New Man

Want to receive New Man by email? Sign up here
What methods do you use to come to decisions in your marriage?
What methods do you use to come to decisions in your marriage? (Stock Free Images)

All couples will face making decisions during their married life. While some issues involve easier decisions, like who handles the remote control or where to eat dinner, others may require careful consideration because they involve important issues.

Career choices, child care and major investments can fall under this category. As you and your spouse face significant choices, it’s important to have a method of decision-making that allows you to remain in harmony—in other words, a way to help create a situation where peace is kept in the midst of negotiation. Having a system can also help guard against a major harmony roadblock: manipulation.

A couple saw the negative affects of manipulation when they were buying life insurance. Despite a great sales pitch, a salesman was unable to convince the couple to purchase his policy. “I absolutely don’t want to pressure you into a decision,” he proclaimed while walking toward the door. “Please sleep on it tonight, and if you wake up in the morning, let me know what you’ve decided.”

As this couple found out, being manipulated is not a helpful way to make a wise decision. Likewise, when your mate pressures you during an important choice, it can cause major conflict.

The Art of Marital Negotiation

One of the most helpful methods my wife, Erin, and I use as we negotiate major decisions is called a “pro and con” list. Erin and I used this while in the middle of an argument concerning my schooling.

During my doctoral studies, I had to take a statistics class. Trouble began when, during the first meeting, the professor recited a list of formulas we should know. My stomach sickened when nothing he said sounded remotely familiar. I rushed home and informed Erin that I was dropping the class. Unfortunately, Erin didn’t agree, and a major argument erupted.

The “negotiation” might have lasted longer except our 2-year-old daughter, Taylor, interceded. “That’s enough, guys!” she yelled, and walloped me on the backside with a wooden spoon.

The shock of being reprimanded by a 2-year-old caused us to double over with laughter. Once the tense moment ended, Erin and I were able to use the “pro and con” list to make a wise decision regarding my class.

First, after dividing a piece of paper into a “pro” and “con” side, we started brainstorming why dropping the class would be a poor decision. We repeated the same process for the pro side–listing any reason why dropping the class would be a good choice. It’s important when brainstorming to keep from evaluating the reasons until you’ve recorded every idea.

Our next step was to evaluate each pro and con and tease out the more relevant or important ones. Finally, when all the important factors were highlighted, we discussed what seemed like the best decision. Although I wasn’t thrilled, the wise choice was to remain in the class.

Regardless of whether I passed or failed the class (amazingly, I ended up with an “A”), the main issue was that we agreed that our decision was the best choice. If a choice is not obvious or agreed upon, then continue listing additional pros and cons. You might need to take a break or show the list to a neutral third party for advice. Remember King Solomon’s encouragement: “But a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Prov. 12:15).

Using the pro and con list allowed Erin and I to stay in harmony through a major disagreement. As you and your spouse negotiate important decisions, I encourage you to use a method to help keep the peace.

What are some of the ways you and your spouse make decisions in your marriage? Please share your thoughts below.

Dr. Greg Smalley is president of Smalley Marriage Institute, a marriage and family ministry located in Branson, Mo. He also serves as chairman of the board of the National Marriage Association.

For the original article, visit

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit