- Lauren Dungy
- Shaunti Feldhahn
- Tim and Darcy Kimmel
- Betsy Landers
- Dr. Walt Larimore
- Mark Merrill
- Joanne Miller
- Dr. Gary J. Oliver
- Kathy Peel
- Dr. Greg Smalley
- Dr. Scott Turansky
- Jill Savage
Articles by Dr. Greg Smalley
- Winning Your Husband Back
- Why Teenagers Like to Argue
- Ways to Communicate Effectively
- Watch What You Say or Later You’ll Pay
- The Secret To Protecting Your Marriage From Infidelity
- The Secret to Becoming a Balanced Parent
- The Meaning of Leaving and Cleaving
- The Heart of Marriage
- The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Children is a Strong Marriage
- The Danger of Negative Expectations
- Talking Through the Touchy Subjects
- Six Ways to Build a Friendship with Your Child
- Six Adolescent Needs….Meet Them or Else!
- Protecting Fun Activities from Conflict
- Men and Intimacy
- Is Your Heart Open to Love?
- I Wish My Daddy Was A Dog
- I Feel Loved When You...
- I Don't Love My Husband Anymore
- I Believe in You!
- How to Make Wise Decisions...And Stay in Harmony
- How to Heal a Wounded Heart
- How do my thoughts affect my view of my spouse?
- Home: The Safest Place on Earth
- Helping Teenagers Resist Peer Pressure
- Forget the Weeds in Your Life, Focus on the Flowers
- For The Love of Hannah
- Do I deserve time for myself?
- Communication: 5 Harmful Marriage Communication Habits
- Communication That Can Cause Further Distance
- Becoming a Better Listener
- Become a student of your husband
- A Small Act of Kindness
- 6 Tips for Marital Conflicts Without Casualties
- 5 Ways to Stop Sibling Rivalry
- 4 Parenting Styles
Dr. Greg SmalleyDr. Smalley also helps lead marriage seminars around the world and helps train pastors, professionals and lay leaders how to effectively work with married couples. read bio
How to Make Wise Decisions...And Stay in Harmony
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 which 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 towards 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 that 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 two-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 two-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." (Proverbs 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.
© 2001 Smalley Relationship Center. All rights reserved. This article was reprinted with permission. Please do not publish this article without direct consent from the Smalley Relationship Center. Family First is not authorized to permit the reproduction of articles contributed to FamilyFirst.net by non-staff authors.comments powered by Disqus