I’m taking a break from my usual light-hearted posts to talk about a very important aspect of any healthy marriage. Team work. You and your spouse are working as team to keep your marriage happy and healthy. There are inevitably going to times along the way where working as a team is easier said than done. One of those times being when a big life decision must be made. These are the times where it is more important than ever to work together as selfless partners.
What made me think of this topic is a big decision that Branden and I recently had to make. Upon entering his 4th year of medical school, we had to make a decision about where he would apply for residency. Did we want to stay local and close to our families? Or did we want to take the opportunity to live somewhere else for a few years? Our individual answers to these questions often differed, making for some difficult conversations. When you’re talking about a decision that will affect the course of your life, it’s certainly not something to be taken lightly. And you want to ensure that you fall on a decision that you are both on board with, or else it will turn into resentment later on.
While I am certainly no expert on this, I do want to share my thoughts and opinions about how to ensure that you are working as team with your spouse when important and difficult decisions need to be made. Here are a few tips that I have found to be beneficial and important.
Treat your marriage as a 3rd entity. Whenever I find that Branden and I are having a hard time working as a team in our marriage, I like to change my mindset to viewing the marriage as it’s own separate entity. Instead of it being me vs Branden, it’s actually me and Branden working together to nurture and grow this 3rd entity. It’s our job to make sure our marriage is healthy and growing. So when I change my mindset to think about what is best for the marriage as opposed to what is best for myself, it gives me perspective and helps me to be selfless.
You marriage gets top priority. Going off of the last point, when you hit a roadblock where you can’t seem to come to a mutual agreement, it’s best to take a step back and think solely about what’s best for your marriage. Set aside what your own personal opinions are on the matter, and instead think about what decision would best benefit your marriage. This turns the conversation from being a battle where it’s every man for himself, to being a team working together towards a common goal.
Be willing to make sacrifices. There will certainly be some situations where the final decision that is made may not be in your favor. It’s important that you not only be willing to make these sacrifices when necessary, but also that you be willing to make them without any strings attached. If you go along with a decision that you don’t like just because you feel like you have to, then you will carry around a bitterness that will grow into resentment and poison your marriage over time. You have to know deep down that this sacrifice you are making is for the greater good and your spouse is not to blame.
It’s not what you say, but the way you say it. This one is quite obvious, but the importance of it can be easily overlooked. When having a tough conversation with your spouse where emotions are high, you cannot underestimate the importance of your tone and the words you use to get your point across. If there is anger and hostility in your voice, your spouse is only going to feel attacked and won’t hear a word you’re saying. But if you make that exact same point with a gentle and caring tone, your spouse will actually hear what you are saying making for a much more productive conversation where no one’s feelings get hurt.
I feel like there is so much more that could be said about this topic, but I think these are the most important points that stand out to me. These principles have really helped us to come to a mutual agreement on tough decisions and get through any tense situation, really. In the end, it’s just important that you always view each other as your partner and not as your enemy, even if it feels that way. Your marriage is a sacred journey that you and your spouse have entered into together with the commitment of always tending to it and putting it first!
Ok, end sappy post. Wishing you all beautiful and happy marriages!!