It’s a constant and ongoing battle in your marriage. You like to have things laid out and to be prepared for what’s coming. He doesn’t plan at all. You know you’d relax if only he’d be a little more focused, and then you could stop having these arguments. How can you get him to work with you on this? Is it even possible?

I’m going to start by quoting a brief passage from a book I recently read, “The One Thing You Need to Know” by Marcus Buckingham:

“...Putting these conclusions together, this controlling insight can serve as the One Thing you need to know about happy marriage: Find the most generous explanation for each other’s behavior and believe it.”

Those of you that have either worked with me one-on-one, or have participated in any of the seminars I lead, know that I am a HUGE fan of “assume the best”, and “perception is a choice” in a relationship with a man (it’s actually fabulous in ANY relationship you care about).

Simply put, this means that no matter what your man is doing that you find displeasing, you work to find the best possible reason, motive or cause for it. My one caution: make it feasible, or you’ll deny yourself the power of choosing a perception that alters your emotional state in a positive way.


You say he doesn’t plan, which drives you nuts. You need more structure, more of an ability to see what’s coming, so you can prepare.

Here are three (of many more) possible perceptions you could choose:

1. He is a relaxed, trusting man, and a very positive influence on me – it helps me work on my controlling, “type A” personality.
2. I married a total ass$^&@ and he’s ruining my life.
3. Ever since the Martians took over his brain, I can’t trust this guy.

I’m going to guess that #1 brings forth appreciation and love. #2 does the opposite, and brings forth your angry and judgmental side. #3 is useless, as no part of your mind can wrap around it (unless you really want to make yourself laugh, in which case, go for it!).

Too many women see (perceive) their husband’s way of “going with the flow” as an intolerable flaw. That explanation of his behavior fuels your judgment and anger, which is, in all likelihood, getting you both more dug in to your respective “corners”, so it becomes a “right/wrong” issue, rather than simply being that you both bring different perspectives (and strengths) to the marriage.


Here’s what you do:

1) Next time you’re getting in trouble with your perception of him, take a breath (or two or three) and ask yourself what explanation for him you’re working honest with yourself.
2) If your perception could be anything other than your auto-response first one (here’s a hint: there are always other perceptions that are just as legitimate), and it would help you feel better, play around with choosing one that works.
3) Keep at it until you feel better.
4) If you just can’t “get off it” this time, make yourself a promise that next time you find yourself seeing your husband in a negative light, you WILL work at finding a positive spin to whatever he’s doing.

It’s ultimately all about feeling better, since when you feel better, you act more in alignment with your highest and best self. This man, your wonderful partner, is in your life to help you learn to be your best self; he’s your perfect teacher!


If you want to be successful in a long-term marriage, as I trust you do, it takes learning how to do things that support compassion and trust between you and your mate. Bringing a generosity of spirit to the way you perceive what he’s doing (or has done), so that you’re able to choose the best possible story for what was behind the (perhaps) bone-headed move, is a powerful way to bring you closer to what you want. You will both feel better in the long run. And what a marvelous connection that nurtures!

Author's Bio: 

Karen Jones is the founder of The Heart Matters – since 1997, a relationship coaching and seminar company that’s been successfully helping women have the relationship they’ve always dreamed of. To learn how Karen can help you find the right man, please visit her website: and receive your complimentary monthly newsletter, “Ask the Coach”.