February 19, 2022

Decision Making in Relationships

Couple Cuddling on the Couch


Who gets to decide in your relationship? This is the sixth episode of a series on Getting Ready for Marriage. ​In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Polinsky discusses the importance of being on the same page with who gets decision making power in the relationship and when. 



  • Power conflicts come from different opinions on who gets to make decisions. 
  • 5 options for making decisions in relationships. 
  • Topics to decide on together about who gets to make decisions and when. 


1. Why I am doing this series on Getting Ready for Marriage:

It’s wedding season now and I had a wedding photographer reach out to me asking me to provide some tips for couples getting married. I created an entire checklist for her with the things I think are foundational for getting ready for marriage and starting off your marriage on the right foot. If you want the checklist, you can download it here!

2. Recent story about decision making in my marriage:

 As you may already know, I am a marriage counselor in Norfolk Virginia, and also provide online counseling in South Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, and soon to be Nevada. You can find out more about my marriage counseling services at www.ElizabethPolinskyCounseling.com. I have recently been thinking about going counseling retreats and workshops for military couples who aren’t able to attend weekly therapy sessions sue to difficulties with their military schedule–whether they have rotating shift schedules, inconsistent schedules, or because they are going through workups or are soon to deploy. In thinking about starting to do workshops and retreats, I wanted to do a training on providing retreats but the cost was $3,000. I wanted to do it, and my husband wanted me to wait. This is where we get into decision making power in relationships and who gets to decide. The question is, do I get to decide this on my own? Or should my husband have a say on my business expenses? Couples face difficult decisions about who has decision making power and when in the relationship. 

There are no right or wrongs here–just different pros and cons for how you both decide who has decision making power and when” –Elizabeth Polinsky 

3. Having fights over power is a common relationship experience. 

People have different preferences for whether they or their partner get to make the decision on something–and what things should be  joint decisions. The problem is when this hasn’t been discussed or agreed on, then it a can great tension when you feel very different than you partner on a topic. ​Another topic where this comes up a lot is parenting and different parenting styles — who gets to decide what parenting style you guys will use and how you will discipline the kids? You probably want to be on the same page about this!

4. The PAIRS Foundation talks about a Powergram: They have a worksheet that covers 5 different options:  

  • My decision only
  • My decision with my partner’s input
  • Our decision equally 
  • My partner’s decision with my input
  • My partner’s decision only 
Outdoor Protrait of Black African American Couple Embracing Eac

5. Topics to decide on together: It is helpful for couples to go through the Powergram options above or by using the worksheet to decide on the following topics: 

Action Steps: Download the PAIRS Powergram here! You and your partner will fill out the worksheet separately and then compare the results together. Use this to talk about where you guys had different opinions so that way you can come to an agreement and be on the same page!

Liz’s Useful Links: 

Podcast Sponsor: The Adventure Challenge  is a mysterious scratch off book of 50 unique and creative adventures. You don’t know what you’re doing until you scratch it off! The goal is to inspire connection in your relationships through adventures and fun.  There are 3 editions–one for couples, one for families, and one for friends. If you are feeling in a rut in your relationships  and in need of adventure, this is a perfect book to get out outside of your normal routine and into fun experiences aimed at bringing you closer together. To get 15% off the adventure challenge, go to https://www.theadventurechallenge.com/discount/CONNECT15 or enter “CONNECT15”.

Thanks for Listening!


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    About Author

    Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


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