Major Decisions: Creating a Successful Plan

By August 17, 2016 February 23rd, 2018 Communication, Conflict

Marriage is a partnership. Part of the beauty of marriage is the ability to work as a team to decide what is best for the two of you as a couple or as a family. Whether you’re looking to buy a house, planning to expand your family, or one of you is trying to make a big career move, it’s important to know how to navigate life’s big decisions together.

Every decision that comes your way affects your marriage–for good or for bad. When you two learn to how to work together in a way that honors each other and sets you up for success, you’ll grow and flourish as a couple.

Here are four simple ways to navigate the big decisions in your marriage:

Plan uninterrupted time to talk.
There will always be some kind of distraction or excuse to avoid the conversation. Your phone will go off from a group text conversation, something exciting will happen in the game playing on TV in the background, or one of your kids will jump in and interrupt your train of thought. It’s important to set aside time for conversations around big decisions. If you need to put a time on your calendar so you’ll stick to it, then do that. Put your phones away, turn the TV off, and focus on the decision in front of you. Making sure your time is uninterrupted will help the conversation be more productive and fruitful.

Do your research.
Spend time looking at all the options. If you’re trying to decide what school to send your five-year-old to then spend some time asking neighbors about their experience, evaluating your child’s needs, and looking into the programs, teachers, and success of your local school options.

Divide and conquer the work with your spouse. If making your decision involves a ton of research, then split up the process. Decide who will look into each piece of the puzzle and be prepared to report back with what you learned. Giving each person ownership in this process will help you feel like it’s a partnership and not a one-sided effort.

Listen well.
As you discuss the information and ideas, listen and respect the opinion of your spouse. You may not agree on the outcome of the decision from the beginning. Emotions may get involved. Work hard to be intentional about giving your spouse the time he or she needs to explain what they’re thinking and why. Approach the subject from a place of understanding and patience rather than jumping right to the result you’d like to see immediately.

Remember: the outcome of the decision is about what’s best for you as a couple and not just what’s best for you alone. You’re in this together.

Pray.
Approach every piece of the process in prayer. Allow yourself the time to take the decision to God first and listen for His guidance. As a couple, pray together as you make your decision. Pray about the options. Ask for God to make your decision clear. Pray for your spouse as you work through the decision process together. When you’re seeking God’s discernment as you consider all of your options, you will always be set up for success. His plan will always be the best plan.

Decision making doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but it does require intentional work and care. As you approach the big choices together, remember you’re approaching them as a team. When you plan well together, you’ll win together.

7 Comments

  • Sam says:

    Prayer should be first because it sets the tone. So often we forget.

  • Jane says:

    I also think prayer should be first because the answer may be no, not yet or no to some of the options. Knowing that upfront will eliminate the need for some or the research, discussion, and stress. And agree with previous comment, sets the tone.

    • Anthony says:

      It says “Approach every piece of the process in prayer” as the opening sentence. That means pray before you start the whole process, too. This wasn’t an ordered list.

  • John says:

    Right on! Without these good communication habits, the gravity of isolation and “win-lose” thinking will invade which always leads to separation.

  • Monika says:

    I also agree with everyone. The prayer is so important and often we forget about this powerful tool. However, it also helps to talk about the decision/ problem and make it present and clear between the couple. That way we can pray with more conviction I think. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Janet Gee says:

    I am disappointed that many of your blogs don’t include scriptures. They used to be more spiritually based. Prayer is important, but so is God’s word.

  • AG says:

    Since scripture says, Pray without Ceasing, I think we can always preclude anything and everything with prayer. As a married woman (to the same man) for over 30 years, I believe making life decisions to be most challenging- esp when there is no compromise available. An example would be, one wants to live in a big city in a cold place and the other wants to live in a small town where it’s hot. Another example is one wants a big family and the other wants perhaps one child. Sifting through the “whys” of what makes each person want what they want, and coming to an agreement takes communication, and that takes time and willingness. Each partner must be willing to sacrifice for the other, and it cannot be the same one every time. I think perhaps the Lord made men & women think so differently so they would be forced to communicate regularly, and perhaps see something from a totally different yet relevant point of view. Thanks for creating SYMBIS.

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