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 http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.