Marriage Monday isn’t over yet! I’m sitting on our patio having finally showered. It’s been a busy few days in a row of what I see now as some pretty great teamwork. Mark and I talked on our drive home from our weekend ministry yesterday that we’ve “come a long ways” since the early days.
I don’t remember a lot of specifics of our pre-marital counseling with Johnny and Sue but I do remember Johnny saying marriage “isn’t a 50-50 deal. It’s 100%-100%.” He challenged us that we both needed to give our all – holding nothing back and certainly not “keeping score.” You know how that works…he did the dishes last night so I’ll do them tonight. Or maybe, he mowed the yard so I’ll wash the car, tit for tat, putting the “tic marks” on the black board to keep score. You know what? Keeping score takes a lot of time and energy plus it just rarely works out the way you want it to. Even if it does, it doesn’t last long and your in a whole new game and the score keeping starts all over again.
Married life is a whole lot easier when you realize that you are on the same team. You are not competing and you are certainly not trying to make your spouse lose. Whether it’s a conversation, a home fix-it project, or just the daily chores life is simpler and much more pleasant when you recognize that you both want to achieve the same goal and then you both work toward that goal.
Next time you are frustrated with your conversation, try stopping for just a second and picture the two of you on the same team competing to win the game, together. How can you explain the play, or pass the ball so that your spouse can play with you? What can you do to rally more of team spirit? In our house it starts with believing the best about your spouse. Believing they mean well even if it isn’t coming off that way to you right now.
Over the past weekend we had a few planned meetings and several unplanned. We helped each other for the planned events by making sure we knew what time we needed to leave and both of us were ready. We asked each other if we had, and then ran through the list of what we needed as we remembered it BEFORE we left! I took notes for one of the meetings we were in realizing that it was turning into a meeting of “to dos” for Mark. He hates writing. I know that so I just started taking notes without him even asking. About 1/2 way through the meeting he looked at me and said, “are you writing this down for me?” It was fun to say, “Yep, way ahead of you Babe.”
When a couple of unexpected things came up we just worked together to get through them. I’ve learned over 32 years of marriage to listen longer. I used to interrupt sooner and more than I do now. Why? Because I would have said what Mark is saying differently. However, I’ve learned if I give him a bit more time, he usually says what I thought needed to be said and often much more than I ever thought of. As we met with a young couple rather spontaneously we just started with prayer, asked a few questions and “passed the ball back and forth” as the Lord prompted us to ask more questions or share. There was no talking over the other person to be sure we both got heard. I didn’t feel like I needed to “prove” I knew as much as Mark and I’m pretty sure he felt the same way. I think that is how a marriage relationship is supposed to be – teamwork, both of you giving your all.
“Do everything you do, heartily as unto the Lord.” – Colossians
What is an example of the last time you and your spouse really worked together?