Imagine this situation. You walk into the living room and there's your husband sitting on his favorite chair glaring at the wall. His lips are tight; his jaw is clenched. Your immediate reaction: fear! "What did I do? Why is he so angry at me?" You tentatively approach him, "What's the matter, David?" you ask, expecting him to pour his wrath upon you. David slowly turns toward you. The tense, angry look begins to melt and he says sadly, "I've been laid off." "Thank God," you almost blurt out, "at least it wasn't me."
In this case, the woman checked out her assumptions and discovered that her husband wasn't upset with her. Yet, how often does it happen that we make the wrong assumptions and just go on believing them without ever discovering if they're true?
It often happens during the process of marital therapy that assumptions, illusions and fantasies are exposed as false or only partially true. For example, the angry, critical husband who supposedly hates his wife might in fact be an insecure man who is convinced that his wife doesn't love him. Perhaps, as in one case that I know of, a distant, rejecting wife turned out to be a very sad woman, grieving the loss of her mother. Don't assume. Check it out.