Have you ever felt like you and your spouse were on two sides of the battlefield trying to wage war with one another? Maybe you raised your voice to emphasise a point and your spouse raised his or her voice right back (or retreated to another room). Perhaps you nitpicked one another endlessly to show how the other could do it better, differently, or more like you. Maybe you’ve been thinking your spouse gets to go have all the fun and you are stuck having to watch the kids.
There are probably countless scenarios in which you might feel that you and your spouse are not on the same page and in fact playing against each other in the “game” of love, relationship or life. If you find yourself in competition with your spouse on a regular basis, it probably leaves you feeling pretty discouraged and weary.
It just isn’t any fun to be going against someone with whom you desire, or at least at one time desired, to be on your side. After all, the purpose of marriage has never been about competition with one another. Unity is the goal of marriage. Not sameness where we look, think, act, and believe all the same things. Sameness leads to one person being unnecessary. Both of you are important to your team and your team is important to your children and those around you.
A marriage with two people who feel like they are enemies of one another is not a safe or fun marriage. Here are some ways on how you can break that competitive cycle:
Remember that you are on the same team.
I’ve got your back, honey.
Commit to playing cooperatively versus competitively. Truth is, if you go looking for evidence that your spouse is your enemy, you will find it. However, if you want to see your marriage as a team effort, then start looking for evidence that it could be. The most successful marriages are those where a husband and wife learn how to function as a team and lean on one another’s strengths. If the wife is better at finances, she can be in charge of the budget. If the husband is better at planning, he can map out family outings and vacations.
Embrace differences and let them be growth opportunities.
Talk it out and understand each other better.
Would you be willing to embrace and even value the way that person differs from you? You might experience your spouse in a whole new way if you do. Differences can be a great source of frustration, but this is precisely why they can be growth opportunities if you are willing to view them as such. When husband and wife differ, each gets a chance to grow in their ability to manage frustration and embrace someone who is different from them.
Make the extra effort.
A happy relationship requires effort and work.
Do you realise that teammates become really good at what they do? They work tirelessly to practice and hone their skills individually while also learning how to fit into the team. Are you willing to commit to that? Are you willing to put the effort into running the race (marathon) of your marriage to the best of your ability regardless of how the other runner performs?
A marriage is living and growing, and cannot be kept alive by just one person alone. Winning in marriage is not tough, as long as both husband and wife work as a team towards a common goal – keeping the marriage vow and keeping it strong. Don’t forget, your spouse is your teammate for a successful relationship.
Do you have any other tips on being a team player in marriage? Please feel free to share them with us!
Used with permission from Focus on the Family Singapore. For more information on family life resources and workshops, visit www.family.org.sg.
Copyright © 2015 Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.