Marriage is a three-legged stool. The wife is one leg; the husband is another; and the marriage is the third. God sits on the stool and the children sit on His lap. The secret to a blessed, joyful family is to keep the three legs of the stool even and strong.
When husband and wife agree or can compromise, there’s no problem. But sometimes issues come up where there simply is no compromise. It’s gotta be either his way or her way. That is when you must not fall into thinking marriage is 50-50, that’s it’s just about husband and wife or husband vs. wife.
The third leg matters. Give it a vote. Consider which of the two choices are best for the whole marriage, including God and the kids. Sometimes the right decision will come clear and the partner who doesn’t get his/her choice can more easily accept losing without resentment.
But when you cannot work through it on your own, decide jointly on an impartial, but Godly arbiter. It doesn’t need to be a minister, but that’s often the best choice. The important thing is that you agree together beforehand that you both trust this person to hear both sides and cast the deciding vote for the marriage.
Dearest and I have had a few deal-breaking level issues in our 35 years. One time, we picked a priest, another a marriage counselor, and a third time, we went to a financial counselor. The key thing was that we both agreed that we each had only 1/3 – not 1/2 – stake in the marriage and that this person would be the one to cast the tie-breaking third vote on behalf of the marriage itself.