Do You Expect Your Spouse to Read Your Mind?

Most people agree it isn’t fair to expect someone to read your mind. But how many of us have expected our spouses to accomplish that impossible feat?

Larry and I returned from our honeymoon excited to begin our new life together. I’d never found it hard to live with a roommate. Now I’d be living with the love of my life. What could be easier?

I soon learned marriage was different from sharing an apartment with a friend. With a roommate, my stuff was mine. I decided how it would be treated. But in marriage, my stuff was also his. Sometimes, he didn’t handle my our things like I thought he should. With a roommate, we divided household chores evenly and took turns cooking. In marriage, I felt I should carry those jobs.

Wanting to please my husband, I asked what he wanted for breakfast. Since I’ve never been a big breakfast eater, I guess I assumed he wouldn’t be either. I didn’t even like the smell of food cooking the first thing in the morning.

Larry? The bigger the breakfast the better. “How ‘bout scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, coffee? And would you add a bowl of oatmeal?”

Did I mention I’m not a morning person?

Larry dressed while I cooked. He read his Bible and prayed while I cleaned up breakfast and dressed. When I finished dressing, he was ready to leave for our day. What about my quiet time?

We worked on local high school campuses and lunched at home. “What do you want for lunch?”

Homemade soup, sandwiches, and chips suited him. While I prepared lunch, he read the news and returned calls. Supper fell into the same pattern.

I hated the resentment building inside me. What was wrong with me? Shouldn’t I enjoy serving my husband?

Showing Love by Speaking Truth

After venting my frustration in my journal, I meekly approached Larry. I hated to admit the resentment building within me. “Honey, I need to talk to you about something.”

“Sure.” Larry put down his reading.

“You know I love you very much. But I hate being in the kitchen all the time. I don’t even have time for my morning Bible reading. I need a break. Can we come up with another plan?”

Larry showed genuine surprise. “I thought you liked that.”

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB).

Larry is very considerate, and I knew he cared about my needs and desires. But how could he understand them if I didn’t tell him? He wasn’t a mind-reader. Once I realized I wasn’t Martha Stewart, I needed to take responsibility for the stress I was creating.

Do you feel someone is taking advantage of you? Have you expected them to read your mind? I’ve found reasonable people don’t set out to irritate us. Most of us are caught up in our own agendas and aren’t aware our actions bother someone else.

When someone bothers me, I’ve learned to talk to the Lord about it. I may also need to swallow my fear and pride and talk to the person. We both can grow in the process.

Larry and I found a new rhythm that reflected our individual bents. (Turns out he enjoys grocery shopping and audio books help me push through routine tasks.) Our responsibilities shift with life’s seasons. We aren’t cookie cutters. Trying to emulate an inflexible template only causes stress and fails to reflect the one-flesh model God designed.

Harmonious living requires listening to one another. It also includes listening to ourselves. Then we must speak the truth in love—because only God can read your mind.

But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephes. 4:15 NASB).

Harmonious living requires listening to one another. It also includes listening to ourselves and speaking the truth in love—because only God can read your mind. #communication #relationships Click To Tweet

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Join me this Wednesday January 18th either virtually or in person at the Knowing God Ministries luncheon in Cary. Learn more here. I’ll be taking about How to Live Our Lives On Purpose.

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  1. Stephanie

    Love this!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Stephanie, 🙂

  2. Ann Musico

    Great points Debbie. I think we all expect this at times, especially from our spouse who knows us better than anyone else.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, Ann. It’s certainly unfair, but easy to do!

  3. Geneva

    Of course, our husbands should be able to read our minds. 🙂
    But they can’t and speaking up is hard sometimes. Thanks for reminding me that my wonderful mate isn’t a mind reader.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Geneva, I’m sure they scratch their heads and wonder why we’re in a tiff when we don’t speak up. Be good to you man! 🙂

  4. J.D. Wininger

    I don’t expect “mind reader” as much as I expect “more” from my loved ones. Not only my spouse, but all in my family. I try and live my life with a high standard of performance, values, integrity, morality, ethics, etc.; and I find that I expect each one of my family members to live up to those same standards. Not that they aren’t all these things, and more, but it seems I hold them to a higher standard of accountability than I do a stranger or acquaintance. With strangers or those I barely know, I’m much faster to extend grace when they fail me; it’s expected. When a family member fails to live up to my expectations, I’m too quick to point that out to them. I realize it’s my problem and not theirs, and I’m continuing to pray God’s control over it.

    • Debbie Wilson

      You make a good point, J.D. They need our grace, just as we need theirs.

  5. Barbara Lynn

    “Harmonious living requires listening to one another. It also includes listening to ourselves. Then we must speak the truth in love—because only God can read your mind.” Love this! Listening to one another is an important skill that many of us fail at on a regular basis. Thank you for your encouragement!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Barbara!

  6. Joanne Viola

    “Harmonious living requires listening to one another. It also includes listening to ourselves.” So true! It is amazing what we learn as we go along in marriage. I have often said that both marriage and motherhood were the tools God used to change me 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Joanne, I agree. Great labs to produce sanctification!

  7. Katherine Pasour

    A wonderful lesson, no matter our stage in life. A great reminder that only God can read our mind–no one else, so why expect them to? Thank you for sharing.

  8. Debbie Wilson

    I know, yet I’ve been guilty of this. Thanks, Katherine.

  9. Lisa notes

    Such great advice for all of our relationships. None of us are mindreaders. (I’m thankful my husband loves being in the kitchen more than I do! lol)

    • Debbie Wilson

      Wow, that is a gift! I’m glad mind likes to grocery shop!

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