Healthy decision making in marriage

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There is lots of confusion when it comes to the leadership roles for men and women presented in the Bible. What should good effective decision-making look like in marriage?

According to Dr. Greg Smalley, it is important for a couple to have the mindset that there should be no such thing as a win or loss situation in marriage, only win/win situations.

“The way that God designed marriage is that we are to be one. A husband and wife are on equal footing. We have different roles, but we are on the same footing.”

Greg says that couples should have the foundation of oneness for their relationship to flourish.

“If we’re not approaching decisions as a team then a house divided will fall.”

Even if a husband or wife feels like they are getting their way, they really aren’t winning, because anything but a win/win situation is a loss for their relationship.

That’s why he and his wife Erin drew and line in the sand.

“Even though I get my way, my team is still losing. Going forward, the only acceptable solution when we’re making decisions is something that we both feel great about.”

Greg says that he and Erin have given each other permission to make it clear when a decision feels like a loss for them.

“Therefore our team is losing. Therefore the solution is can we find something that we both feel great about. Like it says in the book of Philippians, don’t just look to your own interests, look to the interests of others. That’s really how we’ve lived out that verse.”

As Christians, we are called to look out for not only the best interest of our spouse, but also the best interest of our marriage relationship as a whole.

Husbands and wives are accountable to God who can and will teach them how to have healthy decision making.


Dr. Greg Smalley serves as executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family.  In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. He also serves as a media spokesperson on these matters.

Key Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1-7

Featured Songs: Long Way Home – Steven Curtis Chapman; Love Broke Through – Toby Mac; Oxygen – Lincoln Brewster

Healthy decision making in marriage


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