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[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Chapter Summary”]Discover how making decisions builds trust in your marriage. This chapter is all about how to be decisive and prove your worth as a strong husbandly leader (without being overly dominant).[/thrive_text_block]
This chapter is about two different aspects of husbandly leadership that go hand-in-hand – consistency and decisiveness.
These are two pretty loaded words that can have a bunch of different meanings depending on how you use them. So, we’re going to start off by quickly defining what each of these virtues means inside a marriage.
First, What Does it Mean to Be Consistent in a Marriage?
Consistency is without a doubt one of the most underestimated virtues in a marriage.
Consistency is what allows trust to grow in a marriage.
To be consistent means to be stable. It means you are a rock; a sturdy foundation. It means that your wife knows what to expect from you, and she likes it.
Most men reading this have been inconsistent in their marriage. Maybe you used to be really good at helping around the house, or complimenting your wife. Maybe you used to buy her flowers or take her out to dinner. But you don’t do those things anymore.
That’s being inconsistent.
Basically, when you do or say something that sets your wife’s expectations on one thing, but then you actually end up doing or saying something else, that’s being inconsistent. On the other hand, when her expectations line up with your actions that probably means you’re being consistent. (unless you’ve been so inconsistent that she expects you to be inconsistent!)
Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. To win in marriage, you need to be the tortoise, not the hare. Slow and steady wins the race every time.
What does this cliché have to do with your marriage?
Basically, it means you shouldn’t rush as you’re trying to get your wife back. It’s better to make a small change you can maintain than a big change that you let slip after a couple weeks.
Be patient. Be consistent. Be smart.
For example, buying your wife flowers once a week will feel good for a month. Maybe two. But how will she feel when a week or two goes by without flowers? And how will she feel when they stop coming altogether?
Don’t get me wrong, making a commitment to buy your wife flowers once a week is great (I don’t do this, it’s just an example), but when the habit slides, your wife is left wondering what happened to the romance. In some ways, the good habit that falls off does more damage than if it had never started in the first place.
It’s better to light a small fire you can maintain over time than to light a bonfire that burns out overnight.
But, consistency doesn’t just apply to your actions… It applies to your decisions too. And that’s why I’ve grouped the two together in this chapter. I believe that consistency and being decisive go hand-in-hand. So, let’s talk about decisiveness and what it means in marriage.
What Does it Mean to Be Decisive in a Marriage?
- Being decisive means that you know how to make up your mind.
- Being decisive means that you can look at your options and clearly identify which one is the best for you, your wife and the marriage.
This is especially important because as we said earlier, leaders are expected to make decisions. The president is expected to make the tough decisions for our country. The boss is expected to make tough decisions for a company. The husband is expected to make tough decisions in a marriage.
Being decisive is something that a lot of men struggle with, including myself. It’s much easier to say, “I don’t care,” or “you decide,” than to say “we are going to do this and we are not going to do that.”
Just like being inconsistent, being indecisive is a huge turnoff. Your wife wants a man that can make decisions and CONSISTENTLY follow through on them.
And this is the key here…
You need to be consistent in your decision-making.
You need to be proactive; don’t wait for your wife to ask you to make the tough decisions. By then, you’ve already been indecisive for too long.
Being decisive applies to all areas of marriage, not just the big, tough issues. Even the little things – like where to eat for Sunday lunch or what movie to see on your date night – are decisions that you have to be prepared to make. It’s your job to weigh the pros and cons in each situation and to make the decision that you know in your gut is the right one to make.
Of course, that’s not to say you shouldn’t let your wife pick where to eat or what movie to watch! But, if she doesn’t have an opinion, it’s up to you to decide.
Sometimes, these decisions are really hard, but you have to make them anyways. For example, let me share a story with you that I don’t usually tell people…
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Some decisions are extremely difficult. Sometimes, you’ll have to make a decision that you know is right, but that you also know your wife may not like. For me, it happened back before my wife and I got married.
Way back when my wife and I were still dating, there was a period of time where we lived together in the same apartment. It was partially due to financial reasons and partially due to us just wanting to live together. It went fine; we got along well, it didn’t cause any friction and there weren’t any huge problems with it.
However, over time I realized that we shouldn’t be living together. Religious and moral reasons aside, I wanted our marriage to be different from our dating relationship… I wanted it to be special and unique!
I realized that when people asked me what it was like to be married, I did NOT want to say, “Eh, it’s pretty much the same.” Instead I wanted to say, “Marriage is awesome and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced; the best decision I’ve ever made.”
So, I had to make a really tough decision… I decided to move out.
As you can imagine, it was very difficult to explain to Michele why me moving out was actually because I loved her and wanted to be in a meaningful, long-term relationship with her. After all, our culture tells us that living together is a step towards marriage, and here I was wanting to move in the opposite direction. It really hurt her, and it was one of the biggest challenges we faced in our dating relationship.
But, I knew that it was the right decision, so I stuck with it and followed through. It hurt me and it hurt her, but I stood by my decision because I knew it was for the greater good of our relationship.
We ended up living separately for another year and a half before finally getting married.
And yes, it was worth it… Now, when people ask me what it’s like to be married, I can honestly tell them it’s better than anything I’ve ever experienced.
What Happens When You’re Inconsistent or Indecisive?
We trust our president to make decisions for our country, right?
Maybe you personally don’t trust our president – that’s fine, I’m not here to talk politics – but you can agree that the point of having a president is to enable a singular, worthy person to make tough decisions, right?
How much would you trust our president if his response to a major crisis was, “Eh, I don’t really care… You decide.”
Just imagine it: The president is holding a press conference in response to police brutality, or immigration, or the latest conflict in the Middle East… The whole nation is watching his address… And his answer to the huge urgent issue? “I don’t care; it doesn’t matter to me.”
That would be it, right? You’d lose all trust in his ability to lead.
Even worse, what if our president decided one thing, but then a week or month or a year later, he completely changed his mind and flip-flopped his decision? For example, what if Barack Obama came out and said, “You know what? I don’t really care about mandatory health insurance for everyone. It’s more trouble than it’s worth. Let’s just get rid of Obamacare; I take it back.”
There would be riots in the streets! The entire country would lose respect for him, and he’d probably be impeached. After all, how could such an indecisive man possibly lead an entire country?
The answer is he couldn’t.
Well, guess what?
The stakes are exactly the same in your marriage. YOU are the leader of your marriage. When a major decision or crisis comes up, all eyes are on you to see your response.
When you refuse to make a decision – either because you don’t care or don’t feel like it or haven’t thought about it – you’re basically saying, “I don’t really feel like being a leader right now; why don’t you take over for a bit?”
You don’t need me to tell you that this is an enormous turnoff for your wife. Women are naturally attracted to men who speak their mind, make decisions and consistently follow through with them. Women take those kind of men seriously.
And here’s the thing: there’s no excuse for being indecisive. The only wrong answer is no answer at all. Let me state this clearly:
Even if your wife doesn’t agree with the decisions you make, that’s 100x better than making no decision at all.
At least when you have an opinion she doesn’t agree with, that gives you a starting point. When you make NO decision, there’s nothing to work with. Your indecisiveness forces your wife to make decisions that she shouldn’t have to make. In doing so, she’ll lose trust, respect and attraction for you.
Being inconsistent makes it even worse. As we said at the beginning of the chapter, trust is BUILT on consistency… You can only trust someone when they’ve consistently shown you that they are a trustworthy person. It’s impossible to trust someone who is inconsistent, especially if that someone is your spouse.
Start Making a Point to Be More Decisive
From now on, I want you to start making a point of being more decisive.
Don’t start with the really big, tough decisions… Start with small things, like what to make for dinner or what you’re going to do this weekend. You can even practice on decisions that only affect you, like what to eat for breakfast or which route to take on your way to a family outing.
The point is you need to practice being a good decision-maker.
In addition, make sure that you stick to every decision that you make. Don’t let yourself be bullied or guilt-tripped out of a decision that you know is right.
Start showing your wife and yourself that you say what you mean and mean what you say.
This is how trust grows in a marriage. No matter what your relationship with your wife is like right now, it’s not too late to start building up that consistency.
- Be a consistently good decision-maker.
- Be consistently affectionate, as we’ll learn about in the next chapter.
- Be consistent with your domestic duties (and other areas of husbandly leadership).
And before we wrap up this chapter, let me stress this one more time…
Being consistent does NOT come naturally.
Consistency is a virtue and decision-making is a skill. Both need time and practice to grow. Every day when you wake up, firmly plant your feet on the ground and make a conscious decision to be decisive.
Your homework for this chapter is to make one clear decision for your wife. It doesn’t matter how big or small… It just has to be a decision that you confidently make and follow through with!
Frequently Asked Question:
When Is it Okay to Bend Your Decision?
[pullquote align=”right”]IMPORTANT! If you do change your mind about a decision that you made in the past, be decisive about it!
You can change your mind and still be decisive. The key is to go cleanly from one decision to the next – don’t waffle back and forth. If you change your mind, change your mind. If you don’t, don’t. [/pullquote]
I got a few questions about this chapter from guys who’d read the early bird version of the course, so I decided to add this section in here. These men wanted to know if it’s ever okay to go back on a decision that you made, and if so, when?
The answer here is simple:
You should bend your decision when your decision needs bending. Use common sense.
In general, I’ve found that there are three times when it’s good to bend or change a decision that you’ve made:
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If you incorrectly weighed the pros and cons of your decision, then it makes sense to change it. If your decision is genuinely wrong (not just because your wife doesn’t agree), then change your decision.
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If you didn’t know all of your options when you made your decision, or if there’s a new option available that wasn’t available before, it’s perfectly acceptable to change your decision.
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Sometimes you’ll make a decision that your wife doesn’t like. That’s okay, and usually she’ll get over it and respect you more for it.
But, sometimes you will vastly misjudge how much that decision matters to your wife. If you made a decision, but then you realized that it either:
(A) Doesn’t affect you or your marriage as much as you thought, or
(B) It matters much more to your wife than you thought, then you have my permission to rethink your decision.
Finally, remember that being consistent and decisive doesn’t mean you have to be a stubborn ass.
- Listen to your wife.
- Weigh your options together.
- Do your best to make the decision that makes you both happy.
But, in the end it needs to be YOU making the decision. Because making decisions is what separates the leader from the people he serves.
[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Key Takeaways from Chapter 11:”]
- Being consistent in your marriage is how you build trust over time.
- Be consistent. Consistency means doing what you say, and saying what you’ll do. Contrary to popular belief, being predictable is actually a GOOD thing inside a marriage, especially when it comes to husbandly leadership.
- Be decisive. As the leader of your marriage, it’s your responsibility to make both the big tough decisions and the small everyday ones. Being decisive shows your wife that you’re driven, and that you’ll get her where she wants to go.
- As always, temper your consistency and decision-making with love. You’re a husband, not a drill sergeant. The reason you need to be decisive is because in the end, it makes your wife happy when you make decisions and stick to them.
- Homework: When the opportunity arises, make one clear, confident decision for your wife.
[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=’https://inside.husbandhelphaven.com/chapter-12-showing-affection/’ target=’_self’ size=’big’ align=’aligncenter’]Go to Chapter 12. Showing Affection[/thrive_link]