10 Steps to Building Teamwork in Your Marriage

By Karen Bonasso

As my husband and I have sat in marriage counseling sessions with young couples, I would listen to them present “their side” to the issues at hand. It was often obvious to me that they were approaching life together as a Tug-of War game and they weren’t on the same side! There were also many times when I would sit with wives and have to remind them that their husband was not the enemy even though they perceived his actions as antagonistic to their wellbeing. I’m sure the husband had similar feelings. With these prevailing attitudes the answers to a couple’s problems would be difficult to advise, not because the problems were so complex but because the married couple could not work together to solve them.

The married couple that can work as a team is one that can face the challenges of life and win. It’s not how smart or skilled or talented each individual is; nor how many strengths or how few weaknesses each has. It’s whether or not they can huddle up and come up with a game plan to work as a team utilizing both individual’s unique strengths and protecting the weaknesses. This takes respect and trust from both the husband and the wife and a few pointers on how to build teamwork into your marriage.

1. Attack the problem not each other. Remember you are on the same side!

2. Admit when neither one of you has the experience or the knowledge to know how to get the game plan. Seek advice - together if possible. You may need a coach!

3. Realize that solutions to problems sometimes take time and consistency. Learn how to tag team so neither one of you wears out.

4. Communicate as you navigate the unexpected variables that may arise while you’re working your game plan.

5. Once you agree on the plan write it down so you both can remember what was decided. This is especially important when finances are concerned. No matter how young you are, memory can be unclear in the midst of difficulty.

6. Be vocal with praise when a good job is being done and encourage each other when endurance is necessary for success. Remember your teammate needs it!

7. Be honest. If you didn’t or can’t do your part, talk about it with your partner. It’s not about perfection; it’s about living life together and helping each other. The best teammates know each other’s strengths and weaknesses well.

8. Trust each other to carry out their responsibility in the solution and let each carry it out in their own way. Expect that he/she will not do it like you would. This is key to not being sidetracked into a “sideline fight”.

9. Make love. This is a great tension reliever and helps to keep you, as a couple, focused on the fact that you may be team members in the game of life but you are lovers above all else. It reminds you that you really do like your teammate!

10. Pray together to ask for God’s guidance and strength. Be aware that there is an enemy that does not want you to succeed as a team. Spiritual unity is very important to an outcome of victory.

In conclusion, remember as a married couple you are a team. The marriage relationship has the potential to be the smoothest working team in life. The best teams are made up of teammates who like and appreciate each other. When an attitude of teamwork prevails, problems become possibilities to build a great marriage. And don’t forget to celebrate your victories together before the next game!

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