• Darrell & Robin MacLearn

The Power of Making a “Decide”

“Daddy, you just have to make a decide.”  These were the profound words of my 5-year-old

daughter at a time when I was wrestling with something in my life. Our decisions are the impetus to action. You just have to “make a decide.”  Once you have truly made a decision that decision will have a ripple effect and reveal itself in action.

Everything starts with a thought that leads to a feeling that produces an action. Somewhere in that sequence is a decision.  A decision by definition is… “a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.” At some point, the consideration needs to end and a conclusion or resolution needs to be established.  Stop and think about this for a moment. When you got married…

  • was it for better or worse?

  • was it for richer or poorer?

  • was it in sickness or health?

  • were your love and commitment unconditional?

When you got married you probably made a “macro” decision and a promise to stay married in the good times and the bad. I say “macro” because it was a “large scale or overarching” decision.  It was a decision made at a “macro” level vs. a “micro” level.  I am convinced that our divorce rate is what it is today because we oftentimes make macro-level decisions without the micro-level decisions required to fulfill the macro-level decision.

These vows (promises) you made are made at a wedding event when everything is going well and everything is exciting and “perfect.”  And oftentimes these decisions and promises are made without deep consideration of what is being said.  Promises, however, aren’t tested in the good times.  It is easy to keep those commitments when all is good.  It is in the fire, however, when our commitments and our “macro” decisions are put to the test. Why is it so easy for some to get a divorce today when promises were made at a

We want to encourage you to give serious consideration and then make the following decisions.

The Difference Between a Wedding and a Marriage


Event Journey

Moment in time Daily walk through life

Focus beauty of bride Focus on daily realities

Make vows Live vows

Promises are recited Promises are tested

Decide That Divorce is NOT an Option When divorce is an option our vows are a lie. BEST thing we ever did was to have a conversation before we ever married that said, “Divorce is not an option, therefore when something happens in our marriage, as it will, we will have to find a way to resolve it or live miserable.” If divorce is an option then I didn’t mean for better or worse. If divorce is an option then bottom line is my vows were a lie. I can’t decide for my spouse but I can make a decision that as far as I am concerned, DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION! Therefore I will do everything in my power to keep it from ever happening and never use it as a threat or a weapon.

Decide to Live Vows, Not Just Say Them Vows are not just words that sound nice at a ceremony. Vows are promises that are said with intent to live them. If you said you will cherish your spouse then DO IT! This is not a conditional statement. I don’t cherish my spouse when everything is good. I cherish her because I said I would! Make a decide that you will do more than say vows. What can you do today to cherish, to love, to keep your eyes to yourself, to not break your vows? Broken vows are not limited to adultery. To say you will cherish and then not cherish is a broken vow and cheating on your spouse.

Decide to INTENTIONALLY Work on Your Marriage Daily A healthy marriage takes work. It is just like our physical body. If we want physical health we must take action and get the right amount of exercise and nutrition to be healthy. There are those who say that if your marriage is unhealthy just end the relationship. That would be like saying if your body is unhealthy don’t work on the issues that cause it to be that way just commit suicide and end your relationship with it. That would be foolish. If your marriage is unhealthy make a decide to do the hard work necessary to change the state of health. And no, it doesn’t take two to change the health. It always starts with one who is willing to look in the mirror and make a decide to start taking steps to heal the relationship no matter what the other chooses to do.

Decide to Live Unconditionally To live unconditionally is to make a decide to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do independent of another’s actions. Make a decide to love, honor, cherish, and work on your marriage whether your spouse does or not. If you only love IF your spouse loves that is a lose/lose option. If you only work on your marriage IF your spouse works on it that is a lose/lose option. To live unconditionally is to set the example and do what is right because it is right. This is what we teach our children but often do not model for them. Decide to Take Thoughts Captive Everything starts with a thought and those thoughts have far more power than we like to believe. In fact, your thoughts have a direct impact on your results, positive or negative. Think about this for a moment.

You spend your day driving down the road ruminating on and thinking about all the negative things your spouse has done. Those negative thoughts produce feelings that will produce negative actions when you walk through the door. It is unlikely that you will feel all those negative emotions and walk through the door and cherish your spouse. Instead you will walk in and likely quickly see all the negative things your spouse did or the negative things about them.

What you spend your time thinking about is CRITICAL to restoring health in your marriage. This is probably the hardest of these decisions and it may require a daily, hourly, and even moment by moment decision. Taking thoughts captive simply means to stop and think about what you are thinking about and be intentional and strategic in your thinking. If you have a habit of thinking negatively about your spouse, take that thought captive, lock it up and choose to think about the positives. AND YES THERE ARE SOME! Be intentional in your thinking. Your thoughts are your choice. This takes work but it is SO POWERFUL!

These decisions are critical to moving your marriage forward. We would encourage you to write out these decisions and repeat them daily. Make them daily decisions. The following “Post it” may be helpful (a “post it” is something that is printed and posted somewhere to be read or reviewed with regularity until it becomes engrained in our thoughts)

These decisions are not an all inclusive list but a starting point for you to think about and begin with.  As you are considering these decisions you may think of other decisions that are important to you.  For example, decide to set boundaries.  Or, decide to be a lifetime relational learner.  

Once these decisions are made and you look in the mirror and repeat them to yourself at a deep commitment level the work of action follows and “micro” decisions will need to be made day by day and moment by moment.  You made a macro decide to live your vows not just say them.  So this requires you to make some micro decides that prompt action to do something tangible to “cherish” your partner.  Or, since love is a verb not a noun, micro decisions will need to be made to prompt actions that demonstrate your love beyond the words.  

It will be in the “worse” not the “better” that this will be tested.  It will be in the heat of the fire that you will have to truly decide to love and cherish and it will be in those moments that the integrity of your word and the truth of your promises will be tested.

Today's 30 Day Challenge

  • Spend some time alone thinking about how intentional you are in making decisions on purpose for the health and longevity of your relationship.

  • Print the above “Post It”.  Read and think about each statement and then make a decide to commit yourself to these decisions and any others you add.

  • Share your “Post It” decisions with your partner and have a deep meaningful conversation about your decisions.

“Post It” somewhere where you will see it and repeat these commitments to yourself every day for 30 days.

You can find videos on various relationship topics on our Youtube page.

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