Make-Up-Monday: The Indecision Game

by Merritt on July 9, 2012

What do you want to eat tonight?

I don’t know. What do you want to eat?

Sound familiar? For you and your spouse it might not be about food or restaurants. Maybe it’s something else like weekend activities or date nights. Sometimes we give the “I don’t know” answer and defer to our spouse because we really don’t know. Other times it’s because we want the other person to make the decision. Whatever the reason, simple decision-making can become a source of conflict in marriage.

Our friends Aaron and Lee have been married for eight years now. Though they would both say marriage was challenging for a majority of their newlywed years, their ability to work through and come up with creative solutions since then has really produced some beautiful fruit in their relationship.

We spent time with the two of them recently and learned about a little activity Aaron calls the “Indecision Game.” It’s something Lee invented to deal with what to do when she’s feeling indecisive. I thought it was creative {and fun} so I asked their permission to share it with you.

Lee kicks it off. One at a time, he chooses two restaurants in each of the different food categories. In a big city, the options are plentiful. So he uses this tool to ease the decision-making process and, in the end, avoid unnecessary conflict and misunderstanding.

It goes a little something like this:

He’ll start with a question like, “Do you feel more like {name of a fancy sushi restaurant} or {name of a casual seafood restaurant}?”

She’ll answer, and he’ll use that information to come up with another pairing.

“What about {neighborhood Mexican restaurant} or {quick service taco joint}?”

And with each answer, it narrows down the pool of prospective options.

It works for them because it gives Aaron a chance to think through it through—elimination style. And, with each question, he gets to know one more piece of information that helps guide his next pairing and ultimately eases them into the final decision.

It helps to know a little bit more about where things went in the past before the “Indecision Game” came into being. With a sincere desire to know what would appeal to her in the moment, he’d ask where she wanted to go. She’d answer, “I don’t know,” and he’d say, “Ok, well, let’s have BBQ.” And she’d say, “But I don’t want BBQ.”

In his mind, it was easy. She didn’t have an answer, so he’d easily provide it. But his “solution” usually didn’t resolve the issue. Let this go on for a few more rounds of his suggestions and her rejections and all of a sudden he’s exasperated from trying to read her mind and she’s frustrated with the entire situation. {Not to mention that it’s dinner time, and they were probably both hungry to begin with!} It’s a conflict waiting to happen.

That’s why the Indecision Game is such a genius idea. He’s found a creative way to try to learn more about his wife in the moment without putting undue pressure on her. The fact that he turned it into a game makes it fun for both of them.

I also have to mention, it totally fits Lee’s analytical nature to come up a creative solution that challenges him and serves them both in the process. It turns what could be a frustrating situation into a quick and often happy resolution.

Do you and your spouse have trouble making decisions about day-to-day topics? What do you think of this idea? 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma July 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm

When picking out movies, we play “pick three.” One of us chooses three options and the other chooses between the three. We alternate who picks three and who picks the one. It works for us when we feel overwhelmed by endless options the world has to offer.


Merritt July 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I like this idea too…especially when it comes to movies. Sometimes I just trust the Husband and let him pick. Our WORST all-time pick? “Armored” (I think that was mine.) 🙁


Melissa Shipman July 10, 2012 at 5:40 am

We play a game like this, too!


Merritt July 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Is yours about dinner too?


Whitney July 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Indecision can be the death of us sometimes! Often our indecisiveness revolves around dinner and your right- its an argument waiting to happen. Inevitably we’ve waited to long to discuss and we’re both hungry. I think partially why I used to get so frustrated by this is I would only settle for an answer that he was over the moon about, which was so unrealistic. Sometimes “that sounds fine,” or “yeah, whatever that’s fine,” have to be acceptable answers. Partially the reason why he is indecisive in the first place is nothing sounds good. So there is no right answer! That’s what I was always looking for- the right answer.

As far as the game, I think in my case I would only get more frustrated haha. I think that it sounds like a great option for your friends and it works. And for other people it may work great too. We tend to solve our indecisiveness by compromise. You suggested something for dinner and it doesn’t sound totally repulsive so lets eat it type of thing. Or I don’t really feel like going to see a movie but it beats sitting on the couch so lets go see your manly action movie. It works for us 🙂


Merritt July 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Ha, ha! I totally get what you’re saying Whitney! Sometimes it’s not a decision of what sounds wonderful but rather what doesn’t sound awful! 🙂


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: