Teamwork in Marriage
How good are you and your spouse at functioning as a unit? To what extent does the concept of teamwork figure into the mechanics of your relationship? It’s a question well worth asking.
The concept of Shared Responsibilityis an important consideration for husbands and wives, and that is why it is included on Focus on the Family’s list of Twelve Traits of a Thriving Marriage. It indicates that couples with vibrant relationships resolve the issue of male and female roles in marriage through collaborative discussions about their particular skills and circumstances and use Scripture as their guide. By talking openly about their expectations and personal preferences, these folks hammer out a God-honoring plan that preserves fairness and equity in the way it divides household tasks and responsibilities. Their goal is to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and function as a team.
Time and time again we’ve seen that the most successful marriages are those where a husband and wife know how to lean on one another’s strengths. If the woman is better at finances, then she’s in charge of the budget. If the man is better at planning, he maps out family outings, vacations, and family devotions. As on a football squad, each player uses his or her talents and works with the others for the good of the whole team. If one player tries to do it all, the team suffers. If one player insists on playing a position he’s not gifted for, the same thing happens.
Here are some guidelines for making decisions that will help you and your partner work together more effectively as a smoothly functioning unit:
- Apply sound judgment. God has given the two of you rational minds and the ability to investigate. He expects you to use them in your decision making.
- List pros and cons. Sometimes seeing on paper the benefits and drawbacks of possible choices helps to put things in perspective.
- Consult God’s Word. When making a decision, study the Bible and see what God has to say on the subject specifically or in principle.
- Pray. Many couples find that if both spouses are praying about a decision, God gives them a “peace” about taking one direction over another.
- Seek wise counsel. “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Proverbs 13:10). Don’t be afraid to talk to other couples, a pastor, or a mentor about your decision. Sometimes others can see things more objectively than you can. This is especially helpful when the two of you have different points of view and can’t seem to agree or compromise.
For more information, visit Focus on the Family’s website and check out our Resource List of Marriage Materials. In particular, we highly recommend Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’s Love and Respect. This book can be ordered through Focus on the Family’s Online Store.