Marriages are a lot of compromise. I have been married for almost 9 years, and it is surprising that if I did not think of an idea, my first instinct is to reject it. No matter what it is, when it comes to making a decision, if I did not come up with it, my first instinct is to take the side of “no.” Now, I might be going out on a limb here, but my guess is, that I am not the only person in this camp. And since it is my experience that the woman are more times the daily decision-makers in the home, this post will be written as such. Now ladies, hear me out. We have a tendency to be the more "opinionated," one in the relationship. We like what we like. The trouble is that if we do this too often, it may cause our husbands to withdraw. Let me cite my own example. The most recent decision was our oldest boys bedroom set. We were looking online for sets, and my husband sent me different models. The one he was felt strongest about getting, my first instinct was “no.” After investigating my own feelings, there was no real reason why a corner set (twin beds shaped like an L), would not work in the room. I just did not have experience with a set like this, where he had one growing up. (Aside: in marriages, 90% of how we do things is based on what we observed from our parents. The only merit of doing things one way over another is our personal experience. A whole other blog will address this topic). So, since I like Chris’ participation in household projects, I withheld my “no” and maintained my speculation. My speculation was maintained from the time he purchased the bed, to the time I watched him bring it into the house piece-by-piece. For me, it is best to maintain my silence while I am maintaining my speculation. Even after the bed was set-up, I voiced encouraging statements, “looks great,” while again maintaining my uncertainty. It would be rude to criticize a project that had just consumed my husband’s entire day. Knowing myself well enough, and him just as well, I stayed quiet. In this situation, I ended up loving the bedroom set. It opened up the room, and now the boys play in there three times as much as they did when they had side-by-side twin beds. What experiences like this reinforces, is that even though my first internal instinct might be “no,” my first voiced reaction can still be a “yes.” Not every time does it work out so positively, and there are still times when I do not end up agreeing on the choice (I am thinking of the cinderblock planters), but choosing to compromise, adds the variety that makes it a partnership. So, if you are the spouse directing most of the decisions lately, and you want your spouse to stay engaged (or re-engage) in the daily decisions in the home, vacation plans, issues with the kids, etc., then give them the space to make some of those decisions, and turn your instinctual “no,” into a voiced “yes,” or at least a considered “maybe”?