Assumed Innocent

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Assumed Innocent

In a post last week (Both, And) I mentioned assuming the innocent of
your beloved.   I thought I’d expand on that here.  A few months ago I
decided to practice what I preach.  My marriage had become pretty
incredible since our reunion last summer after nearly a year apart, but
there was one area that was still lacking.
     
  
My husband and I rarely had deep, philosophical discussions.   He’s
just not that kind of guy, I thought.  I’d attempted to lure him into
them from time to time, and he’s a great listener, but he just never
had anything to offer.   I have a couple of friends who are great at
that, and I’d decided that I could go to them for the fulfillment of
that part of my soul’s desires.
     
  
Then one day, I was contemplating the innocence of the beloved.   I’d
written about it recently, and was coaching my clients to assume their
partners’ innocence as a way to resolve conflicts.  Rather than assume
they meant something other than what they said, or assume that they
would respond to a request in a certain, negative way, I suggested they
assume that their beloved would rise to the occasion and come from a
place of love.
    
   And, as often happens with me, it hit me upside the head:   there I
was, preaching what I needed to learn for myself. That evening, I said
to my beloved, “I’ve been selling you short, honey.  I’ve been assuming
that you wouldn’t be able to step up to the plate and offer me a deep
intellectual communion.  That’s not very fair of me, because you’ve
been able to do everything else I’ve ever needed you to do.   I want
this from you, so that we can have a truly sacred relationship in all
areas.  I’m sorry I’ve been expecting you wouldn’t be able to rise to
the occasion.  From now on, I am assuming that you are not only
capable, but willing to engage with me in this way.”
     

We proceeded to have a long, deep conversation that crossed many topics
and thrilled me to the core of my being. When I assumed his innocence,
I created the space for him to step into being the person I wanted him
to be.   It wouldn’t have happened without his willingness, and it
wouldn’t have happened if I kept assuming he was incapable of it.  It
would have continued to stunt our relationship, a wedge between us
drawing us further apart.  It’s still a work in progress; we’re
changing a pattern of two decades and that requires our conscious
attention.  And I still go to my friends for deep, meaningful
conversations, but it’s also delightful to know that those kinds of
talks can happen on Sunday morning in bed, or Thursday night over
dinner.
     

What might happen if you assumed the innocence of your beloved around
something that’s been bothering you in the relationship?   Try it on
for size and see for yourself.

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