Today I’d like to talk about decision-making, and I want to specifically speak to couples who think that having a healthy marriage means you make “big decisions” together.
It sounds like such a lovely idea. Really, I used to think that too. But on the back-end it leads to individuals who feel stuck and blame their spouse for their being in that situation.
Let me show you an example of how this happens.
You decide that you want to spend money on something. Let’s say it’s a bit expensive and you’ve decided not make big purchases without asking each other first. So you ask your spouse’s permission.
Since there is no majority vote with just two people, you are basically asking your spouse to make this decision for you. Let’s look at the possible outcomes.
He says to do it! So you spend the money. If you aren’t happy with the purchase, you blame him for encouraging you to buy it. He doesn’t want to feel responsible for any more of your decisions so he will most likely decide to just say no in the future.
Or more likely, he already said, “no, let’s put out money somewhere else.” So you don’t make the purchase but complain and blame him every time you wish you had. You start to feel resentment for all the things you aren’t able to do that you want to be doing in your life.
Maybe you disagree with him in the moment and fight until one person gives up and the other “wins” the argument. Now the purchased item (or lack of it) serves as a constant reminder of the tension in your marriage.
I’m a big fan of counseling together, being open and honest, and it’s always great when you are in agreement. But if not, you still get to make your own decision. Giving your power away to someone else to make your decisions for you is not fun for you or for them.
In my experience with my clients, when they own their own decisions and allow their spouse to do the same, the resentment disappears and they can enjoy each other so much more.
Send me an email if you have any questions about this, I’d love to talk you through it a little more.