We’ve all come to a crossroads. Two paths that certainly have their benefits, but we can only choose one. In our single days the choice might have been hard, but we only had to look to ourselves to make it happen. In the married life, there’s more at stake.
As I was finishing my undergraduate degree at the venerable Franciscan University of Steubenville in the Spring of 2010, I had to decide where I’d spend the first of my working days. I trotted down to Career Services who told me that I should work for the school’s food management company. Since that brilliant plan seemed like a non-starter to me, I had come up with a new plan.
It was in that moment that I realized how lucky I was to be an American. I could move literally anywhere by simply making up my mind. It was a major life decision and one in which my opinion was the only one that mattered.
Fast forward to today, Alison is working on her Residency applications. We are now deciding, as a family, if and where we should move. There are many more factors in play as we consider her career, my career, Benedict’s future home and what our cat Sophia wants to see out the window.
As a couple, you’re going to face decisions that will require some serious thought. They might be a move across town, a completely new career, or starting your own business, or if you’re being called to grow your family! They could also be financial, spiritual, or educational (like where you’re going to send your kiddos to school).
Since these are a when, not an if, it can be helpful if you create a framework for these decisions. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Decisions should always be value decisions. When making a choice, you should make them in accordance with your values. If you value adventure, then your decisions should reflect that. If you’re looking for stability for your kids, your decisions should reflect that. If you have a commitment to take care of a family member, your decisions should reflect that.
- If you both don’t agree, then you don’t do anything. Alison and I have taken this approach in most decisions in our life and it is incredible. There are times when we don’t get what we want, but that is quickly outweighed by the peace we feel knowing we don’t have to do something we absolutely don’t want to.
- Keep all options on the table. Options give you flexibility and flexibility is a huge stress reducer. If you don’t get backed into a corner, you are in the driver’s seat. You tell your life what’s going to happen, not the other way around. Negotiate! This can be a lot of fun in your marriage and can make sure that there are no losers at the end of the day!
I’m not going to tell you that communication is important in your marriage because you already know that. But I will say that if you’re not sharing dreams, goals, or desires on a daily basis with your wife, then there will be rough seas when the major decision. If you’re not in sync before the decision presents itself, you may be sunk.
Major decisions will happen. Work on your marriage today so you’re ready to take them on when they knock on your door!