Married, But Not A Team!

August 2, 2011

I never thought that it was possible to marry someone and not automatically be a team.  It frustrated me until I learned to manage my own feelings of anger and see that it happened because I was foolish enough to believe it would just effortlessly occur after we said “I do”.

The Scriptures speak of the advantages to operating in a teamwork environment, but it will take action of the part of both spouses to be a married team.

The Advantages of Companionship (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT)

9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.

As a young husband, I was eager to meet the needs of my wife and future children.  I made the mistake of creating an individual success plan that would ultimately benefit the entire family, or so I thought.

Here’s what I learned:

1.  Without the active participation of your spouse, the best plan will not be successful.  I was striving to the achievement of my personal goals each year, but she did not consider them to be team accomplishments.  Big problem!

If you are not a team, subtle competition will form between you and be divisive.  One day, I woke up to a wife who honestly believed that she had little or less value compared to me in our marriage. “How so?  I depend on you for everything honey.”

2. As the leader, it is your responsibility to affirm, support, and respect the efforts of your spouse in every given endeavor.  In today’s society, leaders are given all the public credit for the successes really obtained by the team.  You cannot change how others may treat your supporting cast, but you must find ways to give them proper recognition for all the hard work that goes on behind the scene.

Whether you love football or not, we can all learn from quarterbacks who quickly praise their offensive linemen who protected them all game long.  They realize that without their efforts, the spectacular passes that the audience adores would not have been possible.

3. Allow your spouse the opportunity to gain some leadership experience when the situation presents itself.  There is no better way to fully understand how important the TEAM is than to be the leader yourself.

I may be the head of household at home, but God gave my wife the chance to lead a young adult group at our Church and I supported her desire to do it as part of my commitment to the team as well.  A few months later, as the group took on a large fundraising project that could not be accomplished by her effort alone, it became clear that great things could only happen if the team stepped up and supported her.  She had no choice, but to rely on the team.  This experience has been beneficial to our marriage as it has deepened her understanding of being the leader.  In the same way, every husband needs his wife whether we verbally express it or not!

Challenge:  Design a united marriage success plan with your spouse!  Post it in your house as a constant reminder.  Your chances of achieving all that God has for your Christian marriage are far greater if you agree on the roadmap.

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