How to make relationship decisions
Relationship decisions should not be based on your heart (on your emotions). They should be based on wise thinking.
That sounds unromantic doesn't it? The message we hear time and again in shows, movies and books is that we should follow our hearts. But I disagree. Our emotions have the potential to lead us to make very destructive decisions. If we always follow our heart, we will at times be left hurting.
Think about it. If we have a relationship based purely on emotions – on decisions made by 'the heart' – then our relationship will end up being so very far from romantic. Say you're married and you have an attraction for someone other than your spouse. If you were to base your decisions on emotions, your passion may lead you to have a sexual or 'romantic' encounter with that other person, seriously injuring your marriage.
Or say your boyfriend says something that upsets you, instead of reacting in a reasonable and understanding manner, you react according to your emotions, lashing out in a rage and damaging the communication between the two of you.
Or perhaps you know that it’s better for you and for your relationship to keep things pure and non-sexual with your girlfriend, but your heart is telling you otherwise, so you seize the moment with her. Then you end up regretting your decision as the relationship just became a whole lot more complicated.
These are examples of actions that are based on the heart. Yet as you can see, they don't end up bringing more romance into the relationship. Yes, some of these actions may temporarily spice things up, but never in the long run do they make your relationship more intimate or committed.
Use wisdom, not emotions, to make your relationship decisions.
But let's not pretend that using wisdom is the easier option. It's by far the better, more fruitful and the more truly romantic option. But it's not the easier option. In the moment, it’s definitely harder.
It is so much easier to listen to your emotions.
But be strong. Think about what you want your relationship to look like. Think about the end goal, not the temporary.
It is so much more romantic to do so. Your relationship will be built on a sure foundation instead of an unstable and unpredictable one. The decisions you make will be thought through rather than impulsive decisions made on a whim.
The more you train yourself to choose wisely in a way that is honouring of God, honouring of your significant other, honouring of others and of yourself, the more your emotions will start to line up with the way of wisdom. So over time, good decision making will start to get a little easier. But even still, always be on guard. Do not let your emotions trip you up. No matter how wise you are, no one is immune to being tricked by their heart.
Look at the intensity of this verse in Jeremiah:
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
The heart deceives us. We need to have control of our heart, guarding it carefully. It’s not meant to have control of us. Proverbs 4:23 warns, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life”. Matthew 5:8 also says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”.
If you want more wisdom (everyone reading this should be saying yes), then simply ask God for it. He gives it willingly and freely. No problemo. See James 1:5.
Have a further read of these verses in Proverbs:
Proverbs 3:5-8, 13-26
So how will you make your relationship decisions? Will you follow your heart, or will you use wisdom?