Marriage is a partnership quite like no other. It’s a lifetime partnership that requires the two parties to live together and do almost everything together. Marriage is all about giving up individualism and taking up common goals and priorities for the sake of the marriage and family. Decision making, unfortunately, is the fiery furnace within which this lifetime union is tried and tested.
Before you got married, you spent your whole life learning how to make decisions for you. You learned that in order to make progress in life, there are certain ways you have to think and certain things you ought to do. Your spouse spent all their lives before you doing the same.
Then you get married and suddenly you have to start making joint decisions or decisions that require special accommodation of the other party. Whether it is finances, time allocation, work and career, you name it; no decision is as simple or as straightforward as it used to be. What do you do when you find making joint decisions difficult and a pain point in your marriage? Should you just agree to disagree and decouple decision-making in the marriage? Should you just let sleeping dogs lie and move on to other things? The short answer to all those questions is, “no, try harder”.
Decisions are not things that a marriage can do without. When your life is intertwined with that of another, there exists no simple way of not making decisions together so you will either fight about them all the time or find a way of resolving them. Here are a few ways you can learn how to make decisions together.
Learn how to listen. A common way of doing this is to let the other person finish what they are saying and then repeat what they said in your understanding to gain clarity. Through learning to listen, you are able to both get a good idea of where the other person is and what their expectations and concerns are. If you cannot listen, this will fuel mistrust, animosity and feelings of resentment out of non-inclusion.
The Decision Room
Sometimes simple devices make it easier to resolve conflict than do complex methods. Single out a room in the house where decisions will be made and until both of you are in that room together, no decision can be made. What this does is it opens room for dialogue and builds trust. If I’m not in that room, I rest assured no decision has been made without me and vice versa.
Command and control
One of you must have the final responsibility of owning and implementing the decisions made. In as much as there may be equality in the home, the roles differ and should differ to allow for an efficient means of expediting decisions. Even after discussing and making decisions, one of you must own that decisions and be responsible for it.
In many cases, this is the man of the house. It is a joint decisions but he takes the responsibility of either implementing it or championing it in the house. There cannot be two centers of power in the house and having this command and control arrangement through mutual consent means decisions are not left hanging after they have been made.
If you commit to these simple methods, among others, to find ways of making joint decisions, you will find the amount of conflict in your marriage significantly diminished. It also makes it easier to move your family forward on a common path.
Scott Ryan believes learning to live together is dependent on having a strong foundation. Visit this website to discover more strong foundations.