Decision-Making in Relationships: 3 Core Principles

If you’ve ever had to make a decision (no matter how big or small) with your partner, then you would know that it’s not an easy feat! Why is it such a struggle, though?

When you’re living the true bachelor-life, your decisions are solely yours. They only require your own approval and typically have minimal impact on others (or at least that’s what you’d like to think, most of the time!)

On the other end of the spectrum, when you find yourself in a committed relationship, decisions that are made require buy-in from both partners. Ultimately, most of the decisions you make do have an impact on your partner.

Decisions: Single vs. Couple

When two people start a relationship, the number of decisions that they make by themselves decreases considerably, as their respective decision circles start to overlap. This is not necessarily because all of these decisions have to be made together, but relates more to the fact that nearly all the individual decisions you make in a relationship will have an impact on your significant other.

In order to foster a healthy environment for a relationship, each partner needs to take his or her spouse into consideration when making a decision.

Of course, the degree to which both your decision circle’s overlap with one another is at your own discretion, and this differs from one couple to another.

The bottom line is that the more decisions a couple is able to successfully share, or at least know the others’ opinion on, the better things will be!

Alternatively, if one or both of the parties are making an excessive amount of autonomous decisions; then, at some point, things are going to start collapsing.

One Common Struggle with Decision-Making

For many people, the “ideal relationship” (in their head) might be one where the two circles are separate, not overlapping at all.

The problem is, though, that this kind of ideal is not compatible in a fully committed relationship.

So, oftentimes, despite a strong will to make a relationship work and find ways to improve upon things, one person may not be able to let go of their desire for ultimate freedom, choosing to end the relationship instead.

How Decision-Making Builds Connection and Trust

Luckily, this is not the fate of every relationship! There are also many couples that I have encountered who had previously been making mostly one-sided decisions, but who were able to take a step back, re-evaluate, correct their behaviour, and save the relationship!

I really can’t stress enough how important decision-making in relationships is for the overall health of the partnership. Every single decision that you, as a couple, effectively make together actually brings you closer to one another. It deepens the connection and increases the amount of trust that you have for each other. It creates a sense of reassurance that they are always putting each other’s needs on the same level – if not above – their own.

When you start operating as though your partner’s needs are your own needs, and you take responsibility for how your actions might cause them to feel, then you have reached a truly evolved and sustainable level of your relationship.

The Three Core Principles for Joint Decision-Making

So, before you get to the point where you’re ready to make all these decisions as a couple, there are three key principles that you need to embrace throughout the process if you want to successfully take action.

Number one is communication. It is vital that you understand one another’s perspective. How does your partner see things? Tap into their brain; talk to them; ask them questions! Allow them to tell you what they see and what they believe to be true. Make it known to them that you truly value their input and that it contributes greatly to the final decision and result.

Number two is respect. When it comes to your partner making his or her own personal decisions (in other words, decisions not directly relating to your relationship), you need to openly and wholeheartedly respect their choice and their judgement, giving them the freedom to succeed or fail by themselves.

And number three is trustworthiness. This applies to you making your own personal decisions – you need to consistently show your partner that you can make good decisions on your own.

As long as you stick to these three ideals, there is no doubt that your relationship will blossom and grow stronger!

The personal decisions we make determine where we find ourselves in this life. Often, it is these decisions that are the difference between success and failure. It follows that decision-making is just as important in determining where we end up in our relationships.

It’s inevitable that we are going to go through some tough times with our partner at one point or another, and when that happens, I urge you to remember this simple mantra:

I respect your decisions, my decisions are trustworthy, and I communicate through our decisions.

Success will follow naturally.

4 Common, But Easily Solvable, Problems In Romantic Relationships
The Keys to Unlocking a Satisfying Relationship

4 Common, But Easily Solvable, Problems In Romantic Relationships

As diverse as every happy couple’s relationship can be, all relationships have certain solvable – as well as unsolvable – problems.

In my opinion, some of the most common and solvable relationship conflicts for couples center around technology, stress from work, money, and household chores.

In order for a true bond to flourish and deepen, the partners in the relationship need to undergo and accomplish certain emotional tasks together. This creates a rich understanding between the couple. A relationship thrives on this mutual understanding, so long as both individuals want to feel safe and secure in it.

If those tasks are not realised, the partners no longer feel like a safe haven for one another when life gets chaotic. Instead, they make the chaos of life seem even more intense.

Here, I will share with you four of the most common challenges couples face, as well as some practical advice for effectively dealing with them.

Disconnecting From Distractions

In this technological day and age, with our attention spread so thin, maintaining meaningful emotional connection and intimacy has become a tough feat for many couples.

Reflect for a moment and consider:

How much time do you think couples spend, or should spend, talking with one another?

Shockingly, in a research study done on young couples living in L.A., the average amount of time the partners engaged in undivided face-to-face conversation added up to 35 minutes a week!

To make matters worse, the large bulk of this time was spent discussing errands and menial responsibilities – instead of the actual relationship! Viewing your relationship as second place will leave both of you feeling lonely.

Of course there exist a multitude of communication issues with varying causes, but a common offender in the world we live in today is that of our digital devices. With all the notifications and things we need to react and respond to, we have become distracted from the real connection that is right in front of us.

The solution:

If your partner expresses to you that you’re more focused on your phone than on your relationship, this is not an issue you should just brush off (even if you disagree with it). Consider sitting down together and coming up with some kind of “tech-agreement”. Maybe it could involve a rule that both of you won’t check emails, texts, or social media during specific points in the day – for example, date night or dinner time. Commit to using that time to talk, catch up, and connect with each other. Make sure that the agreement works fairly and well for both parties.

Bringing Work Stress Home

Let’s say, Sarah and Mike are a couple who have been in a relationship for a few years.

Sarah has a massive deadline due for the next day, and so she knows she’ll be up late that night. On her arrival home from work, she finds that Mike has (mistakenly) moved all of her meticulously organized notes into one big messy pile. She gets pissed, and lashes out at him.

Mike, who has a boss from hell and has had a highly frustrating day at work, comes home to find the fridge almost empty, with a couple of slices of leftover pizza. He gets pissed and demands why she didn’t stop at the grocery store like she’d promised…

They both shout at each other simultaneously: “What the hell is wrong with you?”

The real question they should be asking each other, though, is “What the hell is going wrong between us?”

They’re living out the typical example of bringing their work stress home with them, and they’re allowing it to sabotage their relationship.

The solution: 

If you find yourself snapping and getting annoyed by something your partner does, recognize and accept that your feelings are probably coming from somewhere other than your partner.

If your partner is offhand or rude towards you, don’t take it personally! Let it go for the moment, and understand that they have most likely just had a shitty day. Reacting is simply going to make things worse.

Even better – use this as an opportunity to go off and decompress by yourself before you try and connect with them. Go to the gym, go for a run, get outside and meditate!

Whatever ritual or activity works for you, once you’re feeling at a relaxed and calm state, you should then be “ready” to connect. Sit down with your partner; express the highs and lows of your day and your emotional state. Offer an understanding and supportive space for one another.

Scheduling or time-blocking a formal “venting session” will help prevent the spillover of everyday stress into your relationship!


Money is responsible for being one of the most common areas of conflict in marriage. This might involve figuring out how to spend it, or how to save it for the things that genuinely matter.

Regardless of whether your bank account is full or whether you’re just scraping by at the end of each month, there’s bound to be some conflict over money at one point or another. This is because (as fucked up as the reality of it is); money can be symbolic of our emotional needs. Finding a way to balance the emotional realities of money can be hard work for any partnership seeing as though feelings about money are so personal.

The solution:

News flash: most arguments about money are not actually about money…

Get underneath the number value to understand exactly what money means to each of you, individually.

Before creating a budget, get together and have a seriously constructive conversation about money, discussing any financial gridlock issues. Then move on to prioritizing your spending, and set out an action plan together for complete financial freedom.


When one partner starts to feel as though they’re doing the majority of all the household chores, issues that crop up can have an impact on many different aspects of the relationship. That one partner may be left feeling somewhat disrespected and unsupported, leading to resentment and a dissatisfying relationship.

Remember that it’s the 21stcentury here, and most of the time both partners have full-time jobs, so any “gender-role” bullshit or stereotypes ain’t gonna fly.

The solution:

Have a “meeting” about housework, splitting up the chores in a way that feel fair to both of you. Write it up in a list, and stick it on the fridge! Use the list to talk about how things are currently being handled, and how you would like things to be handled.

Fun fact: according to Dr. John Gottman, “women find a man’s willingness to do housework extremely erotic.” When a man is doing his share in maintaining his domestic duties, both partners report a more fulfilling than in relationships where the woman finds that the man is not doing his share. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, all of the solutions to these problems have one common thread: 


Stay aware of these “problems”, and crush them before they destroy your relationship!

Decision-Making in Relationships: 3 Core Principles
The Keys to Unlocking a Satisfying Relationship

The Keys to Unlocking a Satisfying Relationship

Let’s be honest, when it comes to relationships, a lot of us are just winging it. Initially, we’re blown away by the euphoric spell that love casts on us, but as we transition into the grind of everyday life, personal baggage might start to seep in… Maybe our feelings get hurt, maybe we emotionally withdraw, maybe we create unnecessary conflict, maybe our coping mechanisms are out-dated, and maybe we’re just feeling plain bored! The bottom line is: creating and fostering a joyful and healthy relationship is no easy feat.

Many people will be pleased to know that there’s a growing field of research that is increasingly solid guidance into the habits of the healthiest and happiest partnerships – as well as how to save any struggling relationship!

Ultimately, the science, or “answer”, behind romantic relationships comes down to a crux of lessons that are simple, obvious, and difficult to master (yes, all at the same time!) These include: a strong emotional connection, positivity, and empathy.

Let’s find out more…

Maintaining A Strong Emotional Connection

Emotional responsiveness can be deemed something of pivotal importance. In all the work done on developmental and social psychology over the years, this is the one thing that stands out in the secret to loving relationships; to keeping them solid and vibrant, and to falling in love again and again.

Simply put, the responsiveness is about sending out a signal and having the other person respond back to it. In love, the burning question is ultimately: “Are you here for me?” It’s not just about being a friend and helping with chores around the house; it’s about emotional synchronicity and staying tuned in with one another.

Each party in a partnership has their differences; it’s natural. But what makes couple unhappy is when they experience and emotional disconnection – unable to find security or a safe haven within the other person.

Criticism and rejection can be extremely distressing, and are often matched with withdrawal and defensiveness.

In order to foster emotional responsiveness between partners, couples need to bond by way of having conversations that explicitly express their needs and steer clear of criticism. Couples need to actively learn and practice how to talk about feelings in ways that assist in bringing their partner closer.

Keeping Things Positive

Emotional disengagement can easily happen in any relationship when couples are not fostering an environment of, or doing things that create, positivity. When you allow this to happen, people start to feel like they just keep moving further and further apart, to the point where they barely know each other anymore.

I’m sure we all know the age-old saying that sometimes “it’s the little things that count the most.” This is true – and these little things should be done, often! Research suggests that couples need to engage in small, routine points of contact that demonstrate appreciation.

A great place to start is to find ways to compliment your partner on a daily basis. This could be through expressing your appreciation for something they might have done, or directly and specifically telling them what you love about them – and get creative! Two beneficial plus-sides can be accomplished through this exercise – firstly, your partner will feel validated and generally good about himself or herself; and secondly, you’ll be constantly reminded about why you came to be with them in the first place!

You Need To Listen To Your Brain, Not Just Your Heart

When it comes to the brain and love, biological anthropologists have found (after putting people into a brain scanner), that there are three core neurochemical components that are found in people who report high relationship satisfaction. These include: practicing empathy, controlling one’s emotions and stress levels, and maintaining positive views regarding their partner.

In an authentically joyful relationship, partners will make a concerted effort to empathize with one another – understanding each other’s perspectives, rather than always just trying to be “right”.

Controlling your stress and emotions boils down to a basic concept: Observe what’s happening, but do not react!

If you really feel like the shit’s gonna hit the fan, take a timeout by heading to the gym, reading a book, or calling a friend – anything that will help steer you off the path of destruction.

Keeping a positive view about your partner basically just involves reducing the amount of time that you spend dwelling on all the negative aspects of your relationship. It’s common knowledge that nobody is perfect, but if you want a prosperous relationship, you need to get to the point where you can overlook those things in your partner, forgetting about the hurtful things that were said in the heat of the moment; just focusing on what’s really important. This is great for the mind, body, soul, and relationship!

Happier Relationship = Happier Life

At the end of the day, the quality of your romantic relationships will dictate the quality of your life. Great relationships are not merely just happier and more pleasant; when we know how to heal relationship and keep that tight bond, they make us more resilient than ever. No clichés here – true love really does make us stronger; it’s physiology! Connection with people who love and value us for who we are is our only safety net in life.

Decision-Making in Relationships: 3 Core Principles
4 Common, But Easily Solvable, Problems In Romantic Relationships


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