In the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” seminar we teach through the outline below in chapter three. Here is a single page handout for this material – Approach to Individual Decision Making.
The foundation of a healthy couple is two individuals committed to wise personal decision making. We must be a faithful disciple of Christ before we will be a good husband/wife to our spouse. It is neither possible nor advisable for a couple to consult each other on every decision they make. Shared values, agreed upon life structures (i.e., calendar and budget), and appreciation for what is important to each other comprise the foundation of personal decision making that will bless a marriage.
Step One: Live with Your “Yes” on the Table for God
- Do you believe your sin and folly require both the gospel and God’s continual guidance for a satisfying life?
- Do you believe that honoring God in your decision making is the only way to lasting joy?
- Do you believe that God is good and, therefore, can be trusted to guide your life?
Step Two: Identify What You’re Stewarding for God
- Make a prioritized list of your (a) relationships, (b) responsibilities, (c) talents, and (d) passions.
- How does your list compare and compliment the lists your spouse / fiancé made?
- What areas on your list are in transition or when do you anticipate the next transition in each area?
Step Three: Manage the Basics with Excellence
- Do you have a family budget that each of you understand, honor, and consider as you make decisions?
- Do you have common expectations for your time that protects your family and guides your decision making?
- Do you anticipate future decisions and transitions in light of these two basic life resources?
Step Four: Watch for Challenges and Opportunities
- Daily Opportunities
- Daily Temptations
- Transitional Opportunities
- Transitional Challenges
- Do you have “normal” that mentally frees you to look for daily opportunities to obey God’s positive commands?
- What daily temptations most commonly make following God’s will seem complicated or unrealistic?
- What are the next anticipated transitions for your family? What opportunities and challenges will they bring?
Step Five: Pursue the Necessary Information and Counsel
- Those Who Know You
- Those Who Know Your Situation
- Those Whose Character You Trust
- Those Whose Wisdom You Trust
- Who knows you and your life well enough to speak into a significant decision?
- Do you have the humility to seek guidance when it is needed? Is pride or insecurity your obstacle to transparency?
- How well do you listen when seeking guidance? Does fear or impatience serve as your obstacle to humble listening?
Step Six: Seek God’s Guidance through Study and Prayer
- Spiritual Awareness
- Family Awareness
- Church Awareness
- World Awareness
- Spirit Awareness
- Do you pray and read your Bible regularly so these are not new disciplines during a time of decision?
- When you read your Bible do you reflect and when you pray do you pause to allow God to speak?
- Do you view yourself as belonging to your family, church, and the world in a way that their concerns impact your prayer life and decision making process?
Step Seven: Decide with Confidence and Freedom
- When the point of decision comes do you usually feel a sense of freedom and confidence?
- Can you resist the sense that you have been “demoted” to God’s “Plan B” when a decision goes poorly?
- Do you feel God’s love in the freedom He grants to allow you to make decisions based upon His design for your joy?
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Character” post which address other facets of this subject.