Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Being A Decider

I don't recall having attended an Upper East Side dinner party in the last week; I'm awfully busy, you know, but I just don't think so. So I missed the latest round of dinner chatter until today's NYT:
When President George W. Bush referred to himself as "the decider" last week, there was the ensuing list of dinner party queries: Is "decider" an actual word? (It is.) Is it applicable in the world of presidential politics? (Sure, whatever.) Doesn't everyone, politics aside, secretly believe that in interpersonal dealings, he or she wears the "decider" badge?
The article natters on about which member of a couple does the deciding, as if reporter Jennifer Steinhauer were actually plowing new ground. A guy decides it's time to leave one of those dinner parties. The gal's not sure. He declares himself the decider. A woman says she picked the Audi but her husband cut the deal. Fascinating.

Disclaimer: I'm a decider, but 'm rarely comfortable in the role, so I like to share the responsibility with my wife. She is to her bones a traditionalist -- not the Laura Ashley print kind of traditionalist, but the kind who, when asked in first grade what she wanted to be when she grew up, said, "A mommy!" Blessed with intuition, common sense and smarts, she's a great decider, but she naturally deferrs to me. I have to convince her to be the decider, then convince her again that she was, actually the decider.

Now, to a point and a story:

The president of the U.S. has astonishing powers. One word in an entirely different context -- he was talking about who decides whether Rumsfeld stays -- and he's triggered a national discussion. (Well, national, but not inclusive. Steinhauer didn't include a gay couple!) If Bush can decide the national topic du jour without even trying, I'd say he is more than a mere decider; he is Decider in Chief.

Now, the story.
A good friend of mine from church was recently at his grandparent's 60th anniversary. The guy's marriage was going through a rough patch, so he thought to seek the counsel of someone older and wiser, and asked his granddad the secret of their successful marriage.

"I let her make the little decisions, but I make all the big ones," gramps replied.

That seemed like a good idea, so he thanked his granddad, congratulated him again, and went back to the party, musing over the answer. After a bit, it hit him that he didn't understand the anwer at all, so he sought out his granddad.

"Granddad, how did you decide when it was a big matter that you had to be responsible for?" he asked.

"It hasn't happened yet, but I'll let you know just as soon as one comes along," the grandfather replied with a wink.
So, would I make it on the NY dinner scene with that? Maybe. But I'd flop when I said what I really believe: God puts couples together to complement each other and be partners, and important decisions require talk and prayer.

hat-tip: memeorandum
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