Last night as dinner came to an end, Kyle started putting away the leftovers and I shamefully (and sneakily) reached for the last pieces of bacon. In his mind, ever-the-saver, he had hopes and dreams of saving said-bacon for lunch the next day. In my mind (and hunger), I saw one thing, and one thing only: savory, sweet bacon that was begging to be devoured.
He peaked around the corner to find me mid-bite, and said, “Are you seriously eating all the leftover bacon!?” to which I–with immediate guilt and shame–replied, “Umm… er… yes, were you saving it for something?” With his mouth agape he half-jokingly yelled, “I CANNOT believe you could not just save that for lunch! You just ate over half the bacon I made for that soup!”
And this is where the communication-breakdown began.
What Kyle didn’t know was that little statement stirred up a range of emotions that I could hardly muster up the words to describe. And with his little, innocent, question, he sent me into a full-fledged guilt-fest. Isn’t this where all of us go wrong when it comes to communicating with those we love?
In that moment, I had two options: I could choose to believe the best, or assume the worst. Assuming the worst looks like this: believing that Kyle sat stirring in the kitchen, waiting for an opportunity to call out my over-eating tendencies in pregnancy and make me feel like the largest, most obese woman on earth. Or I could believe the best: assume that he seriously just wanted bacon with his leftovers, and was disappointed that his pregnant wife indulged in the sweet taste of bacon instead. Assuming the worst would have served my self-pitying desire for sympathy, even though I knew my sweet husband would never say anything to make me feel anything but beautiful. Believing the best leaves only one option: grace in place of judgment.
So, which scenario did I choose?
I collected my hormone-enraged self and calmly walked up to our bedroom where I sat and asked myself, “Does he think I’m the fattest person that ever lived, or was he just hoping for bacon?” After five minutes of calming down and realizing his taste buds took over (just like mine), he came to apologize and I–as they say–cried it out.
Isn’t this true of all our relationships? In every conflict, moment of tension, we are left with two options: believing the absolute best or assuming the complete worst of one another. Believing the best involves self-denial, surrendering the desire to win and argue, and instead choose love. And believing the best always leads the relationship to a healthier, more holy place.