Marriage is a maze of negotiations and decisions – each with its own impact and rippling effects. You win some, you lose some. Mostly you need to decide what suits you the best. Easier said than done!
For one the concept of ‘you’ changes as one ages – from ‘you’, the individual, it moves to include your spouse and then your children. ‘You’ could also refer to your family. What’s best for you has to be in the context of changing situations – even those that might come up in future.
Decisions can be a lengthy process or spontaneous. They can be taken in total agreement or be one-sided. It’s an open playing field and sometimes, the stronger side wins.
Ideally, decisions should be taken as a couple – well thought through, discussed at length, pros and cons acknowledged and both sides should feel like their views have been taken into consideration.
Unfortunately, the truth is that decisions cannot be taken as a couple in isolation. Your ego, id, family pressure, upbringing, emotions, past experiences, finances, situational context – all play a role and much depends on what or who gets the upper hand! The best place to begin, therefore, is to acknowledge this simple fact.
It is extremely difficult to develop the capacity to view every situation independently and objectively before taking a decision. Sometimes though, it’s best not to, as past experiences can rightly shed light to guide one’s actions. Sometimes it’s good to go by gut – if you believe in it, go for it.You might repent later, but at least, you’ve made a choice.
Failing to exercise your choice is still a decision, so you must accept that. You cannot blame anyone – and if it’s the wrong decision, step back, rethink about what went wrong, forgive yourself and move on. There is no point in harbouring the nagging doubt that it was your fault – you didn’t stand up and take action, or didn’t voice your opinion more strongly, or didn’t have sufficient information or didn’t want to face the ugly truth! Don’t keep score as it’s one way to guarantee that nobody wins.
Moving on is the penultimate truth about decisions. If you’re unable to move on then you’ll be stuck in the rut forever. No matter what new experiences you have – you will always look at them through doubtful eyes. Believe that you did what you thought was right then, stand by it. If, in the present, it seems wrong, then do accept, that it was right for a while.
A successful marriage includes two skilled negotiators. No matter who took the final call, if it’s right, great minds think alike. If it’s wrong, then share the blame as a significant long-term impact of decision-making, is that your child will learn from you and emulate in future.