One Way to Instantly Improve Your Relationships

“I couldn’t believe he did that,” my friend said as she described the almost-fight she had with her husband. “He walks right past the puddle of milk on the kitchen floor and out the back door. An entire gallon of milk on the floor, and he walks around it like it’s my responsibility to clean it up. Surely he couldn’t stoop so low as to grab some paper towels and help me. Oh no. That’s beneath him.” 

“Then,” she said as she continued the story, “he walks back in carrying the shop vac. ’This is way too much liquid to mop up,’ he says. ‘This’ll get it up in no time.’ Boy, was I glad I didn’t light into him. I feel bad even thinking about what I coulda said.” 

Sarah, another friend, chimed in. “Yeah, something similar happened to me recently. I picked up my husband’s phone and noticed that he’d made three calls, on three separate days, to one of my best friends. Why would he be calling her? And three times?” We nodded. Suspicious. Definitely suspicious. 

“I thought about it all day long,” she said. “He’s cheating on me. With my best friend. Well I’m not going to stand for that. If he wants her, he can have her. Good riddance." 

“I stormed in the door after work all ready to confront him,” she paused. “But I didn’t get to say a word. People jumped out from everywhere yelling ‘Surprise!’ Turns out he and Tiffany had been planning my surprise birthday party for weeks.” 

She turned sheepish eyes toward us and said, “It was a surprise, alright. I'm so glad I didn’t make a fool of myself.” 

While I know every story doesn’t have a similarly happy ending, they share a common thread. Both women erred by assuming the worst about their husbands instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt. It’s so easy to do this, not just in our relationship with our husband, but with our kids, our coworkers, even strangers. 

They didn’t do what I asked because they’re lazy and trying to get out of work. 

I saw how they stopped talking when I came into the room. They must have been talking about me. 

She didn’t come to my party last week. She hates me. 

How different would our world be if, instead of assuming the worst of people, we assumed the best? What if we looked for the good, instead of looking for the bad? 

“He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it,” Prov. 11:27 says. 

The lens through which we view the world, in large part, determines how we see the world. If we look for good, we’ll see it everywhere. If we look for evil, we’ll see that instead. 

The nightly news is a classic example. Thirty minutes of watching will convince us that the world is filled with murders, rapists, child molesters, and racists. When was the last time you watched a story about someone doing something kind for another? How different would our perception, and perhaps even our reality be if the media promoted the positive instead of the negative? 

Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect, issues this challenge: “Look for the good in your spouse (even though it seems to be lacking). It is quite likely that you will see your spouse’s goodwill coming right back at you. The truth is simple: we will see what we look for. No matter what happens, always assume your partner has basic goodwill toward you.” 

And while Eggerichs acknowledges that seeking good in others doesn’t always result in receiving good from them, it’s still the best policy. “Keep on seeking the good; eventually you will find it and goodwill as well.” 

Our world is filled with both good and evil. Every day we get to choose which we will look for. Sometimes the evil pushes its way into our lives to the point that we can’t ignore it, but most days we’ll see what we choose to see. 

Today, I purpose to look for the good wherever I go. Will you join me?

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  1. Just this morning I was thinking on the idea that our circumstances may not be positive but that our perceptions are more significant. It seems to me that this is the is the perfect example. Thanks for sharing it, Lori.

    1. You are so right, Ellen. And excellent observation. Thanks for chiming in today :)


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