Orson Scott Card: Husbands, wives and decisions

One of the hardest things to learn, for people embarking on the difficult enterprise of marriage, is decision-making.

It's easy to conceive of a marriage as a corporation, with a CEO who makes all the decisions, and a staff that carries them out. This looks attractive for the same reason that dictatorships always do: It's just so simple when there's one person in charge.

Simple, but miserable. For one thing, the lone decision-maker won't always be right. For another thing, the non-decision-makers will always be unhappy. How can there possibly be any joy in a relationship in which one person always gets his way, and the other one never does?

The real problem is that in a good marriage (as in a good corporation or a well-run nation), nobody should ever have a "way." When it starts to matter most to you who's in charge, you're on the road to disaster.

1. If nobody's bleeding and everybody's breathing, it probably isn't an emergency, and therefore you can wait to make a decision until you agree.

Back in the mid-1970s, before I got married, then-managing editor Jay Todd of the Ensign sent me to six cities across the country to interview people for a series of articles about marriage and family.

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