For some couples, the wedding has just ended and you are settling into your marriage routine. For others, you have been married for several years, you are all consumed by your kid’s activities and barely have enough time to sleep, let alone work on your relationship. But this question pertains to both sets of couples. Do you consider yourself a team?
According to a 2014 study that was highlighted in this New York Times article, most of us don’t when it comes to having a decisive marriage. We just simply slide through our marriages and the major decisions we have to make in order to feel like we feel like a team. What’s interesting about this study is that most of us have probably been on a team one way or another; from our sports teams as children to our present work teams. We have always relied on other people to get the job done and to win.
So why doesn’t it translate when we get married? The main reason is our approach. We don’t utilize the team concept when it comes to our relationships. We usually come together because the people we are marrying usually best meet our individual needs, not necessarily the best team. So when we have conflict with our partner or when that partner does something that is far too damaging, we find it’s just easier to change partners.
Even I, who have played on teams almost all of my life, found it difficult to handle arguments with my wife. The main reason was that I focused more on my needs than our needs. One of our more famous stories that my wife usually tells at parties had to deal with one of our adventures to the grocery store to buy formula for our infant daughter, Olivia, 22 years ago. Yes, it’s still fresh. We would normally buy Enfamil with Iron, but on this day, I didn’t have enough money in my wallet to buy it, so stupidly, I just bought the regular Enfamil. Well, most of you know what happened next. My wife was furious that I would put my need to keep a few extra dollars in the bank before the families’ needs of making sure our daughter was healthy and go the best. So the next day, she bought the one most expensive high chairs in the store. What did I say about this? Nothing, because I knew I wasn’t living the team first concept.
Does the lack of a team approach reflect your marriage? If so, check out the 5 phrases to remind your spouse you are indeed a team.
Keith Dent is a certified relationship coach and the author of In the Paint – How to Win at The Game of Love. If you struggling with your spouse to communicate and work as a team and you need help click here for a free assessment.