Justin Bangert, MS, LMFT
Two Additional Ways to Make a Decision in Marriage
In previous blog posts, I have written about how decisions are made in marriage using “my way, your way, or our way” and “inform, defer, confer”, however, one important distinction I have not written about is whether or not couples are purposeful about the decision they have made.
To begin with, there is a wide range of types of decisions that need to be made in a marriage, especially considering the length of time marriages span (hopefully). Whether these decisions be big or small, one thing that is helpful for the longevity and quality of the marriage is to “decide rather than slide” into decisions.
When we “slide” into a decision, it is likely that neither person was overly assertive into what needed to be decided or how exactly it would get done. As a result, over the course of time the couples sort of just “figured it out”. Now that may work for some of the smaller situations you face in everyday life, however, if spouses don’t take an honest account of what is truly important to them and why they would prefer one option over the other, then both spouses typically fail to take full ownership of the decision made and it ends up being ripe for blame, resentment, discontentment and disappointments.
God designed us to be proactive and purposeful in our life choices, and it works the same for our marriages. As a marriage and family therapist, I have seen the devastating effects passivity and “aimlessly wandering” or “just settling” has not only had on the landscape of marriage, but also on each person’s heart and soul. Whether it be in the area of finances, parenting, sex, holidays, career decisions or any other scenarios that marriages have to navigate through, we spouses don’t take hold of their current reality and work together to point towards a common vision for the future, either or both feel less than fulfilled and satisfied later down the road.
So why not take more ownership and purposefulness in our lives and marriages? Well, some of the biggest barriers are fear, intimidation of “not having a guarantee”, worry of being blamed for an undesired outcome, as well as not wanting to risk the vulnerability of “leading and dreaming of a better future”. The good news, however, is that God designed us to turn to Him for discernment and guidance from both the mundane and the most significant of choices.
It is my hope and prayer that you take an honest assessment of the key decisions in your life, show courage, and leap with faith while choosing from conviction.