As college football and our NFL teams continue to play through their seasons, I’m noticing an interesting trend. Granted, this could have been around forever and I’m just now noticing it. But, regardless, it’s becoming more and more prevalent.
When a team is not playing well or loses a game, my Facebook feed blows up with posts demanding we bench the quarterback or fire the coach. At times the posts lament that the team traded some star player and feels that if this player was still on the team we would be winning. These comments seem to focus all around one player or coach as if that one person makes or breaks the team. The sad truth here is that if the entire success of the team revolved around one person, it’s not much of a team.
If I were to respond to these social media posts I’d ask why the other players or coaches are discounted in their complaints. Last I checked, there are 11 players on the football field per team and multiple coaches on the sidelines. Nothing is done in singularity on a sports team – everyone has a role to play and the roles work together each and every time the ball is snapped. Yes, one person can make a mistake, fumble the ball, miss a field goal, be penalized for yardage loss, and miss a tackle. But that one mistake doesn’t determine the entire game. There was a lot of game to be played before that mistake and all players and coaches had a say in it. The team as a whole has to do their parts to bring the team to victory or defeat. As the old adage goes . . . “there is no “I” in TEAM.”
Marriage is team-work. Two people working together to make something great. In a healthy marriage, both partners put in equal effort in loving and serving the other. I’ve seen this in action (and I’m living it now) – it’s a truly beautiful thing. In an unhealthy marriage there could be one spouse putting in most of the effort and the other spouse very little effort. Or, in very unhealthy relationships you see both parties not putting in much effort at all. In every case, though, the failure or success of a relationship, and how healthy that relationship is, doesn’t teeter on one person alone – it depends on BOTH husband and wife!
A big mistake we make in marriage is blaming one spouse for things not going well. In the midst of an argument it is rarely ever one person’s fault – it takes TWO people to have a conversation. It’s so easy to blame our spouse instead of looking at how we could have handled the situation differently. Self awareness and good communication skills (goes a long way to help us cultivate healthy marriages.
Self Awareness & Good Communication:
- Dial back the defensiveness – remember that the words coming out of your spouses mouth are just words, information. Don’t try to read in anything other than what they are saying.
- Give benefit of the doubt – recognize when you are beginning to feel offended, angry, hurt, or frustrated. Stop and remind yourself to assume the best about what they are saying to you. In most cases your spouse, who loves you the most, would never try to intentionally hurt you. If you’re feeling hurt then it could be due to assumptions YOU are making and not what they are actually saying.
- Ask questions – If you are unclear about what they are saying to you, ask for clarification. In most cases you’ll find that you misunderstood. Most arguments come out of misunderstandings.
- Be on each others team, not on competing teams – when discussing an external issue, try to find a way to be on the same team to tackle it . . . even if you disagree on the method of solving the issue. Remember, it’s the two of you against the issue – not against each other. If you change your mindset to remember this team concept, then you’ll find your resolution faster and without hurt feelings.
So we should ask ourselves daily: How are we being a good team today? In this situation or argument? In difficult times?
Our spouse is never our enemy. We should remember that we are on the same team and the success of our team depends on each of us doing our part. We will lose some battles and our team may even weaken at times. But, if we are intentional about keeping things strong, then we will win in marriage every single time.