This little phrase entered my life during a marriage seminar my husband and I attended shortly after we married. Not much else from that seminar stuck with me, but I believe I got my money’s worth in just hearing those five words.
To the best of my memory, the story went something like this: The wife planted a beautiful strawberry patch in their backyard. She loved it and labored in it. In an effort to be helpful, her husband weeded her garden one day as a surprise . . . only to pull up all of the strawberry plants instead of the weeds. The wife shared how she was angry, how she wanted to yell and scream, how she wanted to let him know how stupid he was for not being able to tell the difference between a strawberry plant and a weed. But it struck her that they were on the same team. They shared the same goal – a happy marriage, and a beautiful garden of strawberries. So together, they went back outside and replanted all of the plants.
I can’t tell you how many times that phrase has come back to me when it comes to my marriage. We’re on the same team. Both of us desire to serve God and glorify him in our marriage. We both want a happy, peaceful, loving marriage. We each want to love and be loved, feel safe when we’re with each other, and grow deeper together. Competition has no place in our marriage and is counterproductive. And yet, that’s what I seem to do. Compete to see who is smarter. Compete to see who is right . . . and who is right more often. Compete to see who is the better parent. Compete, compete, compete. How does it help “the team” to put my teammate down or point out all the ways in which he is wrong – or worse, stupid? I’d be better off encouraging him, loving him, praising him, and being excited that he’s on my team. I should spend my time figuring out how we are going to accomplish our goals, as opposed to wallowing in frustration about not reaching them (and figuring out who’s at fault for it). I have to get my eyes off of my self and on the end game, setting aside my pride or my “rights” (what are those really, anyway?) for the sake of the team. We two individuals became one team when we got married.
So, my first encounter with this phrase “We’re on the same team” related to marriage, and I’m still working on making that practical and real. That simple shift in viewpoint, however, has saved countless arguments and wasted time.
How about you? Do you have any particular phrase that has affected the way you interact and view marriage?