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January 4, 2023


O.A.R. – Offense. Assumption. Reaction.

Assumptions lead to bad reactions…get the facts before you react! ~ David Bishop, LoveRecon

Assumptions are like guessing at Lottery numbers. Your statistics on getting it right are about 1 in 14 million. ~ Angie Craft, LoveRecon


It is important to remember that the tools you learned in LoveRecon, and which we are reinforcing here, are to give you choices in how you relate to each other. You can be in control of yourself and your words and actions. There are choices that you can make that will work for your relationship and choices that you can make that will work against your relationship.

Conflict is one of the areas that can make your relationship stronger or tear it apart, depending on how you handle it and the choices that you make

Most conflict begins when something happens that one or both of you perceive(s) as an offense. An offense is something that happens and inLove Recon What to Ask Your Spouse About Their Affair body itself is neutral. It is what you assume about the action or situation that assigns its meaning. Based upon your assumption (belief), you then react. If you perceive that you are being ignored, controlled, devalued, etc. (Remember those hot buttons?) by your spouse, then you may react in a retaliatory manner toward them. This can escalate until it becomes a cycle of being offended, assuming negatively, then reacting in a way that offends your mate. They then assume and react in a way that offends you, and on it goes! Let’s break it down.

Offense.  An offense is anything that hurts you emotionally. It can be a real offense, or you can perceive it as real. Either way, you are offended. Unmet expectations are a major source of offenses. It has been said that “expectations are just offenses paid forward.” If I expect a certain behavior or treatment from you and you don’t deliver, then I can become offended or hurt. So, offenses are the source of emotional pain whether or not the offense was intended and unmet expectations are often the reason we become offended.

Assumption. An assumption is what we believe to be true about a person, their motives or the situation, whether or not it is based in fact. It is “our truth.” In fact, when we are offended, we tend to ascribe the worst possible motive or intent to the person that hurt us. This is where making the choice that will work for your relationship is critical! At this point we can choose to believe the best about our mate giving them the benefit of the doubt, or we can choose to believe that we are married to the spawn of Satan! Seriously, what you choose to believe at this point will determine whether you can reconnect with your mate or continue to move apart.

Reaction. If you think the worst about your mate or the situation, you will escalate the situation by reacting in a way to offend or injure them, or you will withdraw from or stonewall them. If you choose to go with the reaction that works for the relationship, you could say something like:

“I feel that there is distance between us and that we’re becoming disconnected. I don’t want to be upset with you and I don’t want you to be upset with me. I want to resolve this so that we can reconnect. Will you talk through this with me?”

And then you would get into a dyad and use the “mirroring” or reflective listening communication tool. Listen to and validate each other’s feelings (you don’t have to agree) and then you can attack the issue and not each other! All it takes is one of you to stop a cycle of conflict.


Think about a recent or recurring conflict. Pick a smaller one or one that is not that heated emotionally unless you are feeling really confident in your relationship. You probably won’t resolve it today. You will just get clarity and a better understanding of your spouse’s thoughts and feelings as well as your own. Follow these steps:

Agree upon the conflict you wish to address.


A: Tell your mate your OFFENSE, ASSUMPTION and REACTION.

“When you said or did…, it made me feel …”

“My assumption was…, and I reacted by… “


B: Mirror back what you heard:

“What I heard you say was…,” Ask, “Did I get it?”.


A: Let them know how they did: “You got it!” or “You got most of it, but I really need you to hear…”

Now switch roles and repeat the process for B.


B: Tell your mate your OFFENSE, ASSUMPTION and REACTION.

“When you said or did…, it made me feel…”

“My assumption was…, and I reacted by…. “


A: Mirror back what you heard:

“What I heard you say was…,” Ask, “Did I get it?”.


B: Let them know how they did: “You got it!” or “You got most of it, but I really need you to hear…”

Now that you have heard and validated each other, you are ready to move into addressing the conflict. You will do that in the next chapter.

End with a hug, a kiss and a prayer or wish for your mate!

Find out how Love Recon can help your marriage suceed!

About the author 

Cliff Poe

Cliff Poe is Founder and Lead Coach for Recon Coaching. He and his wife, Jeani, are Master Coaches and their passion is to help individuals and couples form healthy, lasting and satisfying relationships. Cliff has a M.Div. in pastoral counseling and ministry. He enjoys writing and coaching as well as his family which includes 2 adult kids and their spouses, 6 grandchildren and a fur family composed of a Golden Retriever and a Mackerel Tabby.

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