9 keys for decision making in marriage

When was the last time you decided to help your “helpless” mate?  You know, when you’re sure he’s on the wrong track, and you have no choice but to take over decision-making “for the good” of you & your husband? After all, a wife may find herself in a situation on occasion where her husband just isn’t heading in the “right” direction. What’s a girl to do?

No wife is neutral when it comes to her husband’s reputation, and no woman is without influence when it comes to making decisions in a marriage. We approach decision making together, but the buck stops with our groom. How does a helpmate help her man make decisions?

Dirty Decisions in Delhi

We unlocked our hotel room door at 3:30 am in Delhi. After being up for about 36 hours in 4 airports and 3 countries, all we wanted to do was take a shower and go to sleep. A quick attempt at a shower revealed the floor of our stall was broken and unattached from the walls, meaning I had to balance in the shower to keep from sliding into the hole This was hard to do while avoiding the cobwebs, so my shower was brief. I stepped out to find myself in a large pool, since the water drained out the broken shower bottom and into the bathroom. I dried off and headed for bed, only to realize the stained sheets were filled with hair … not ours! “I don’t think this room hasn’t even been cleaned,” (I’m super observant at 3:30 am) I stated,”and I think you’re going to have to ask for another room in the morning,” I concluded to my equally tired husband.  (I’m also not at my sweetest at 3:30 am)

Jeff coaxed/begged me (with the slurred speech of a very sleepy man) to come to bed. I tried to take up as few inches on the sheets as possible, hoping my man would hear from God and do what I wanted him to do. (After all, it was a MINISTRY trip!) Instead, he just wanted to sleep. He also wanted me to sleep. He decided to do nothing. He wanted me to help him by allowing God to divinely (this is what it took, folks) put me to sleep too. He wanted me to be satisfied. (He wanted me to be quiet!)

Couples navigate many decisions in married life. It could be a small decision like restaurant choice, landscaping, weekend plans, or a dirty hotel room. It could be a big decision like a career change, relocation, or discipline of a child. Jeff and I are in a season of making big decisions. Perhaps the hotel room in Delhi was a reminder to me of bigger decisions at hand and those to come. The principles of decision making vary little based on how little or big the decision is to be made.

Decision Making

I remember 9 keys when I’m deciding how to respond to Jeff’s decisions:

9 keys for a wife’s decision making in marriage

  1. God hasn’t asked me to be silent
  2. God has asked me to speak with the fruit of His Spirit
  3. God hasn’t asked me to be the leader of my home
  4. God has asked me to put myself under His order
  5. God has not asked me to be answer for the fruit of our marriage
  6. God has asked me to walk with Him in any circumstance
  7. God hasn’t asked me to complain
  8. God has asked me bring my burdens to Him in prayer
  9. God has asked me to trust Him to speak to, move, and reprove my man

I am not the Holy Spirit, even in Jeff’s life. Especially in Jeff’s life. God is at work to teach, convict, lead, guide, correct, and motivate my husband. A wife is called to be her mate’s helper, not his commander.

A decision-making time is often a waiting time.  While our husband thinks and ponders and considers and concludes, we wrestle with our urge to take charge for our preferred course of action. Instead of interrupting with a barrage of words, we can love him by offering him the gift of time to decide, even if the decision isn’t what we alone would choose.  While waiting for seconds or for a season, we can prepare our heart for the God-directed outcome and cultivate our personal reservoir of faith.

Waiting on our man to come to a divinely directed decision making solidifies the trust between us, fuels his sense of respect, and grows us in believing God supplies our needs.

decision making in marriage

I didn’t fall asleep that first night. But I fell asleep the next night and every night that followed … in those sheets, in that bed, in that room, after balancing daily in the broken shower. Jeff knew that when morning came, I would see streets lined with those who slept without a room or a sheet, who haven’t set foot inside a shower. He knew the our hotel room, in the condition we received it, was exactly what we needed for the moment. It was his decision, and it was the right one.

Are you in the middle of making a decision? We are! I’m praying this prayer. God listens to our prayers for our husbands, our marriages, and our homes. Will you pray this with me?

God, help me not to obstruct my husband’s decision-making and thwart what you want to do in our lives. Help me to truly be a “helpmate” as I contribute to, pray for, and wait on decisions small and large.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateveryou want I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  (From Galatians 5:16-26)

 

By Julie Sanders

Overnight Crockpot Sausage Breakfast Casserole Served with Gratitude

Spending time in a place with so little will arouse an attitude of gratitude for living in a place of enough. To be honest … for living in a place of “more than enough.”

Arousing an attitude of gratitude

We arrived in Delhi early on a Saturday morning. Too early for going back to sleep and too early for getting up. Each team member took their own approach. After trying not to toss and turn with too much noise (sorry, Honey …) for the first two hours, I decided to get up and get dressed and watch Delhi wake up. It didn’t take long to get myself in order, since “ponytail” was the extent of my hair care while traveling. Lovely.

The lounge was already sticky when I walked down the steep steps. I smiled at the groggy desk clerk and concluded I had broken an unspoken cultural rule. With both of us feeling rather sheepish then at 6 am, I sat down on a bench and looked out the window. The street looked a bit like the night after a football game or concert or carnival, but the faces of the early pedestrians gave away the very normal condition of the day. One passing face captured my attention and woke me up.

A girl somewhere between 11 and 13 walked barefoot beside a woman with a baby perched on her hip. I don’t say her “mom,” because I don’t think she was the mom. It was too much to think of her as the girl’s mom. But maybe there was something unspoken culturally there too, because the trio walked past me wearing disheveled rags that also looked like the night after a football game, concert or carnival, but like roadside debris picked up from one of those.

The tween girl limped on her left leg, carrying a tin pan at her side. The pan reminded me of the ones my grandma used to make pies, but then turned into dog pans for leftovers. I watched until the “mother” took the girl past the aggressive buses and equally aggressive crowd, left the child stationed at the corner, and then walked back past me. She stopped only to glance around the frame of the street, to pick through refuse for food overlooked during the night by dogs or cows or other people. Having food, especially having “more than enough” food, makes us rich indeed. Watching Delhi wake up hungry aroused my attitude of gratitude.

Indian woman

Realizing that what we have is having so much will change the way we cook, serve, and welcome friends to our table. This weekend Jeff and I welcomed 8 college students to our table as they celebrate fall break. Instead of complaining about the many hungry mouths or all the paper plates or the dishes to wash, I’m just grateful. So grateful I have food to share. More than enough to share.

Here’s my recipe for Crockpot Sausage Breakfast Casserole that feeds a hungry crowd of 10 – 12, depending on how many of them are college students!

Crockpot Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Crockpot Sausage Breakfast Casserole

  • 10 pieces of bread, torn
  • 1 roll of sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 11 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 3 cups shredded colby jack cheese

Spray (cooking spray) a 5 or 6 quart crock. Layer 10 pieces of torn bread all over the bottom. I like to use homemade bread for this, but it’s just as good with french bread or your favorite loaf of bread. Sprinkle the cooked/crumbled sausage all over the bread. Sprinkle with salt, pepper & dry mustard. Sprinkle 2 cups of the cheese over the top. Combine milk and eggs, stirring until eggs are thoroughly combined. Pour the egg/milk mixture evenly over the ingredients in the crock. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

I like to assemble this the night before and put it in the refrigerator (another blessing). When you get up, turn the crockpot on to high for about 2 1/2 hours. Check to see if it’s cooked through, though still soft and creamy. You may let it cook another 1/2 hr. if it needs more time. It works well as a “eat when you’re ready” dish … unless you’re the last one :)

Serve this with fruit and toast or muffins, if you are so blessed.

Let’s cook, serve, and welcome loved ones to our tables with an attitude of gratitude this weekend!

By Julie Sanders

How to publicly shame the man you love

No wife is neutral. (For that matter, no husband is neutral either.) We either add to or take away from our mate’s reputation. While serving in India, a pair of women reminded me of 2 simple ways to impact your husband’s reputation. I introduced you to one woman yesterday. They probably weren’t very different economically, so we can’t blame the contrast on poverty; they weren’t very different physically, so we can’t attribute their differences to age or beauty. Married or single, come with me to the Delhi airport, and let’s discover what it takes to publicly shame a man.

publicly shame the man you love

We arrived at the airport around 2:30 am, after surviving the obstacle course of the Delhi traffic in our taxi. Signs were displayed announcing “This is a silent airport.” As we got in line for check-in, we noticed people seemed to take the silence seriously. Since we were starting a nearly 36 hour journey, I was glad for the peace.

Indian wifeTaking away from his reputation

Without warning a shriek cut through the airport silence. Desk attendants, luggage receivers, and waiting passengers for our carrier all turned in unison. (Staring it totally okay in India … gotta love that) Across the aisle from our line, at a different carrier, a family of four had arrived with a baby, a toddler, a stroller, and a mound of luggage. We will never know what precipitated by the conflict, but the wife began to scream in anger at the desk clerk, soon joined as a target by the manager. For one brief moment, the husband chimed in, but his wife quickly overwhelmed him and regained her ground. More airline administrators came, along with security guards. No one took action as the wife’s intensity rose. We could feel the tension and awkwardness in the “quiet” airport as people began to mutter to one another about the woman. A hippie in front of us started to meditate; a woman behind me started to make sarcastic comments; everyone looked uncomfortable. Especially the screamer’s husband … who took one of the children and stood at a distance with the toddler weeping in his arms. I felt sorry for him. His family had been hijacked by his out-of-control wife.

Finally, with her image on the line and her emotions at full boil, the woman jumped up onto the luggage belt where she had clear access to the manager. Before we knew what hit him, screamer reached out and hit the manager across the face. The slap was heard all over the check-in area.  People hung their heads.  The husband hung his head. The wife threw hers back and stomped away briefly, before returning for another round.

Reasons why we publicly shame our men

Was it cultural? Maybe.  A lot of cultures have what we call “acceptable” or expected levels of public antagonism. In my own culture, we excuse such behavior by saying our noble “Mama Bear” came out, or our sense of justice took over, or we were holding someone accountable. I don’t live in a dirty country, after all. We use well chosen words to market our own failures so we feel good about them, so they don’t stick to us, and so we have the freedom to act out (sin) again when the urge hits. I don’t mean to be hard on you, dear reader, because I’m in this category too. I have a file in my memory called “Times I lost it and regret it.”

To be meek is to be gentle in your spirit, to be mild in your disposition, to accept God’s dealings with us as good. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” (Matthew 5:5).  No wife can control her circumstances.  Every wife will face moments of injustice at places like school, the customer service desk, the insurance company, the doctor’s office, the silent airport, or church. The fruit of our mouth grows from the content of our heart (Luke 6:45). How we respond to the rotten moments of life impacts our husband’s reputation.

God, help us not to be controlled by our flesh, by our emotions, and by our culture.  Help us to be Spirit filled when it matters most. Lead us not into the temptation of giving cause for our man to hang his head in shame or for others to hang their heads in embarrassment for him. No wife is neutral. Help us to be a benefit to our husband’s reputation.

  • Have you been out-of-control? Do you need to ask for your husband’s forgiveness?
  • Do you have a habit of losing your temper, letting emotions control your responses?

By Julie Sanders