Dr. Gary Chapman on Making Decisions in Marriage

If you’re married, how many times has your spouse saved you from making a bad decision?  I’ve lost count.  Good words here from author and counselor Dr. Gary Chapman on making decisions in marriage.  This one is addressed to men, but it works both ways.  Both husbands and wives need each other’s perspectives to make good decisions.

Most counselors agree that one of the greatest problems in marriage is decision making.  Visions of democracy dance in the minds of many young couples, but when there are only two voting members, democracy often results in deadlock.  How does a couple move beyond deadlock?  The answer is found in one word: love.

Love always asks the question, “What is best for you?”  Love does not demand its own way.  Love seeks to bring pleasure to the one loved.  That is why Christians should have less trouble making decisions than non-Christians.  We are called to be lovers.  When I love my wife, I will not seek to force my will upon her for selfish purposes.

The biblical idea of the husband being the head of the wife has been one of the most exploited concepts of the Bible.  Christian husbands, full of self-will, have made all kinds of foolish demands of their wives under the authority of “The Bible says….”  Headship does not mean that the husband has the right to make all the decisions and inform the wife of what is going to be done.

She is called to be a “helpmate”.  The word means “helper”.  How can she be a helper if she has no opportunity to share her ideas?  “Two are better than one,” the Scriptures say.  That is certainly true in decision making.  Why would a husband want to make a decision limited to his own wisdom when God has given him a helper?

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