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That quote (my own) was what got me started on thinking about how my decisions impact not just myself, but those around me. In this episode, I share the 3 things that happen when you own your decisions:
Also, I share how my wife and I met, and why I hope my daughters never meet their husbands this way!
But, first, hey, let’s connect on Facebook. I’d love to hear what tips you have on living your own life better. You can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/philipkdevine and that’s Philip with one L.
I want to tell you guys real quick, my wife and I just came back from a date, I’ll put a picture up on the show notes. We went to an Italian restaurant called Vincenzo’s – I’m probably butchering that, but I think that’s how you say it – and the experience that we had there, at this restaurant in Downtown Louisville, Kentucky, really kind of hit home for me what this episode was going to be about, which is, of course, the power of your decisions.
You see, besides doing this podcast, I also – of course, as I just mentioned – I have my lovely wife. I have three children; their ages are three and a half, two, and three months. I also attend seminary part-time. And then, I also work a full-time salary job. So, as you can imagine, there is always something to do, regardless of what I think needs to be done. There’s always something that needs to get done – whether it’s something I would like to do, like this podcast, or something that needs to be done, like work or something that’s non-negotiable like family time.
And what I really had to do for this was decide what’s going to happen if I don’t record this podcast episode, or what’s going to happen if I decide not to do my homework, or what’s going to happen if I decide not to go to work. And then, as I was going through these questions, I said, “Well, wait a minute. What’s going to happen if, in the midst of all the busyness of life, I don’t take time to date my wife?” Well, that’s one decision that I made and it was one of my better decisions because my wife and I had a blast, we’re relaxed, the kids are in bed, my wife is relaxing on the couch, and I’m recording this podcast.
So, really, it was a great decision to kind of say, “You know what? It’s me and wifey time,” – that’s what I call my wife, Wifey – “And we’re going to take this time out, and even though it doesn’t feel ‘productive,’ it is probably the most important investment I can make in the midst of everything that’s going on.” Which, of course, leads me to the power of your decisions, and I’m going to frame this whole podcast on the basis of a relationship here between a man and a wife, simply because of me and my wife, I’m using my own personal life experience.
So, here’s a quote I want you to consider and just, please, take it at face value: “She’s not my wife because she’s hot; she’s hot because she’s my wife.”
Now, why do I say that? Why do I say, “Well, she’s not really attractive to me normally, but she’s attracive to me because she’s my wife”? Well, in fact, that’s not the case. She was attractive to me before she was my wife and, actually, she’s become even more attractive to me because she’s my wife, and let me tell you why: because I have decided to have eyes only for my wife. I have made the conscious decision to look at my wife in a way that I will not look at any other woman, and I’m talking about in a movie, on the computer, in a magazine, or walking around. It’s a daily decision I make, and sometimes it’s an hourly decision I make, but the main thing is I make the decision to look at my wife in a way that I will not look at other women. And you know what? It helps because my wife is attractive and she is hot – I don’t mind saying that.
So, again, that’s what I’m going to use as the foundation of this episode. But let me give you a little bit of background on how my wife and I met, and I promise this will be worth it and it’ll tie in through with the rest of this episode.
So, I was in California, in the Marine Corps, and I got voluntold – that’s correct, “voluntold” – to work at a car wash to raise money for the Marine Corps Ball which we have every year. What I had to do, of course, was work on the weekend when I’d rather be off and, in order to bring in people to the car wash, I just so happened to be doing push-ups on the sidewalk with my shirt off. I don’t know what was going on with that. I don’t know why I did that, but it happened – no shame. You know, I’m sitting here, talking to the computer, and I think I’m blushing right now. So, I hope you feel my pain here.
Anyway, I’m doing push-ups on the side of the road with my shirt off and – I’m not going to lie – I think I was okay because I was pretty jacked while I was in the Marine Corp – of course, I’m not anymore – and it just so happens that Loretta and her friend are driving by. And so, I yell at them after doing a few push-ups and say, “Hey! You guys should come get your car washed.” They say, “Okay! We’ll come back,” because the light turned green and I expected not to see them again. Well, fast forward about two hours into my car wash where I was voluntold to work and, lo and behold, Loretta and her friend pull into the car wash.
So, they get their car washed and, as they’re leaving, I tell my buddy, I say, “Hey, man. This is how you talk to a girl. This is how it works,” and I did this with the expectation of being completely shut-down. This was kind of done out of boredom. So, I walk up to Loretta’s car, and I had a shirt on by this time, by the way. So, I walk up to Loretta’s car and I say, “Hi! My name’s Philip Devine. What’s yours?” She says, “I’m Loretta,” and I say, “Do you have any plans tonight?” and she goes, “No.” And so, I used the most classic pick-up line ever – “Do you want to make some?” – and she says yes.
So, of course, the rest is history. We’ve been married five years, going on six, and I’ll also put up a picture of our wedding. But, anyway, I just wanted to give you a quick background on how I met my wife and why I will not let my daughters meet their husbands that way. I don’t care if I did it, that’s just weird if they meet their husband that way.
Anyway, on with the rest of the episode with the power of your decisions.
So, I wanted to tell you this: we need to own our decisions.
Three things happen when we own our decisions.
First thing, we’re invested in the outcome. When we own our decisions, we are invested in the outcome. Another way to say that is that we have some skin in the game. When I say that my wife is hot normally but, to me, she’s even hotter because she’s my wife, I’m invested in that decision because I’d like to see my marriage continue to grow, I’d like the relationship between my wife and I to stay strong, and, you know, five and a half years into it, I still feel like we were newly-weds. And I know that five and a half years is not very long by some standards – of course, by other standards, it’s a long time – but the point is I’m invested in what decision I make about how I view and relate to my wife.
So, again, the first thing that happens when we own our decisions is that we’re invested in the outcome.
The second thing that happens is that it reveals our motives. So, again, I’m going to refer back to my wife and i. What does it reveal about the motives that I have if I choose to look at my wife versus other women? And, again, this is just an example because it’s a personal example and it really works for me, and I hope that this’ll work for you. To me, it reveals that I care about our marriage and our relationship. What about this? Let’s say, if I decide that my wife is attractive to me, but I think there are other women that are attractive and I don’t necessarily pursue those attractions – I just indulge them, I notice them, I don’t really try to stop them – what does that show? It shows that I don’t really care about our marriage or our relationship because, you know, what we have together is unique to us and it’s something that doesn’t need to be shared with anyone else. And so, I’m just opening a can of worms by allowing myself to look at other women.
So, again, it reveals our motives when we own our decisions.
The third thing that happens is that we set the tone for the future. When we own our decisions, we set the tone for the future and what I really mean is that we set precedent. So, this is not something like it’s rocket science, you’re going to lose all the weight you want in ten days if you do this workout program – that’s not what I’m talking about. This is something where small actions over time get you the results you want.
So, here’s the deal, and I’m going to talk to the men listening right now. If you’re a man, I’m going to talk to you and about your wife. I don’t know if you find her attractive. I hope you do, but if you don’t, because I’m convinced that there are people who are married that are just unhappy, don’t find their spouses attractive, and that it happened over time. So, if something negative can happen over time, guess what? Something positive can also happen over time.
So, if you set the tone every day when you get up to say, “Good morning, babe. I love you. You look beautiful. I can’t wait to see you when I get home,” that’s going to set the tone for how you think throughout the rest of the day, for how you look at other women and other things, and then, when you come home, and that’ll set the precedent for the next day, for the next week, for the next month, for the next year, for the rest of your relationship.
So, again, owning the power of your decisions lets three things happen: it means that we’re invested in the outcome, it reveals our motives, and we set the tone.
Of course, someone’s going to ask, “Well, I don’t want to make a decision.” You know, they say, “What’s your favorite color? Red or yellow?” and you say, “You know what? I don’t have a favorite color. I’m not going to make a decision about that.” Here’s the kicker. By not making a decision, you are making a decision and, really, I’m just going to be honest here, by not owning our decisions, we’re playing victim, and that’s not something that we want.
By not deciding, we are still deciding, right? Because the simple fact that we decide not to engage in this decision or whatever it is, we are deciding. I mean, I couldn’t describe it without using the word “decide.”
So, I just wanted to throw that in there. Don’t be a victim and own your decisions, okay? If you own your decisions, you’ll be invested in the outcome, it’ll reveal your motives to you – and, if they’re wrong, then you can at least fix them; you can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s wrong – and then, it also sets the tone.
Now, how do you make decisions? I’m going to tell you four things that I generally do if there’s a decision I need to make and, of course, this doesn’t necessarily pertain to what sort of toothpaste to get when I’m at the store, but for larger decisions that impact not just me but the rest of the family. I pray through scripture and this is something that I’m going to share with you – how to pray through scripture – on another episode. But, for the time being, I’ll just say that I use scripture to pray. I also seek wise counsel from my parents, from my mentor and accountability partner. I also look at my gut – you know, what’s my gut telling me? How do I really feel about this?
And, of course, I talk to my spouse about everything. We go over the budget together. We go over any major purchases together. We go over our plans for the next day in the week together.
So, when I make a decision, I never just include me, myself, and I. You know, I pray through scripture. I ask wise people who have been there, done that, gone ahead of me, and have many more years so they can give me good advice. I do think about how I’m feeling about that decision. And, of course, I talk to my wife about it and that helps me process everything.
So, I hope that you are able to use the information I’m giving you in this episode with some decisions that you have. And, really, the main takeaway I want you to get from this is the simple fact that you have more control over your life than you think, and maybe you can’t impact what comes into your life necessarily, but you can impact your response to what happens, and that’s where the power of your decision is. If you own them, and you respond correctly to them, or at least respond appropriately – which is what I should say – then you’ll be well on your way to living your life better.
So, my question for you is this: how do you make decisions when there’s a tough decision to be made?
To comment on this episode, go to my blog at philipdevine.com/episode03.
And, finally, my next podcast topic will be on why you need your family.
I know that some of us may have dysfunctional families. I think everyone has at least some dysfunction in their family or else it wouldn’t be a family. But I want to take this next episode to encourage you to keep your family around you.
If you have a question about this topic or anything else, please leave me a voicemail message at philipdevine.com/podcastquestion. This is a great way to cross-promote your blog or website because I’ll link to it in the show notes.
Well, that’s it for this episode of Live Life Better. I’d be grateful if you would rate my podcast on iTunes – that helps tremendously with keeping my podcast visible so people who have never heard it can discover it. And, of course, if you’ve already done this, I want to say thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I really do.
Again, if you’d like to comment on this episode, please go to philipdevine.com/episode03 and go to the show notes for this episode and scroll down to the comments section. I’d love to hear from you; comment, question, or whatever.
And, lastly, I’d also love to come speak at your church or organization. To find out more about the topics I cover, and to contact me, just go to philipdevine.com/speaking.
Until next time, remember; use every day to live life better.