The other day I was talking to Jay Dee from Uncovering Intimacy. We were chatting about our passion behind writing marriage blogs. Both of us have encountered plenty of people that are hurting in their marriages.
One of the biggest problems I think we face in marriage is that we don’t work together as a team. I’m quoting Jay Dee here because he said it perfectly, “Marriage has turned into a battleground, not them against the world, but each against the other spouse.”
Develop a Team Mentality
Around here, we have a buzz phrase, “Go Team Reason”. Austin will say that to me when we go from working together to working against each other. Believe me, that happens pretty often.
When you are married, you and your spouse are one. The Bible says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”, Ephesians 5:31. The day you say your vows is the day you join the same team.
Think of your marriage as playing on the same sports team together. What does that look like in a relationship? First, you have a common goal that you are trying to reach, and the only way to get there is together.
Another part of being a team is giving encouragement to other players. There are times when you have to sit on the sidelines and just be an encouragement to your loved one. Just because you aren’t making the play doesn’t mean you aren’t an important part of what is going on.
You can try to reach the goal on your own, but that is not how God created us to be. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”.
He didn’t intend us to go it alone. If you are married, He gave you a solid partner to do life with.
Does This Mean We Can’t Argue?
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever argue with your spouse. In fact, healthy marriages have arguments and heated discussions. A lack of arguing can be a sign that you and your spouse are not addressing issues. Every relationship has issues that needs to be worked through.
What I am saying is that your heated debates and discussions should have a purpose, and that purpose shouldn’t be to win. Teams don’t win against each other. Your conversations should be to help the other person understand where you are coming from.
Sometimes, conversations turn to arguments. Again, nothing wrong with arguing as long as you are not throwing hurtful comments in there. You aren’t trying to take your partner down, but help them understand where you are coming from.
Your Spouse is Not the Enemy
It is really important to remember that your spouse is not the enemy. That doesn’t mean you haven’t turned them into the enemy in your mind or vice versa.
When you identify someone as the enemy, where is the love? Even the best of us have a hard time loving people that we think are against us. Turning your spouse into the enemy is a sure fire way to start hating them and stop loving them.
How Do I Stop Seeing Them as The Enemy?
If you and your partner are working against each other and not with one another, then you need to change your way of thinking.
Ephesians 4:2 says “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”. This verse strikes to the heart of the matter for most.
First of all, we aren’t always nice to our spouse are we? If we feel attacked, then we tend to lash out. Even if our loved one didn’t mean to say something that hurt our feelings, we strike back with unkind words.
Being tenderhearted is another big problem when we see someone as the enemy. Tenderhearted is when you are gentle, kind, or sentimental towards someone.
Probably the hardest thing to do is to forgive our loved one. When your partner hurts you, they really cut deep. These are usually some of the deepest wounds we suffer. Forgiveness seems impossible when we are standing there with a gaping hole.
You must commit to being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving towards your partner.
Agree to Work Together
It is also important to have a conversation with your loved one about working together as a team. Austin and I have had plenty of conversations about being on the same team. It is something we have agreed to do.
Like I said early on, when we are at odds against each other, we use the buzz word so that we can remind the other person of our agreement. This is one of those intentional conversations you have to have.
In fact, you’ll probably have to have it more than once. I know we have this conversation every few months at least. It seems to take that long before we stop working together and start working against each other.
Work on Issues as a Team
We all have issues in our marriages. When you stop fighting against each other on the issues and start working together, real solutions can be found. It will take time and lots of practice.
Think about the sports team idea again. They get together, formulate a game plan and then put it to work. When they get into a real game, they know how to execute the plan because they worked it out ahead of time. That is how you have to do it with your marriage.