5 Words that Profoundly Impact my Relationship with Justin


These five words are something I say to myself during a variety of interaction points through our marriage.

And I think knowing this phrase, and accepting it really early on, takes away a bit of the movie-like fairytale romance from our relationship, but has saved us from so many arguments.

The five words are “He’s not a mind reader”. 

This phrase was in a book on marriage that I read while we were engaged and I’ve carried this thought into our marriage in so many ways.

Justin and I have a lot of similarities, but our love languages are pretty different. It takes time to become tuned to how your partner receives and gives love, and that is something Justin and I are always adjusting and working on as our lives change.

sidebar: I can’t use the words “giving and receiving” without thinking of Joey’s example of his speech for Chandler and Monica’s wedding. #friendsreference

Physical affection (something as simple as touching my shoulder or the top of my back when he passes me in the house) means so much to me. Justin is not naturally a “physical touch” kind of guy, so he has to make a great effort to do that for me.

Justin really appreciates words of affirmation and I can struggle to give those freely. I can look at a household task as a just a basic “check that off the list” thing that could easily go unmentioned, but it means a lot to him if I notice that he did it and say “hey thanks for doing _____, I appreciate that!”

So the biggest way that the “he’s not a mind reader” has played out for success in our communication and marriage is me setting aside the belief that he is going to SEE my stress or SEE my need for a date or SEE that I need help with a task without me asking or mentioning any of those things.

If I assume he’s a mind reader, I assume that he knows exactly what I need without telling him, and let me say that if you are looking for a way to set your spouse up for failure, that is the best way to do it.

It is totally unfair of me to have expectations of him that I do not share with him. And I wouldn’t want him to do that with me either! Does it take away some of the magic and surprise, yes it does a little bit. But it’s worth losing a little magic for the sake of healthy communication and expectations.

So early on, I learned that I need to be explicit about what my hopes or needs are for certain things. Date night, for example, is something I usually plan but I told Justin at the start of our marriage that I’d like to go on a more fancy, special date at Christmas time that I’d like him to plan.

I’m going to be honest here, with my husband’s permission, and share that he forgot about this special Christmas date I asked for a few years in a row. It really hurt me, but we worked on it, and he’s made our Christmas date a priority for the past few years.

The “he’s not a mind reader” also works really well as a way to remind myself that he doesn’t know if I need something if I don’t tell him. If I need more work time, I need to tell him. If I need a girl’s night, I tell him.

We have struggles like any married couple, but our communication has always been something we focus on intently. And I think that has led to a lot of success with knowing and learning what the other person needs or desires in a season.

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Comments (36)

  1. Allison says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    Thank you for this reminder. Enjoy your Valentine’s date.

    Also, I am the same way with Joey’s speech.

  2. Posted February 14, 2020

    Thanks for this post! It’s all about clear communication. Happy Valentine’s Day, Kate! ❤️✨

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  3. Sherry says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    YES about the Joey speech….saw that episode recently. LOL Some people can relate everyday life to Seinfeld episodes, I relate everything to a Friends episode.
    Anyways…..this is a great reminder for all of us in our relationships, no one is a mind reader and I think it is easy to forget that. I listened to a podcast this week that had a similar message and it reminds me that communicating with the people in our lives is vital to a healthy relationship…..hopefully I will try to remember this message by this time next week. (ha ha)
    Happy Valentines Day to you and your family.

  4. Katie Evans says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    So good. We are married 20 years and your reminders are just as important now as they were in the beginning. XO

  5. Bethany says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    Love this and love the #friendsreference…lol! My husband told me a few years ago that it would be most helpful to him if I could “assume the best about him.” This has also been a great reminder to me that my husband is doing the best he can just as I am. When I remind myself of this I always feel more fondly about him even when I’m irritated! Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Jeannie says
      Posted February 14, 2020

      That’s good advice!

  6. Laura Mason says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    I couldn’t agree more, Kate!!! So many women expect their husband’s to know what they are thinking. We are far too complex for them to understand. LOL! This is also why my husband and I don’t do gifts for anything! Too much pressure and possible disappointment.

  7. Elizabeth says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    This is fantastic advice! I have a bridal shower coming up, and I’m sure the ‘write down your marriage advice’ game will be played. I’m using this! And I will try to keep this in mind in my own marriage. ❤️

  8. Chelsey says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    Thank you for sharing. As a semi-newlywed (2 years) it can be easy to forget this still! I think we encounter this most with household stuff. I’ll think the priorities that need to get done are pretty obvious, but he’ll make his to-do list for completely different tasks! But when we communicate our expectations things go so much smoother!

  9. Laci says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    YES to ALL of this!! You don’t know what you don’t know is my motto!! Great advice and Happy Valentine’s Day

  10. Jennifer M says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    This a wonderful view of a healthy relationship that has realistic communication goals. Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. Cherish S says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    I can relate to this 1000%! I am still in the middle of training my brain to remember this and be more vocal about my needs with my husband. I have heard a pastor say these exact same words. I just seem to forget sometimes. Thank you for the reminder. I’ll be saving this blog post for sure!

  12. Debbie Hanley says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    Love this post! Very well written. My husband and I have been married 31 yrs this May and I consider myself extremely lucky to have him because even though we have our struggles from time to time, we have the same values to help get thru those times. Now that our girls are grown we have more time to work on things and those tough times get fewer and fewer so I know you and Justin will have a wonderful marriage for many many yrs since you already have the basis for one!

  13. Hilary says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    I love this post! The best advice I’ve gotten in regards to relationships:

    From my mom: “Don’t talk poorly about your partner to others.” People ONLY remember the bad things you tell them (and you rarely share the sweet day to day interactions), so I try not to vent to friends or family about my husband. I don’t think this advice pertains to therapists, counselors, etc., but I hate to see people complain about their partner on social media or things like that.

    From a Cup of Jo post: “Don’t confuse roommate issues with relationship issues.” Partner not cleaning up as they should? Feel like you’re shouldering more of the tasks? Those are roommate issues! Still need to be dealt with but aren’t necessarily signs of something more serious.

    • Lauren says
      Posted February 14, 2020

      Love this post, thank you for sharing! Do you remember what the name of the book was that you read when you were engaged? Thanks in advance 🙂

  14. Ashley Anglea says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    I love how well this post was written… so true in many ways… of course my husband and I have different love languages… the one thing that I have to remember is that I actually need to do his love language instead of showing my love to him through my love language… I’ve caught myself many times saying … why didn’t I get a bigger reaction?”… “I would have reacted more?”… anyway… such an encouraging post to read that this is a big deal to you…

  15. Posted February 14, 2020

    This really resonated with me. It is so important to put yourself in your partners shoes and think how they feel too!

  16. Danielle says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    The 4 words that have been the most impactful in my marriageare; “Different is not wrong.” It initially came from my husband one day as brand new parents, when I was struggling to let him take care of our baby. I just couldn’t step back and keep my hands out of it all. His comment stopped me in my tracks. After 25 years, that phrase has become the motto in our house, and words of wisdom I share with others. Especially other new couples/parents.

  17. Nicole says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    Hi Kate!
    I’m engaged and would love to read the book this is referencing. What’s it called? Happy Valentines Day!

  18. Jamie says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    Oh my gosh, yassss! Probably about 15 years ago I heard an interview with John Mayer talking about this, and the takeaway was HUGE! My husband (been togehter for 8 years) and I have an incredible marriage. This is always my biggest piece of advice to anyone regarding a relationship!

  19. Bridget says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    A good reminder! One I like to use is “he’s doing his best”. Because sometimes our version of “doing our best” is very different than our spouses. And hey, at least he’s trying!

  20. Kelli says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    I could not agree more this this! Early on in my marriage, I wanted so much for him to just notice that I needed help with all the things and he caused a lot of resentment. Once I finally got it through my think skull that he can’t read my mind, it made all the difference. We communicate so much better when we just say what our needs are, without expecting each other to know. Great post!

  21. Lauren says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    Love this post, thank you for sharing! Do you remember what the name of the book was that you read when you were engaged? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Kate says
      Posted February 14, 2020

      Sadly I cannot recall the name of it right now but I’m doing my best to remember!

      • Stacie says
        Posted February 15, 2020

        Kate! Such a great post. There is a wonderful book called “Why Can’t You Read My Mind- Overcoming the 9 toxic thoughts patterns that get in the way of a loving relationships”. It’s be Jeffrey Bernstein, PH.D. Perhaps that was the one?

  22. Danielle says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    I really needed this tonight. Thank you (and Justin) for sharing💙

  23. Brenda Hastings says
    Posted February 14, 2020

    My husband is an “acts of service” love language and I am a “words of appreciation” love language. He is a total introvert and we have gone to counseling 3 times in 20 years to remind us that our love languages are very different. I remind him that if he used all of his 500 words at work, he still needs to communicate with me and I try to so things (acts of service) for him that will make his life easier. No one ever said marriage was easy, but knowing our love languages and being willing to do or say things that supports their love language has gone a long way to a successful 20 years of marriage. Love that you and Justin know and support each other’s love language.

  24. Laura Petchul says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    Love these 5 words! Every woman should be given this advice before they walk down the aisle! How they could have saved me so many times over the years when I truly thought my husband should “just know.” Thank you for sharing this and everything. You are so lovely!

  25. Jane says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    Found this so helpful Kate! Thank you! Communication really is key! Our “love languages” are quite different too… it was important early on in our marriage to clarify what those were so we could love each other better. Happy Valentine’s Day… that ravioli dish sounded sooooo gooooood! ☺️

  26. Karen says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    This is great information. My husband and I do not communicate well at all. He expects me to be a mind reader, and I’m not. You are right, that expectation does not lead to a happy marriage & sadly after almost 34 years, our communication is all but non existent. We do not discuss anything.

  27. Patricia says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    Great post! Personally I used to think inability to read mind meant less love or caring which is really ridiculous and not true but it took me awhile to understand yes it’s a language and not everyone has learned the same dialect!

  28. Tiffany clemens says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear this😊

  29. Megan says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    AMEN!! This is all so true and something I am still working on, 8 years into marriage.

  30. Kim says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    Thanks for this! It’s a great reminder. I’m guilty of just hoping and wishing my hub would do _______ and then being angry inside when he doesn’t do it!

  31. Deb says
    Posted February 15, 2020

    Very well said!

  32. Deanna says
    Posted February 20, 2020

    Great post! I love Friends references for all areas of life 😄
    Learning your partner’s love language is so helpful and so is the reminder that they can’t read our minds! Went through this today actually. Thank you for the reminder and openness 💖