Believing in His Goodness

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on September 27, 2012

My poor, poor husband went off and married a woman who couldn’t cook.

I mean, I really couldn’t cook.

I was bound and determined to learn, though, so once in a while I’d set out to create elaborate meals in an attempt to master the art of cooking. I’d pull out all the stops–creative appetizers, scrumptious main courses, perfectly complimentary side dishes, decadent desserts, softly glowing candles, fine china, cute outfits (of course)…you get the idea. One day while Dan was at work I decided to prepare a romantic feast as a surprise for him. I slaved away all day and then eagerly settled in to await his arrival home.

Only, he didn’t come straight home from work. Not by a long shot.

The food got cold and I quickly became hot — and not in that desirable (pun intended) newlywed way, either, if you catch my drift.

Eventually my husband made it home but by that time I was furious. He was apologetic but kind of vague regarding the details of where he’d been which irritated me to no end. In short, there was no romantic feast that night. Which is sad! Romantic feasts are lovely! It wouldn’t have been so hard to re-light the candles, re-heat the food, and savor the romance but I chose to remain irritated and stomped off in an attempt to make some silly point.

Later that week I noticed that his jacket was missing. Where was it? Well, girls, he wouldn’t say. I pressed him–oh yes, I did–but he still wouldn’t say. At this point he was left facing a grave decision: does he keep the whereabouts of the mysterious disappearing jacket a secret and endure the wrath of his (not-so) mild-mannered young wife? Or does he confess and reveal his deep and (not-so) dark secret?

(Oh, the suspense!)

He wisely chose the latter. He’s going to kill me for sharing this, but here’s what had happened: he’d stopped on his way home to help a homeless man. He gave him food and the jacket off his back. That’s why he’d been delayed. And that’s where the jacket had gone. The reason he hadn’t wanted to share all this with me is because he likes to humbly carry out these little acts of mercy quietly.

I love that man.

I’d assumed it was something selfish my husband had done that had caused him to be late for dinner. In other words, I assumed the worst. And as a result, I ruined the evening. (Keep in mind this was before he had a cellphone so he really couldn’t have called. Nor had he specifically said that he’d be coming directly home from work. I’d just figured he would.) I could have chosen to assume the best. I could have recognized that I have an amazing husband who would never have purposefully ruined my dinner. But I didn’t.

That was not the first time I’d assigned uncharitable motives to my husband’s actions, nor would it be the last. I’m a bit of a slow learner but eventually it dawned on me that my failure to assume positive intent was hugely unfair and was damaging our relationship. So I decided to change my foolish ways. (Or try to, anyway.)

These days I can more clearly see my husband for the remarkable man he is. That doesn’t mean that he’s perfect (or that I pretend that he’s perfect); it just means that I am committed to seeing the best in him. I am committed to viewing him and his actions through a lens of trust rather than suspicion. And it does take commitment. It’s not always an easy thing to do when I am disappointed by the way something has turned out but it’s a habit I’ve worked hard to form and continue to work hard to reinforce. Also? It’s only fair. No one deserves to have their motives questioned without provocation. Certainly not my husband–an faithful husband and father who has only ever wanted the best for his family.

Imagine how much stronger our marriages could be if we all decided to assume positive intent. Imagine how much happier we would all be if we chose to see the best in our spouses. Have you ever encountered a couple whose love for one another is practically palpable? I don’t think the large majority of them have less struggles or are more virtuous than the rest of us. I believe that they’ve simply disciplined themselves to believe in the goodness in one another, forgive the weakness, and be grateful for the gift of their love.


(Someone recently emailed me looking for this post so — since I’m still getting settled into our new home and haven’t had much time for blogging — I thought I’d re-run it. Hope you all are well, sweet girls!)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

The Reluctant Widow September 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

You have a truly wonderful husband! For me, it was more fear that would set in when my husband was gone longer than I expected. I would get a little irritated at first, but then after a short while, I would suddenly envision all sorts of bad things that had happened (he’s lying in a ditch somewhere, he’s had a terrible wreck and my 4 children are with him!, he’s left me…you get the picture). I can not tell you the number of times I tortured myself with these thoughts and the times I cried for pure joy when he returned home safely. THEN I would get on to him about his lack of time management skills. ;)

Why are we women so often distrusting of our husbands when we know them to be the godly, faithful men that they are?
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Amy Caroline September 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

I think that our culture has made it so that women have a great and powerful mistrust of men. Television and movies often portray men as unfaithful, stupid, sex maniacs. So, of course, women are going to take that notion into every relationship they have. It is a crime that society has put this on men for the sake of “humor.” We tried to watch an old TV show just last night on Netflix that my husband and I had watched as kids. I couldn’t stand it. The husband was a selfish lout who would rather have a big screen TV then help pay for tutoring for his son. And this was supposed to be funny? How many shows were like this? Probably still are? Stupid man, smart woman, bratty kids.
Anyway, your post spoke to me, because my marriage started out quite the same way. I was filled with fear and mistrust. It took a lot of work and time for me to work through that. It is desperately important that we do honor our spouse. Try to always focus on the good and work through the bad.
It is a sad fact how our culture has so little respect for men and how we all pay the price for that.
Oh! Also, thank you for reposting this. I have just discovered your blog and I truly love it. Please keep posting!
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Hallie @ Moxie Wife September 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

Oh, I do that, too! Just call me Mrs. Worse Case Scenario. ;)

Hallie @ Moxie Wife September 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

Such a great insight, Amy!

And thank you so much! You’re so sweet. (BTW – I am absolutely smitten with your “wardrobe” board on Pinterest! I love your style!)

Barb September 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Thank you for re-posting this! I’m Mrs. Worst-Case Scenario myself when it comes to lateness (and that’s not the problem here; I worry the same way about my kids). But when I assume a Worst-Case Scenario for everything else, that’s when it becomes the problem.
Assume Positive Intent. I like it. I want to do that.
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Hallie @ Moxie Wife September 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I don’t know what I’m going to do when my kids get older and are more independent. Mrs. WCS is going to have a field day! ;)

Andrea September 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I was just thinking about this post today! Thank you for reposting it!!

Ami September 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

This is so timely!! We are in the midst of a move cross country after a horrible year and needless to say we are stressed and tired. And I so often find myself responding and reacting out of a negative place instead of remembering what I know. My husband is a good man! He loves me and our kids!
Thanks Hallie!

Karen Bell January 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

I needed this. I read your blog when I was single, which was great, but it’s been so helpful reading your posts again now actually being married. And humbling. But we have to keep making fresh starts when we slip up, I guess. : ) Xo

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