|Back when our biggest decisions were what color Wayfayers to wear and when we would buy a churro.|
Patrick and I have been together for twenty-two years... at least on June 1st it will be, but I'm rounding up because it's my blog and I can. We've been married for over 18 years. In all that time, you would think we would know each other pretty well. We do in a lot of ways, but there are still new things we are learning about each other or relational aspects we are continuing to work on during any given day.
On occasion, we have had the privilege of taking couples through premarital counseling... sharing some of the wisdom we have gathered from the Bible, other couples, books, and our own experiences. Sometimes Patrick even gets the opportunity to become a California state deputy for the day and marry couples. I like it when he does that, because he is really good at making weddings meaningful and personal, and he looks extremely handsome in a suit.
Anyway, you'd think we would have the marriage thing down after all this time, wouldn't you? But we tell couples that we don't have all the answers, because we don't. Sometimes we have answers, but we are still trying to figure out how to implement them smoothly. Knowledge and practical application do not always coincide.
One of the areas we are still working on is joint decision making. I think we process things differently. It could be because he is a man and I am a woman. It could be that he is more analytical, and that I "overthink" or think more intuitively. It could be something he ate or my hormones. It could be the moon, but I don't believe in astrology. So many factors.
Sometimes, we come together on decisions so quickly and without even a hint of difficulty or tension. For instance, when we bought our sweet van, it was smooth like butter and the whole transaction went down with all the ease of a Barcalounger. (Sorry, it's Monday morning, and that is the best metaphor you are going to get.)
Other times, things get a little wiggy. For instance, about a year ago, we finally decided to get rid of our 17 year old television set (someone actually paid $5 for it at the garage sale), and upgrade to the current millennium (I had to look that word up in the dictionary, because I think it should only have one "n," but apparently it doesn't.) Patrick did a bunch of research on TV's and studied up on things like HD and plasma and things I have zero knowledge about. He did research on Consumer Reports and found out how large a TV should be for our size living area. Then I came in and started actually measuring things out one day with a measuring tape, and I imagined what a large, rectangular black object would look like on our wall. I started panicking and imagining my living room looking like a bachelor pad. Things were not smooth like butter anymore. We might as well have been speaking two different languages, because there was no helpful communication going on at that point.
Over the years, we have come to find that the single biggest thing that helps our joint decision making process is getting Jesus in the middle. Praying about decisions, letting Him guide our thought processes, and receiving His peace and wisdom. I'm pretty sure we left Him out of the TV decision, which is one of the reasons it went so badly. We also have some history that we need to let Jesus come in and heal, but that is another story entirely, and I think I'll leave that between the three of us.
Right now, Josh's school situation for next year is looming in our minds. That's a big one. Josh + School = ???? Jesus is involved. We are doing are best to communicate and make decisions one step at a time. I am trying not to get overwhelmed and project too far into the future, and Patrick is trying to engage me in calm, logical conversations. We are praying every night.
So how do you make joint decisions with your spouse?
Do you have a specific process that you engage in?
What helps you to communicate in the midst of problems or challenges?