How to Make Decisions

Together as a Couple

Brought to you by Modern Wellness Counseling

Wedding planning comes with so many decision-making opportunities. Even if you and your partner are not making ALL of the decisions, I can guarantee that both of you are in the process of making some sort of life altering decisions, like where are you going to live, what type of job are you planning for, are you combining finances, are you going to grow your family by having children or perhaps fur-children and the list can go on.

But how do you come to a compromise together and make decisions where you both can say “I gave it my best effort to understand my partner” or “I felt supported during that conversation.”

Here are some quick and simple tips you and your fiancé can begin to implement.

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Tip 1: Define what you are trying to decide on

This can be a general overview of the topic. For example, this can be on the topic of “where we plan to live.” It’s best to define what you are talking about from the beginning, because when making big decisions, it can 1) be a little scary or intimidating and 2) it can easily get off topic. The best way to come to a compromise and to both feel heard is to both stay on topic.

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Tip 2: Write it down

You may not know all the answers at the time of the conversation, but if you are taking the time in your busy to communicate about something, note it, so you don’t have to start from scratch the next time around. Perhaps jot down questions that are coming up. Try a pro/con list where you both can add your thoughts.

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Tip 3: Take turns sharing thoughts/concerns

Be sure that your conversation is involving both partners. You can do this by asking follow-up questions like “what do you think about ___ ?” or “I’d like to hear your side about _____.” Taking turns is of course key in feeling heard and valued in a conversation. Which leads me to the next two important tips.

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Tip 4: Be open minded during the conversation

There is nothing more defeating and annoying than when you are trying to share an idea you have and someone else immediately squashes it. When trying to make big decisions, especially early on in your relationship, you want to make sure that you are creating a safe space for all thoughts to be brought to the table to discuss. If early in the relationship, the responses are “that’s so stupid” or “why would you even think that?” chances are that down the road, there will be very little dialogue because the negative thought will now be “what’s the point in speaking up if it’s not going to matter anyway.” We want to make sure we are staying away from this.

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Tip 5: Participate in the conversation.

I think this is an obvious one, but sometimes partners can quickly say “I don’t know” or “whatever you want” or “it doesn’t matter.” If these responses are coming up when trying to make a big decision, explore why this is happening. Does it not matter to you or is it that if you share your thought, it’s going to be dismissed so what’s the point in participating? If you are on the receiving end of the “I don’t know” try sharing how important their feedback is. If you are the one saying, “it doesn’t matter,” share how it is not about caring for your upcoming wedding or where you will live, but that the decision will not necessarily change you how feel in the moment. Remember, both partners have to be open minded.

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Now that you have some quick and easy ways to make decisions with your partner, try it out on the next decision that must be made.

By Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT, Owner of Modern Wellness Counseling

Priscilla specializes in working with engaged couples and helps them learn the strategic tools needed so that they can be on the same page throughout every chapter of their lives. Be sure to check out the online premarital courses and do not forget to download the Free Conversation Checklist for Engaged Couples.






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