Marriage Advice From A Christian Perspective

Decision Making in Marriage

  • Dennis Rainey Executive Director of FamilyLife Ministries
  • Published Aug 24, 2001
Decision Making in Marriage

"But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." 1 Corinthians 11:3,11

Barbara and I made a commitment early in our marriage that we would make all decisions together. Only if we come to an honest yet unshakable disagreement do I make the decision as head of the house.

I mention this because many men use their "headship" as a sort of club to force their wives to "submit." I don't think it's a mistake that Paul writes, "Neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." We need each other in marriage, and in the decisions we make as a couple.

One lesson I've learned with decision making in our marriage is just because Barbara says something once doesn't mean that she's felt like I have heard her. Sometimes I need to hear her again and again and understand the emotional power behind her words. This is especially important when she disagrees with a decision I make because only if she knows I understand her will she be ready to follow that decision.

In the decision we made about our daughter Rebecca's gymnastics involvement, I maintained that we should move her out of gymnastics. As Barbara recalls, "I knew intuitively Dennis was probably right, but I wasn't ready to make that decision yet. I loved watching Rebecca perform. She was built for gymnastics and she loved it.

"I also was concerned because I didn't want her to grow up and resent us for forcing her to quit. I needed to share with Dennis how I felt. It just took me time to come to where I felt like I had adequately expressed that."

The reality was, there was truth in what Barbara said. Her cautions against Rebecca resenting that decision were sound. As husbands we err in decision making when we don't really take our wife's opinion into account. It is the wise man who does!

Excerpted from Moments Together for Couples by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Used with permission. Copyright 1995 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved.

About the author: Dennis Rainey is the executive director of FamilyLife, an organization founded in 1976 with the goal of effectively developing godly families, one home at a time. Parents of six children, Dennis and his wife, Barbara, have written numerous books, including best-sellers Moments Together for Couples and The Questions Book for Marriage Intimacy.