at 0.05 seconds which is half the time it takes to blink your eyes!
  • So what exactly does this mean?  It means your brain processes what it believes your partner is doing or saying so quickly before it probably has all the information it needs to make an informed choice.  Which really isn’t all bad except for how we decide to act on the information.   
  • I see this lightning speed of processing what we see and hear and how we act in my office with couples quite often.  If I am not quick to intervene, the couples can sometimes descend down into a rabbit hole of anger, frustration, and bitterness to an ultimately cold iciness. 
  • Why does all of this happen?  Lots of reasons.  Here are some of the most common:
    • Past experiences with our current partner.  The longer you are together the more your brain will process what it believes to be true about your partner.  It’s like you brain says, “yep seen and heard this before…and we know what is coming next.” 
    • Past experiences in past romantic relationships.  Sometimes something our current partner does will remind of us something similar that a past partner has done. 
    • Childhood experiences and environment.  There is a well known assessment called ACES which stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and the more of these things that we have like divorce in our family, abuse, a parent going to jail, or several other issues can predict our difficulty in dealing with issues in our current relationships. 
    • Genetics and the hardwiring we are all born with can also impact how we view and see the world.  It is still unclear exactly how much weighs heavier whether it be nature which is genetics that are passed down and the nuture piece which is affected by how we have been treated in relationships in our past. 
    • Finally, our own choices over time can impact what we do going forward.  Sort of like our habits.  The more we respond to something in a similar way, the more easy it becomes to keep responding in a similar way. 
  • So then how do we deal with all that lays behind us when it comes to genetics, environment and our past choices.  Let’s talk about some things you can to reduce your assumption making machine. 
  • Hey are my suggestions:
    • Take a breath before you respond.  This will give you time to slow your thinking down. 
    • Instead of responding with an answer, a retort, or some defensive response, I would like you to respond with an open ended question.  My favorite open ended question or really is more of a statement is something like, “Tell me more about that.”  People usually eat that up especially when you say it with interest.  It invites them to explain more while giving you more time to thing through your response. 
    • If you find yourself getting upset, Ask yourself what is triggering you. 
    • Call it out when you are getting irritated.  Saying something like “I’m getting upset probably for some dumb reason, so hang in with me while I reel my brain back in.”  As you are saying something like this you might realize that the reason you are mad at your partner’s desire to buy a new car is because you have a great anxiety over money for example.
  • How about what you think might help? I am sure you have some methods or maybe even some things you have done to help with making assumptions.  Post those in The Remarried Life Facebook group!  See the link below. 
  • Remember the goal with watching your assumptions is not necessarily to change your partner and what they say and do.  It is more to help you with your negative emotions and negative thoughts toward your partner. 


  • None Mentioned

Thanks For Listening!

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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.