One of the best teaching I’ve encountered about marriage came through our missionary training one day. One of the trainers talked about a study at the University of Washington, where they studied thousands of couples. They eventually determined what made some marriages happy and long lasting and what made others fizzle. They called it “assuming positive intent.”
If you assume your spouse with negative intent, you constantly judge his motives as impure instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt. Those couples who stayed together, instead, assumed positive intent. Instead of thinking the worse or assigning negative intentions, they waited and thought the best.
So, if your spouse comes home late, assuming negative intent would be thinking he did it on purpose to bother you. Assuming positive intent would be waiting to hear about his day and letting him explain why he was late (most likely traffic!).
This concept has revolutionized the way I approach my husband. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt. This makes for a much more joyful, positive marriage.