These decisions come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
There are minor decisions like: Where do we go to eat? Who cleans up after the dog? What movie will we watch? Who will take out the trash?
Then there are major decisions like: Is it time to have a baby? Should we change careers and move? What should we do about our wayward teen? How do we care for our aging parents?
The story of your marriage is crafted by the sum of your decisions, and just like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, there are three types of decisions that greatly impact the story of your marriage.
Careless Decisions. These decisions are “too soft,” because they don’t consider your spouse. They are decisions like:
- Deciding to stop somewhere on your way home from work, without calling your spouse to tell them you’re going to be late.
- Deciding to tell a story about your spouse without considering how they would feel about it or clearing it with them.
- Deciding to accept a dinner invitation for the two of you without checking with your spouse first.
- Deciding your spouse doesn’t need your help before asking if they do.
Careless decisions are not intentional attempts to hurt your spouse, but they belittle your spouse by failing to consider them when making the decision. Careless decisions leave your marriage feeling more like you’re independent room mates sharing living space, rather than interdependent spouses sharing life.
Callous Decisions. These decisions are “too hard.” Even though these decisions consider your spouse, their real intent is to get back at them in some way. These are decisions like:
- Deciding to point out how they forgot something or failed to do something.
- Deciding to talk to them in condescending tones or terms.
- Deciding to disregard their wishes.
- Deciding to talk about your spouse in an unflattering way to your kids or others.
Callous decisions are intentional decisions that are caustic to a marriage and quickly dissolve the trust every marriage needs.
Though careless and callous decisions are not good decisions to make, there is another type of decision that can strengthen and grow the story of your marriage…
Commitment Decisions. These decisions are “just right,” because they consider your spouse and put their needs (and the needs of your marriage) ahead of your personal desires or offenses. Commitment decisions are much more that just deciding to stay married rather than getting a divorce. Commitment decisions are decisions like:
- Deciding to skip part of the game on TV in order to help your spouse get the kids to bed.
- Deciding to go with your spouse’s restaurant choice, even though you ate there for lunch.
- Deciding to forego sex when you know your spouse is exceptionally tired.
- Deciding to pursue sex when you’re the one who’s exceptionally tired.
- Deciding to take out the trash, before being asked to do so.
Commitment decisions breathe life and health into a marriage, and each day is full of opportunities to make commitment decisions. Not major life-changing decisions, but simple, quiet, easy-to-overlook decisions that express your commitment to your spouse.
We need to be like Goldilocks and make the decision that will be “just right” for our spouse and our marriage…and commitment decisions are always “just right.”
What are some current commitment decisions (made by you or your spouse) that make your marriage stronger? What are some new commitment decisions you could make to strengthen your marriage?
Copyright © 2016 Bret Legg