My husband and I had been married ten years when I fell in love with him all over again.
I was sitting at Highly Favored, a ladies conference in Odessa, TX, listening to Sis. Kim Haney speak. As she told a story that briefly included her husband, I could sense the love and warmth she felt toward him. As I sat there, a realization fell on me: I know how she feels. . . . I feel the same way about Josh.
Though I’d never questioned my love for my husband, this was such a sudden, unexpected moment. Right there, separated from my husband by 300 miles and 4-1/2 hours, a deep love and appreciation for him swept over me. It lingered the entire weekend and stayed with me for days after I got back home.
Though I generally recognize the gem I have in Josh, the reality of marriage is that we can easily come to take our spouse for granted—and it’s common for us to even begin focusing more on the negatives of their personality than the many positives.
As Josh and I put over a decade of marriage behind us, I find myself contemplating what makes a good marriage. There are so many factors to consider, but today I’m focusing on one that, until recently, I hadn’t thought about much: the importance of having a sense of team.
One definition of “teamwork” is that it’s the combined action of a group (or a couple), especially when that action is effective and efficient.
A couple who has a strong sense of being a team—both in physical and spiritual matters—will find it a great asset to their marriage.
In her book Sacred Privilege (which I totally recommend!), Kay Warren says, “As you work together as a team—sharing common goals and deep communication—you will grow in oneness and intimacy.”
So how can you become closer to your husband through the concept of team? Here are a few ideas:
1. Be supportive.
Support your husband in prayer, in words of encouragement, and in having a positive attitude.
How often does your spouse have an idea, and you try to “bring him back down to earth”? (Guilty!)
While there’s a time and place for caution, as supportive spouses, we should train ourselves to curb automatic responses of discouragement or negativity when our husbands share their dreams and ideas.
Know that I’m not saying you should pretend to be in favor of something you’re not, or that you have to agree with everything your spouse says or does. You can practice having a listening ear and a supportive tongue without being flaky or a pushover.
Knowing that you believe in him will be a huge blessing to your husband and will foster a sense of team for both of you–versus the friction of working against each other.
2. Realize that life isn’t all about your personal ambitions.
Sad to say, it took years for this to sink in for me.
I grew up believing that I could do or be anything I wanted if I just put my mind to it—and there are aspects of that kind of confidence that are good. But before I was out of my teens, my dreams had become idols in my life.
It took me almost a decade to surrender my dreams to God and start building common goals with my husband. And I can truly say the process of working in unity with him has been a much more rewarding and exciting experience than focusing on personal goals motivated by pride.
I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t have personal goals. It’s just important to realize that a marriage is a team, and in the best teams, the players share common goals.
As the cliché goes, there’s no “I” in team. It’s not about me, it’s about us.
3. Nurture your common interests.
If you and your spouse are ministry-minded, that can be such a fun way to connect and cultivate a sense of team.
My husband and I both grew up in church in ministry-minded families. The natural result is that our lives revolve around God, our community, and our church. We love working together for our church and for the youth in our section, and the more we do in these arenas, the more connected to each other we feel.
We are a team, and that’s a wonderful feeling.
The Bible says that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. We often think of this in terms of money—that wherever we invest our money is where our heart will take root.
While that’s true, it’s also true that wherever you invest your marital time and energy will be where the heart of your marriage will begin to beat and take root. It’s important that that be a place of security, stability, wholesomeness, and health.
What if you and your husband aren’t heavily involved in your local church—or you have an unbelieving spouse? I still believe that in the best marriages, couples embrace common ground, good causes, and healthy goals–and those goals and causes don’t have to be directly related to a church.
“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:7-9 ESV).
Though the concepts of “team” and “teamwork” in marriage should be a given, I think this is an area we sometimes sell short. Many marriages fall into a “he-versus-me” trap, or spouses become so entangled in their personal dreams that they end up drifting miles away from each other emotionally.
A thriving team has a strong sense of unity, which is God’s plan for marriage—oneness in heart and spirit.