In my last article, I cited seven characteristics of successful and happy marriages. In this writing I would like to continue with TWO more observations. I have found that how a couple allows each other “Voice” and “Vote” matters.

What Is Voice?

One of the hallmarks found in a marriage and outside of the home is the freedom to share one’s point-of –view with each other. I call this having a voice.

Sharing one’s voice includes the following:

  • Communicating personal thoughts, feelings, mood, and information about the day.
  • Sharing ideas and future hopes and desires with the other.
  • Giving countering ideas, constructive feedback, and “voicing” concerns about another’s’ words, plans, and actions.

In contrast relationships where a partner does not have a voice there can be frustration and hurt.

  • One may fear being embarrassed, disrespected, or punished by a more outspoken or dominating partner.
  • Lacking a voice, a person may feel pressured and obligated to do go against their better judgement and choices.

Both may miss out on important information and ideas that could make a difference in the quality of the conversation, the outcome and morale in the relationship.

What Is Vote?

Taking a poll or the raising of hands gives leaders and participants a good feeling about a decision that will affect a group. When everyone has their “voice” and then helps determine the direction of an organization. Most accept and are onboard with the decision. The same is true in homes and relationships. Input and influence go together in family matters.

Each person not only feels good about their contribution to the conversation, but that they have a say in the final decision. This is “vote”.

  • They feel included and respected not discounted or force into compliance in a matter.
  • They feel committed to and on-board in the family decision.
  • They will then desire to carry out the mutual decision rather than fall back and let the dominating partner go about matters alone.

Having both voice and vote in a marriage reflects good communications. When both partners are able to express themselves freely with the assurance that they will be listened to and respected for their opinion, they have a voice in the relationship. And when both parties know they have an equal say in decisions, that’s a vote. Both are needed to keep relationships healthy and whole.

Christian counselor Dr. Douglas Frey believes in Biblical principles and bringing forth God’s grace in meetings and sessions. Call or email Douglas Frey Ph.D. (952-920-2789). He is a licensed Christian counselor serving individuals and families in Eden Prairie and nearby Chanhassen, Chaska, Shakopee, Minneapolis, Edina, Minnetonka and other Western Suburbs.