Since getting married 8+ months ago my eyes have been opened to this new world of decision making. It’s amusing to think that this was one of the areas that I was looking forward to having a partner to work with but now when the rubber meets the road, this is actually one of the most difficult areas to learn, navigate and find success in.
This picture was taken while waiting for our plane before leaving Australia and it has nothing to do with this post but I wanted to have at least one picture. You can hardly tell that it was past 1am when the picture was taken:-) So now back to the decision making conversation…
The decision to return to Western Australia is one of the biggest decisions Ryan and I have had to make together so far. The decision to move, live and raise our family in another country is huge and not to be taken lightly. [Note: Just by saying “raise our family”, this is not an announcement. I am not pregnant. I am just looking towards the future possibilities.] We know that nothing is guaranteed but we are now moving in the direction of Perth, together.
Getting to this point was not easy. There were tears, disagreements and many misunderstandings. This mostly comes from the fact that Ryan and I are very different people. We each have our own unique ways of digesting, processing and communicating information. We approach topics, view subjects and interact with the world around us in ways that often confuse and sometimes frustrate the other one. I’m sure every couple experiences this on some level but just as each relationship is different, the manifestation of these differences is also unique to the people involved.
In our case, we are still obviously learning about each other and realize that this will be a continual process as circumstances and time change us. But generally speaking, I am a verbal processor who thinks quickly, makes judgements and then waits for the conversation or other information to come and either confirm or deny those opinions or feelings. I usually have a decision in my head and if i’m not sure about something then I seek more information. And all this happens while I think of back-up plans to my back-up plans, just in case.
When I was single, I was really looking forward to having a partner to make decisions with. I imagined that my husband would be able to help me confirm or deny what I was already thinking and also had (wrongly) assumed that said husband would help to add to my, already long, list of contingency plans. But in reality Ryan doesn’t just act as a really tall sounding board and he definitely doesn’t plan the same way I do. Instead, with big decisions and also with smaller more mundane decisions, Ryan changes the way I think. He forces me to see things differently and to approach subjects in ways that don’t always fit my current paradigm. In some cases, this is quite painful. It’s a stretching and learning process.
Ryan on the other hand is a gatherer. He doesn’t care how long a decision takes because he is generally not in a hurry. The information needs to get into his head and have some time and space to settle and digest before even forming an opinion. Obviously his way of processing was created to teach me patience.
We don’t have it figured out yet and maybe we never fully will. But this I do know. It matters who you marry because as much as I frustrate Ryan with my ability to make quick decisions while over-thinking everything and as much as Ryan frustrates me with his thoughtful thoroughness (I really do need to just keep praying for more patience), we are learning to value each other’s way of processing, capitalize on each other’s strengths and find peace in making big decisions together. Note: It’s probably not the big decisions that we need to worry about making but it’s the many little ones, the mundane or sometimes overlooked decisions that will keep us on our toes or possibly drive us both crazy if we’re not careful.
On this side of things, making decisions for myself as a single was way more straightforward. While big decisions are never easy, it would ultimately come down to me, the Holy Spirit and wise council. At the end of the day, I would make a choice. And those little choices didn’t usually even show up on the radar. But now decisions are almost never straightforward and even little decisions can lead to long discussions. But there is a wonderful sense of peace that comes with having a partner to confirm the decisions (big or small) we are making together and then take my hand and walk through them with me.
And that’s how Ryan and I make decisions married.