When You’re at an Impasse in a Decision

We’re stuck, my man and I.

At an impasse, and we circle to it again and again these last four days. At the coffee-shop over my dark French roast, in the car on our way home from an errand, and whispered in the dark at night before bed.

We have a decision to make that will affect not only the next two weeks, but probably the next few months as well. We hesitate because we are on opposite sides of the issue and can’t find a middle ground. He is wise and logical, and I’m looking at this in a more emotive light, I know, and yet the stakes feel high. 

So we dance and parry, and gently ask questions. Probing quietly, we listen for the person’s heart behind their choice, and seek to see their side.

This is a newer skill for us, I admit. Much more prone to fall into passionate “discussions,” we are striving to do this better. Tools straight from the premarital counseling material that we teach to newly-engaged couples are, nonetheless, still hard to implement some days. It’s hard not getting your way sometimes.

Three things have helped us in past decision-making dilemmas:

1.) Listen to the why behind their decision. Listen without interrupting and with openness.
2.) Speak calmly, respectfully, and kindly when it’s your turn. Assertively share your thoughts.
3.) Remind yourself that their heart is good, and that their motives are usually for your benefit.

But today? It’s still hard. My poor man and I long to say yes to the other person, long to thrill each other with a yes, but can’t quite release what worries us from the other position. So we hug, and pray, and hope that time helps.

What helps you those days? What system of decision-making do you and your loved ones employ?

Photo credit. 

Share this post:


  1. Houseofmills on August 1, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Uggg hard one! In the end I have realized my husband is always right and I should of just listened to him in the first place. Hopefully he never sees this post. hahaha!

  2. Unknown on August 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I agree, this is a sticky spot to be in. There have only been a handful of issues that we cannot work through, and sometimes we have to agree to disagree. Sometimes we give into the other, only later to admit they may have been right all along. Rarely, there is an issue that we cannot agree on and have to walk away from it completely, sometimes for years before re-visiting. The key is to make sure that bitterness and resentment do not take root; that is the most difficult thing for me.

  3. Floyd on August 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Been there… I like the advice, took me years, no decades to learn that the hard way.

    Weighing the downside on both sides seems to help us. And if there is no downside then the decision becomes much easier.

    Thanks for the reminder about how to approach pretty much all issues in life.

  4. Jayne on August 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    This is a difficult one for us. My Man has never been one much for discussions. I end up doing most of the talking. Not because I am trying to force my way, he just does not talk. Literally. Does not talk. He will sit and think about it. (I can tell he's thinking cause his eyes are blinking) or he changes the subject, or he quietly gets up and walks away. (which infuriates me). The best I can do is pray for God to open my eyes to His work behind the scenes. I have to remember that He is at work on my heart and on MM's heart. It may take a few days or sometimes even weeks, but finally MM will come back with his take on the situation and usually he is right. In the mean time I am reminded that "because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."

  5. Cheryl Barker on August 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    So easy to fall into those passionate discussions you mentioned, isn't it? When I'm unsure about a decision, I try to remember to pray and ask God to guide my hubby to the best decision and then just rely on the Lord's guidance.

  6. Unknown on August 4, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    After reading your blog for a few months, I believe you guys are praying people, and are both trying to seek God's face. In moments like that my hubby seems to always win out. The logical typically does. I agree with Kara… it's the bitterness and resentment you have to watch out for if it doesn't go your way. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog last week and leaving a comment. I was out of town, so it took me a bit to return the visit. 🙂

  7. Dolly@Soulstops on August 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Oh, this is so hard…praying God will give you and your man wisdom…it is good that you are both respectfully listening to each other as that can be hard when one feels strongly about a decision….sometimes we will ask the input of someone we both respect… take care, Jennifer

  8. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:12 am


    Laughing with you at your last line. 🙂

    Yes, I get it too.


  9. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:15 am


    I agree. Rarely is there an issue that we can't agree on, or resolve. And striving for harmony and open communication is key too, huh?

    Thanks for jumping in here,

  10. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Hey Floyd,

    Decades to learn this? Yes, us too, I'm afraid. It's hard some days, huh? But so worth it.

    Thanks for honesty here, and the tip.


  11. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:21 am


    "Asking God to open our eyes to what's behind the scenes"…. good wisdom there, Jayne. Thanks.


  12. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:23 am


    Asking God to guide your man and you into the best decisions, yes, I agree. I'm thankful for God's role, and for my man's role too in these things.

    Have a great week,

  13. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Hi AJ,

    I am glad you see our family as a family of prayer. Thank you for that. We did lots of that last week, that's for sure. We came to a resolution, even if it wasn't fun. But peace, and gentle soft words, sad hugs, and patient waitings have been helpful.

    I appreciate getting to know you, and for your feedback here with Kara and the others too. A fun community is developing, huh? It's encouraging!


  14. Jennifer Dougan on August 9, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Thank you, Dolly!

    Yes, prayers for wisdom are always good. Thank you. We came to a resolution, and have worked through it. He is a good man, and strives to make wise choices for our family. I see that and appreciate that.

    Have a great week,

Leave a Comment