Neither you nor your spouse is perfect. Neither of you has a perfect understanding of what will happen if you choose one course of action over another. But as life goes on, you have to make many decisions together. Should you move to Chicago or Wyoming? Should you take this job or that one? Should you have another child? How do you help the children you already have? How are you going to pay your bills? Many of these questions easily lead to arguments or sleepless nights — unless you include someone else in your decision-making.
There is someone who is perfect who can help you make these decisions together — peacefully. That person is God. If you include Him in your marriage through prayer, arguments can be resolved, questions answered and inspiration received. Your life will be filled with peace and unity.
Being "one flesh"
Ephesians 5:31 (King James Version) states that husbands and wives "shall be one flesh." Being one flesh means being unified and of single purpose. Of course, you are two people. Being "one flesh" is, therefore, difficult. But it is possible, despite differing opinions and interests.
The key is to love each other and to love God. Ephesians explains the importance of "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (5:21, KJV)." In other words, husbands and wives should love each other and God completely. Several verses of this same chapter in Ephesians (as well as the next chapter) emphasize the importance of including God in everything you do.
So, when it comes to decision-making, it is important to turn to God for advice. Proverbs 3:5–6 (KJV) explains, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Mortals — due to limited knowledge, limited experience and imperfection — lack understanding. Isaiah explains this when he quotes God, saying, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (55:8–9, KJV)."
But just how are God's "ways higher than our ways?" Let me share with you two personal experiences.
God's plan for me and my husband
The first personal example I'll share occurred before I was married, but the principles applied are the same. And, ultimately, my decision affected my future marriage.
After studying abroad in London in the spring of 2012, I longed to return there. When I heard about a program where students at my university could study at Cambridge for a semester, I had to go. I talked to the professor in charge of the program. He introduced me to a student who had gone, and it increasingly sounded like a perfect opportunity for the coming summer. But the more excited I became, the more uneasy I felt. I knew it would be hard for my parents to pay for another trip abroad, but my uneasiness was more than that, for I knew I could get funds if I looked hard enough. As I prayed about it, God seemed to be saying, "Katrina, I have other plans for you next summer." He didn't really explain what these plans were, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered if those plans might involve a certain friend of mine ...
Well, it turns out I married that friend the summer I would have been away. Many would see my not going to Cambridge as a sacrifice. But I know it was for my greater happiness — not really a sacrifice at all.
After marriage, decision-making became something my husband and I did together. We felt good about waiting to have children until I graduated the following year. Not long after I graduated, the thought of babies pressed increasingly on our minds. Not sure if we merely wanted a baby or if God was telling us it was time, we began to pray both separately and together about the idea. We fasted. We attended religious services to seek answers.
Each of us received a similar response: "Now that Katrina has graduated, there is no reason for you to wait. Stop taking birth control, and we'll see what happens." A couple months later, our pregnancy test came out positive.
Things may be crazy when our little one comes this summer. My husband may have an out-of-state internship. But we know that we are on God's timing and that He will guide us as we decide where my husband should intern. All will work out.
Ezra Taft Benson, a renowned religious leader who served as the United States secretary of agriculture from 1953 to 1961, emphasized the importance of including God in your family through daily prayer together. He testified, "The differences and irritations of the day melt away as families approach the throne of heaven together. Unity increases. The ties of love and affection are reinforced and the peace of heaven enters." He continued, "Individual and family problems are approached with confidence after invoking the favor of heaven."