There will be many times when a couple finds they need to be making tough decisions in marriage. It might be about finances, jobs, children, or buying a home, but hard decisions are a natural part of life. When you learn how to navigate the hard decisions together is vital to maintaining a long-lasting marriage.
There will be struggles in life. Times will come when you, as a couple, will face making tough decisions. When you joined your life with each other, you unite as one. Yet, you each have opinions. But, the question is, how should a married couple approach make hard decisions?
Even though we live in a culture that tells us that men and women are equal, there must be a way within a healthy relationship for compromise to occur when differences exist in deciding. In our family, we believe God designed marriage to function in a certain way. It might not be a popular belief in society, but when we follow His design, we experience more peace.
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Biblical Model for Making Tough Decisions in Marriage
We can learn what that design is by reading the Bible. In it, we learn the husband is the leader in the home. That doesn’t mean the wife’s role isn’t important. It means that he leads, and she shares in helping him in life. She isn’t his servant. She isn’t his subordinate. They work together to manage life.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,…”
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.“ — Ephesians 5:22-31.
Many people get hung up on the word submit. They imagine that the wife is treated as a slave. Which is not at all the case. If he were truly loving her, as Christ loved the church, then he will support her, encourage her, and give up his own life for her sake. He is the leader but is to be understanding of her, showing her favor, showing her love.
As a Christian woman, I strive to live a godly life in Christ. When my husband and I follow God’s design in marriage, life is much more peaceable, much more joyous. In this way, we can face decisions knowing that we can and will come to a resolution even when we start out disagreeing.
Making Decisions When You Disagree
Sometimes, disagreements become overwhelming. Usually, this happens when one person isn’t willing to bend. It could be because communication isn’t happening well. Maybe one person isn’t listening to the other. Or, maybe one isn’t communicating their thoughts, choosing to keep quiet.
In the end, if you aren’t communicating well, or one or both of you are unwilling to bend, someone will not be happy with the decision that is made.
He can step back and allow you to decide. But that might leave him feeling like he’s not trusted. You can step back and let him decide, and find yourself resentful because you didn’t get your way.
And, sometimes, because you can’t agree, consequences might lead you to make rash decisions, leaving you both feeling defeated.
Learning How to Agree when Making Hard Decisions
Other times, calmly talking it out and working through it together leads to compromise. Compromise can be a two-way street and when it is, and both the husband and wife can work toward each other, rather than digging in heels, then that pattern for marriage functions beautifully.
When the wife learns to share her thoughts, knowing that he will listen, seek to understand, and decide based on what is best for both of you and the family, you’ll discover what it truly means to submit to his leadership. It comes down to trust. Do you trust your husband to decide with you in mind?
I see that as I submit to him, I can trust that he is working to ensure that I am nourished and cherished. I can honor him through the trust I place in him. Together, we work to ensure that we both agree with decisions that are made and we both are seeking the highest good of the other and our child.
5 Tips for Making Tough Decisions in Marriage
1 – Discuss the Options
Make sure you both understand what needs to be decided. Too often, there isn’t a consensus on what the facts are or what the goal is. Writing it out can help with this, because if you, like me, can visualize the matter, then you can ensure you both are approaching the same decision.
Then, discuss the various options for a solution. Again, writing them down can help.
2- Share Ideas with Each Other
Open communication is key in this area. Don’t get caught up in not wanting to speak what you really think for fear of being rejected or hurt. You both need to share what your ideas are so you each can consider the thoughts of the other person.
I can’t stress this enough. Too often we can think we heard something when, in fact, we did not. Women can often approach things in life from an emotional standpoint. We let ourselves feel what we hear, rather than listening to what they said. We interject our perception, which is tied to our emotions. Then, we react to the emotion rather than what they said.
Women may try to analyze what the meaning behind words might be rather than truly taking the words spoken at face value. In doing this, we make what they spoke subjective to our own thoughts instead of letting our husbands speak their own minds.
Listening, repeating back what is said, leads to trust. He learns to trust that you will hear him. You learn to trust that when he makes a decision he has your, and the children’s, best interest in mind just as much as you do.
4- Weigh & Pray about Decisions
When you weigh both sides of the discussion and pray for wisdom to make the most appropriate decision, you may find that one just simply seems more right than the other.
5- In the End, Let Him Decide
Yes! This takes a lot of trust on your part.
He is your husband. That means you should have a measure of trust already. The longer you are married, the more you work together, which should lead you to trust him more. But, it means you have to honor him by allowing him to decide.
For me, I know my husband loves me and wants the best for our family. Sometimes, it’s hard to let go, to trust. But, if I know he’s listened, considered, weighed, and prayed, I have to trust that he’s got my back.
Stand or fall, I will do so beside of him.
Why? Because Christ desires me to be in submission to my husband. He also desires for my husband to love me “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25. He bears a greater burden than I do.
So I choose to trust him. More often than not, when gently submitting to his leadership, we can reach a mutual compromise that makes our life more peaceable and joyous.
Have we ever made a terrible decision, yes! We have made plenty of them. But, we try to learn from our mistakes. We have learned to pray for wisdom when we approach big decisions.
It is important to not hold a poor decision against your husband because, stand or fall, you are in life together.
Have we made wonderful decisions? Yes! plenty of those as well, some leading to great joy. But surely, when we approach decisions from the right viewpoint we know we both came to an agreed understanding of the decision.
What tips do you have for making tough decisions in marriage? Please share your tips or questions in the comments below.