The Three Assumptions


Let’s talk about relationships for a minute.

I’ve been married 27 years.

Pretty early in our marriage we went through round one of marriage counseling.

We didn’t have much money, had young children, and I was pretty sure we weren’t going to make it without some drastic intervention.

To be honest, at least once a month I was at my wit’s end. I was done. I was tired of things feeling hard and bad, so much of the time.

I was young (19 when we met).

He was older than me (by 13 years).

He had been married before and had kids already.

Not to mention our personalities were (and still are), polar opposites. Which was super fun at first (and then quickly became super hard).

We are in many ways as opposite as opposites can be. Still. Today.

Anyway, back to the counseling…

We went to see a counselor that I believe we found through the City of Pleasant Hill. They offered a sliding fee scale. That was why we picked them.

I don’t remember much from those sessions, but I remember one thing that the counselor taught us that has been EVERYTHING.

They were called The Three Assumptions.

I wish I could remember the name of the counselor that shared them with us. I am forever grateful.

For some reason, this tool that they taught us stuck with me.

I typed the assumptions up and they moved with us 16 times over the next 23 years.

Every time we put our stake in the ground in a new home, the assumptions got posted in my closet.

They were simple but profound for me.

  1. The assumption to stick together and work things out.

  2. The intention of good will.

  3. The assumption that my partner can and wants to understand me.

They seem kinda basic now, but at the time made all the difference.

  • If we don’t know, that as a couple, our intention is to stick together and work things out, why try? Why put in the effort if you think the other person may just bolt? Intention number 1 was about commitment.

  • If we don’t come from the place of knowing that we intend nothing but good will for each other, decided and stated when we are at our best, why trust each other through the worst? Intention number 2 was about unconditional love.

  • If we don’t think that our partner can and wants to understand us, why bother? Why not just throw in the towel ahead of time and give up. Intention 3 was about communication.

Commitment Unconditional Love Communication

Three simple words wrapped in a tiny lesson, that has been tape to my closet wall in so many different places.

I remember times when it was all I could do to go to my closet, read those assumptions, drop to my knees, pray, choose to believe them (the three assumptions) and get right back at it.

I read them much less now, but see them every now and then from the corner of my eye, taped to my closet wall.

A gentle reminder.


If you’re struggling in a relationship let’s talk. Whether you or your partner have ADHD, there are things that can help you feel better immediately. It only takes one person to improve the whole relationship. I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned and how it’s helped us.

Click here to set up a time that works for you. ~Shaun

ADHD Tendencies and Emotions - How to Handle Criticism with Grace

Feeling criticized can hurt. What if it didn’t have to? What if people around you were free to think what they wanted, and so were you? When we have ADHD tendencies, we tend to be hard on ourselves. When others are hard on us to it can feel like a double whammy. Let’s talk about taking the sting out of criticism.

Being Reasonable is Overrated

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Let's think about this...I've considered myself to be a fairly reasonable person most of my life. A few of my core values are fairness, justice and equality. I'm now thinking being reasonable is overrated. Why? Because what I hadn't considered, was WHY I strove to be reasonable. So that others would like me.

Some of the beliefs that I held were; 

  • reasonable people appear sane and in control of their emotions
  • reasonable people will be appreciated more
  • reasonable people are more mature
  • who doesn't want to be the "voice of reason"? The person that can help to bring clarity to a situation
  • reasonable people are less difficult and make it easier on others

Truth be told, that all sounds fairly noble and like it's coming from a good place. But what if it wasn't? What if it was coming from a fearful place? What if the truth also sounded like this:

  • what will people think if I'm upset and out of control?
  • I want people to like me, I don't want to cause trouble or make waves
  • I can be immature...acting reasonable will hide that
  • I want to feel admired and valued
  • I will act how others want me to, so they are happy with me  
  • I must influence the way that people feel about me by acting as expected

What then? Where do I go with those thoughts? What are my new beliefs going to be?

Here's what I know now, my old beliefs served me at the time. They helped me to feel safe because of what I thought "being reasonable" meant. I also know that I was confused. I prided myself on being chameleon-like and having the ability to fit into just about any social situation. I messed up a bunch, in fact, all the time, but at the very least I was kind and reasonable. It became my go-to way of being. It worked with teachers, parents, friends, even my spouse. I mean, who could argue with kindness and reasonableness? There are worse things. 

I also know that those beliefs no longer serve me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not on a mission to be mean, but I am on a mission to be a bit unreasonable. I am on a mission to usher in progress. I want to make a difference and being reasonable is not the pathway to where I'm headed. Being fully me is. 

Here is what I now choose to believe:

  • Reasonable people are not the change-makers
  • It takes a bit of being unreasonable to see something greater than what currently is 
  • Be unreasonable, ask for what is needed, the worst that can happen is the answer will be no

It takes all types, one is not better than the other, just different. We must choose the way we want to be, in any given situation and then really like our "why".

For growth, choose the one that feels the least comfortable for you and then try that on for a while. Let me know how it goes.