Decision making in relationship

BY: Dr John Boakye

We make decisions every day. Some are important, others not. Some are short-term, others long. At the end of the day, we are the decisions we make in life.

We can add that decision making is key to how successful your relationship will be.

Who makes decisions?
Decision making in a relationship must should be a joint responsibility. If one partner takes a dominating role and makes all the decisions, the relationship suffers. Research shows that the unhappiest people in relationships are those whose partners make unilateral decisions.

On the other hand, in most successful relationships, decision making is a shared activity between the two lovers. In such relationships, both lovers show interest about the wishes and preferences of each other. They believe in the abilities of their lovers and seek opinions in all important matters. They share results and commit themselves to their decisions.

Sharing ideas in relationships is important. The Akans say ‘ti kro pro’ which means ‘a useful idea not shared rots away’. Unfortunately, in many relationships in Ghana, it is only the man who makes decisions unilaterally. Some men feel it is a sign of weakness to seek advice from their wives. Some women also think that as the Akan put it, ‘a man is not like a pillow you comfortably rest your head or ideas on’.

What to decide on
Marriage experts say that lovers must decide on everything they consider as important. These may include where to stay, how many children to have, family planning methods, menu, church, how to contribute to the family income, societies and religious organisations to affiliate, household, work and future plans. Partners must also agree on who should stay with them, and how long and who should be given assistance.

How to make decisions in relationship
It is important partners see each other as equals and appreciate their in born abilities to make good decisions. We must also consider each other’s needs and support each other. It then becomes easier to agree on goals and work as a team.
• State your problem or goal clearly and specifically.
• Collect all facts and information relevant to your problem. Listen to each other.
• Examine your options and evaluate the pros and cons of each.
• Choose the option you consider best after weighing all the chances of success against the risk of failure on what needs to be done, when and the resources involves.
• Implement your decision.
• Specify what will be done, how, when and the resources involved.

Once a decision is made, it has to be honoured by both. You may, however, have to revisit your decisions when the situation changes. Major decisions have both short and long-term consequences. If partners decide to seek greener pastures, they must know clearly the implications of their decision. If life abroad becomes difficult, they can decide to come back home.

Benefits of equal partnership
Equal partnership benefits the man, woman and the relationship as a whole. Studies show that men who accept their lovers input have happier relationships and are less likely to divorce. They have greater intimacy, improved health and reduced stress.

It is also known that having equal say in a relationship is what women see as the most important contribution to a happy or satisfying relationship because they feel valued and appreciated. They show less anger and depression.
Equal partnership makes stronger relationships. There are less conflicts but higher physical intimacy.

Creating equal partnership
You must live as great friends who share activities and work as a team. It is tempting for some husbands to see their housewives as unimportant. Can we do all the household tasks and childcare as they do? We must appreciate what our lovers do and avoid making important decisions unilaterally.

Love is a decision to share a life with someone special to make him stronger and happier. You must make mutual decisions and share the results of what you both decide.

A relationship is partnership. It grows only if decision making is mutual, honest and open. Our maker made us differently to combine our inborn traits for enhanced decisions. A relationship will be fulfilling for both if each partner has equal say on important matters.

Never make an important decision without your partner. Love, after all, is a decision to share all areas of our lives with someone special to make him stronger and happier. There can, therefore, be no true love without mutual agreement and sharing. Share to love and love to share.

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