When we’re growing up, our parents make nearly all our decisions for us. What to wear, what to eat, where to go, when to sleep, what to read and so on. They make these decisions because we’re little and don’t have the life experience or information available to us to make them for ourselves, which makes sense because at 8 years old you’d much rather watch cartoons than go to school.
As we start to get older, the whole ‘other people making all your decisions for you’ gig starts to get old and all you want to do is make your own decisions. Who you hang out with, when you come home, what you wear, how much makeup you have on. It’s a desperate struggle to get your independence and have the responsibility and ability to make those choices.
Next thing you know you’re all grown up, living out of home and in a relationship and it’s fun having someone else make decisions with you. Where should we eat? What are you wearing out tonight? Do you want to see a movie? Yep, it’s all fun and games…. in the beginning. As things get a little more serious, or a lot more serious, the decisions get bigger and bigger and somehow things go from being decision-making easy to decision-making hard. If making decisions on your own is relatively easy, why does it become so hard when your significant other is involved? What’s changed here? Oh yes, the addition of looooooove (I imagine that is said in a deep, smooth Barry White voice, so if you didn’t read it that way the first time I really recommend you go back and do it again okay.)
Throwing the love you have for someone else into the decision-making process is a real spanner in the works. Usually, you’re just making decisions for yourself, but when your significant other comes into it, all of a sudden you’re trying to make decisions with two outcomes: One that makes them happy and one that makes you happy. In a perfect world they would both result in the same action, but often they don’t. One of you wants one thing, while the other wants something else.
Funnily enough, even though on the surface our wants can look totally different and their end outcomes can also look totally different, usually we all just want the same thing… for the other person to be happy. So, if deep down you’re both hoping for the same outcome, how come it’s so difficult? Why does adding L-O-V-E into the mix, make everything so much more difficult?
If life were a poker game, love would definitely be the thing… in poker games… that…uh… makes the stakes go up.. yea, that thing… (that’s an appropriate reference, right?… I don’t play poker). Maybe it’s the love you have for the other person that makes you so determined to make the right choice? And if so, is that really a bad thing? Your neighbours may say yes if you’re yelling at each other at 10pm every night, they’re likely to launch a plastic bottle through your window containing a handwritten note that says, “You idiots! You love each other! You both want the same thing! Now shut up and go to sleep!”
Whether we realise it or not, when it comes to big decisions, we’re trying to find a balance between the love we have ourselves and the love we have for someone else. I believe those two types of love have to be separate because you have to love yourself first before you can love someone else and you can’t rely solely on someone else to give you all the love you need to sustain yourself AND them. That just ain’t right.
So, if love is at the heart of every big decision we’re trying to make, and at the end of the decision-making process someone you love is going to be happy (either you or them), then why is it still so damn hard?
Ahhh, that’s right…. I remember now because instead of making all these big life decisions, we’d all rather be sitting on the couch watching cartoons. We spend so much of our youth struggling for freedom, trying to break free from someone else making our decisions and rebelling against our parents, trying to carve our own path. We can be so desperate to grow up and make those big life decisions and feel like grown-ups, things like buying a car or a house, starting a family, getting married, that we overlook how hard it can be.
When that time finally comes, after looking up to our parents for years and wishing we had their freedom, suddenly we realise just how much work goes into those decisions and how hard it is to make them and sometimes all we can say is, “I wish someone else could make this decision for me.” We look back at those younger years, eating cereal in our pyjamas at midday, and say, “Remember how easy it was when we were kids and we didn’t have to worry about stress, kids, money, jobs and cars?”
Well, here’s the good news. As hard as all those big decisions are, you don’t have to make them alone because there’s your partner, eagerly waiting to help you and make the decisions together.
Sure, sometimes things get tough and it can be really easy to dig your heels in and stick to what you want because you feel like you need ‘the win,’ but at the end of the day, just remember, you’re both in it for the same reasons… love. All you want is the best for the other person and for them to be happy, so with both of you trying to look out for each other, you can’t really go wrong and as much as it may not look like it from the outside, you both have the same objective. I guess it turns out the thing that makes decision-making so difficult is also the thing that can make it easy.
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Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.