Monday, August 31, 2009

Decisions Decisions Decisions

Over the last 28 years, I am so glad that my husband and I have worked through different ways to make decisions and come to solutions together.  Every day presents myriads of things that need to be answered, addressed, and decided upon as couples.  Usually, and to keep things interesting, both of us rarely feel the exact same way about ANY thing.  

At first the issues are simple, or the decisions are "self-made" thus there isn't really a decision at all (for example, where do we go on vacation -- since we started out without any funds, the choice was made FOR us instead of BY us, or the options were so narrowed as to preclude opinions).

But other decisions are CONSTANTLY being decided:

what should we have for dinner?
where should we go for vacation?
how much should we spend on any given item?
where should we spend the holidays?
who should we hang with on the weekend?
what should we save for?
how much should we save vs. spend?
how much should our house cost?
where should we live?
where should our children go to school?
where should we go to church?
what movie should we watch?
should our children play with guns?
what is our limit for ratings on the shows we watch?
what is the curfew for our children?
and on and on and on... ... ...

Here are a few tips we've learned that have helped us in making decisions, both large AND small:

*Straight off, I knew my husband was the leader in my home and that any "deciding votes" went to him.  

*CONSIDER one another's opinions.  Let the other person say their opinion (without interrupting) and actually RE-STATE what they said BACK to them until they know you heard them right.  

*TRY to come to a decision where both parties agree.  We agreed in selecting furniture that there was enough choices to find something we could both live with rather than where one or the other weren't happy.

*LISTEN to the reasons the other person doesn't share your opinion.  Try to look at things from their eyes.  Often, when I would listen to Gary's concerns, I saw issues that could come up that I wouldn't have thought of.

*WORK TOGETHER until you KNOW that you KNOW that the other person is COMMITTED to your good and happiness.  Knowing the other person is not out to make you miserable or to destroy you is a FOUNDATION for trusting them in their decision-making processes.

*Make sure you consider what the other person is saying and MAKE IT IMPORTANT to you if it is important to them.  Try to bend over backwards trying to make the other person's goals happen, so that when there are good reasons NOT TO, it doesn't seem like you always need things done "your way".  

*Re-commit and re-commit and re-commit to the good of the "marriage" and not SIMPLY the "good of the individual" so that ALL decisions are made within that scope.

*Make sure that WHEN (not "if" but "when") mistakes are made in the final decision, that you don't throw it back at the person.  

*Understand when you have to make a decision that the other person is unhappy about then be sad with them, and when you can make decisions that make the other person glad, then be glad with them!

*Follow the simple commands the Lord gave us:  husbands LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE for your wives; and wives, RESPECT your husbands.

*Submit to each other.   Because you fear God.  (Eph 5.21)

Challenge:   Change your decision-making process until it is one where you BOTH benefit from the other's perspective.  Respect each other's perspective, and consider it when deciding issues.  Try to make decision making a STRENGTH in your relationship -- because there are SO SO MANY decisions to make!  

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