I have always been fascinated by watching the teamwork of rowing. At first glance, it doesn’t look all that impressive watching eight people sitting on their “rears” going backward. However, the alignment, synchrony and precision of all eight blades hitting the water at the exact same time flawlessly is pretty impressive as they glide across the water.
It’s the perfect example of the acronym T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More). Imagine if we could get that same alignment, teamwork and synergy in our marriage, relationships or with our families as a whole. Unfortunately for many couples, what started out as the “ideal” turns into an “ordeal” simply because they have a difficult time seeing eye to eye and getting on the same page with the little things. These little disagreements (misalignment) can quickly escalate into becoming big issues that divide and derail marriages.
The decisions you need to make as a couple, whether it’s agreeing on who is going to clean the house, how to discipline the kids, handle the finances, set boundaries with the in-laws, or who helps the kids with their homework, etc. are endless when it comes to dividing and conquering the many roles and responsibilities within the marriage relationship.
There are several factors that shape our attitudes, perspectives and expectations that can cause couples to feel like they are on two completely different pages or rowing in opposite directions:
Who did what in your home growing up.
It’s easy to transfer those same expectations into our own marriage.
What popular culture portrays through TV, movies, and social media.
In today’s ever-changing world, emerging trends within today’s culture are redefining who does what and how things get done.
It’s easy to compare and expect our spouse to do more of what our friends do and how they do it.
While there can be many “good things” or “best practices,” we can learn from all of the above that benefit our marriage relationship; it is still important to discuss openly how you will agree to work together as a team in your marriage and home.
The question is, “How does a couple get on the same page?” Let me suggest several ways to do that.
- Think Who Before Do.
At some point, a couple needs to decide this is how “we” want to do things. Make a list of things that are important to you. Title it, “This is what is important to us,” or “This is who we want to become” as a couple or family. Knowing what is important to each of you individually will help you decide how to integrate your values collectively as a couple and family to ensure you get on the same page.
- We Is Greater Than Me.
It’s not about “me.” It’s about “us.” It’s about serving one another and putting the needs of your spouse before your own. This is called “sacrificial love.” The more you are willing to serve each other and do what is ultimately best for the marriage and family, the faster you will move from where you are to where you desire to be as a couple.
- Agree to Disagree.
Because everyone is wired differently, comes from different backgrounds, and sees things from their own unique perspectives, we will always have differing opinions as to who does what or how things should be done. However, when you think “who before do” and embrace the belief that “we is greater than me,” it gives room to disagree on some things without it destroying your marriage because you are determined to not let anything stand in your way of “who” you are striving to become as a couple.
It’s also important to allow each spouse to do what they do best and support and affirm each other’s strengths. Knowing and understanding each other’s strengths, weaknesses, personalities, goals and dreams will allow you to fight for your marriage and fight for each other because you have agreed upon who you want to become and the destination of where you want to go in your marriage and family. As the old saying goes, it takes teamwork to make the dream work.
Rodney Gage is a family coach, author, speaker and the founding pastor of ReThink Life Church that meets at Lake Nona High School. His passion is to help families stop drifting and start living with greater intention. To learn more, check out familyshift.com and rethinklife.com.