This video segment is one of five presentations in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” seminar. There will be four more seminars in this series covering the subjects: foundations, communication, finances, and intimacy. As those presentations are ready they will be posted on this blog.

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NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

Evaluation Two: GCMevaluation_Consensus Decision Making

Overview Sheet Two: Approach to Consensus Decision Making

Plumb Lines: These are the “sticky” statements that capture the core messages of this chapter.

  • Marital consensus requires enjoying your spouse more than you enjoy your preferences.
  • Uncertainty is not the enemy of consensus. Uncertainty is when we become the enemy of consensus.
  • Being motivated to make something succeed that was not your first choice is a clear indicator of love.
  • An overly high view of consensus results in bland uniformity instead of enjoyable unity.
  • Honoring the principles of consensus is what allows the energy of love to be magnetic instead of explosive.

Memorize: I Corinthians 1:10 (ESV), “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment..” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “I appeal” – Consensus decision making between sinners is unnatural and, therefore, requires intentionality.
  • “Brothers” – The church (like marriage) has, but should not always rely on, authority structures to make decisions.
  • “All of you agree… no division” – This is the ideal towards which we continually strive in the church and marriage.
  • “United” – Being united means valuing your marriage more than whatever is at stake in a given decision.
  • “Same mind… judgment” – The process and values of decision making are key factors in unity being enjoyable.

Teaching Notes

“To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” Margaret Thatcher

“I don’t know why we think that the most comprehensive and long-term of all human relationships can stay alive and thrive without the same commitment we make to our gardens. Perhaps one of the fundamental sins that we all commit in our marriages is the sin of inattention (p. 101).” Paul Tripp in What Did You Expect?

“I often become so preoccupied with the duties and responsibilities of my marriage that I fail to nurture tenderness and passion in my relationship with my husband. I get so busy serving him that I overlook enjoying him (p. 32-33).” Carolyn Mahaney in Feminine Appeal

“Love is the bedrock principle. No matter what your culture, traditions, or preferences are, the Bible teaches that in every relationship your first responsibility is to love (p. 3-4)… You can’t make wise decisions about how to love your wife if you don’t know what her life is like. You must know her hopes, dreams, fears, wants, strengths, and weaknesses (p. 11).” Winston Smith in Who Does the Dishes?

“If spouses are committed to one another’s pleasure, nobody goes to sleep disappointed (p. 160).” Dave Harvey in When Sinners Say “I Do”

“Love calls you beyond the borders of your own wants, needs, and feelings. Love calls you to be willing to invest time, energy, money, resources, personal ability, and gifts for the good of another (p. 188).” Paul Tripp in What Did You Expect?

“If I’m married only for happiness, and my happiness wanes for whatever reason, one little spark will burn the entire forest of my relationship. But if my aim is to proclaim and model God’s ministry of reconciliation, my endurance will be fireproof (p. 36).” Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage