by Sandy Domelle
It has been said that there is no “I” in team. A team that is going to be successful must take out the “I” so they can win. When we get married, we become a team. It is not about “I” or “me,” but for a happy and successful marriage it becomes “us” or “we.” The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” We notice in this verse that in order to have peace there must be one mind. That means that if we want peace in our marriages, us and our spouses must have one mind about everything that we do. God further expresses this truth in Philippians 2:2-3 when He says, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Notice again that to be of one mind we cannot make our marriages about ourselves only; instead, we both must form a team.
Here are several areas we can work on so that our marriages can be a team.
When we talk, we should say, “we” and not “I.”
We should always think of ourselves and our spouses as being one unit as a couple and not as individuals. This mentality makes us stop to be more deliberate in what we are saying and also makes us more selective in what we will say. When we got married, we became a team. I serve my husband, but he in return serves me. We watch out for each other, meet each other’s needs, encourage each other, etc. In so doing, our bond is made stronger and we do think of each other as a team in marriage, parenting, the Christian life, etc.
We must understand the roles of authority.
A team will never be of one mind when everyone is vying for the top position. In order for a team to be successful, each person on the team needs to understand his role. Likewise, for a marriage to be of one mind, each spouse needs to understand his or her role of authority in the home and fulfill that role.
We must be willing to give in so we can be of one mind.
Let us face it: we will not always agree with our spouses. In order to be of one mind, we must be willing to give in so that one mind may prevail. Yes, that may mean that we may not get our way, but it will make our marriages happier if we will learn to let one mind prevail when there is disagreement.
We should separate duties so we can be of one mind.
The duties in the home can be divided up into several different categories. Once we divide the duties in the home, we can then decide who will be in charge of each area. For instance, the wife can be in charge of home decorations while the husband can be in charge of the outside appearance. One spouse can be in charge of the finances while the other spouse may be in charge of the schedule of family activities. If we are not in charge of a specific area, we need to be sure to follow our spouses in that area so that we are of one mind. If we start meddling in an area that is not ours then we will cause our homes not to have one mind.
We must submit to each other so we can be of one mind.
We will never achieve being of one mind unless each spouse decides to submit to the other. Submission means to give in when we do not want to do something and have the power to not do it. For the sake of being of one mind, each spouse needs to be willing to submit to the other. When each spouse is willing to submit, they will not have any selfish attitudes that cause arguments with each other.
We should always talk highly of our spouses!
Nothing is more disheartening to me than being around other ladies who constantly denigrate their husbands. When we got married, we thought our husbands could do no wrong. They were, and still should be, the most wonderful men in the world, and those whom we would follow to the end of the world. There comes a time in marriage when it is easy to become comfortable in who we are and we start changing the way we do things. We once followed, but now we push to lead. We were once submissive, but now we demand. We once could not say enough about how hard our husbands work and provide for us and our family; now he cannot seem to ever do anything to please us. If this is the case, we need to step back and reevaluate things in our marriages. We must make it the utmost priority to start praying and working at getting things back on track. Am I saying we will agree with our spouses 100% of the time? No! We each think differently, but the more we work as a team and become “we” and not just “I,” the more we think alike and are less self-centered. We must not divulge to our relatives and close friends all the things we hate that our husbands do. They do not need to know our “family dirt.” We do not need to tell them the things with which we disagree. I find often that when I disagree with my husband it is something that “I” selfishly want, and it is not something that “we” as a couple need. If we married Prince Charming and he could do no wrong, we must work to keep him Prince Charming not just in our eyes, but also in the eyes of those around us. The more we focus on the positives in life, the more we talk about them and go forward. If we dwell on the negatives, our lives have no purpose.
We must agree on all parenting issues together in private before making a decision.
It is very unsettling to me to hear of parents who make decisions based on what their children want. I grew up in a family that was preparing to go the mission field. As an almost sixteen-year-old girl, I cannot explain how many people told my parents that they were foolish in taking me to the mission field. They felt that my parents should wait until I was out of my teenage years and then go. God’s will for my parents’ lives was not based on my age. God’s will for their lives was based on God’s will for my life as well. Thank the Lord that I had parents who did not come and ask their children what they wanted, but privately made decisions based on God’s will and followed through.
Many people hesitate to do God’s will because of teenage children. Do they realize that they are robbing them of God’s richest blessings and rewards? Going to the Philippines as a teenage girl transformed my life. I do not regret for a moment that my parents took me to the mission field. What I learned in those years molded me to be who I am today. I am so thankful that my parents did not come and ask me if I wanted to go. I was told we were going, and it was the next step in life. Children are too young to know what is best for them. That is why God provided them with parents. When God calls us to go and to serve, there is never a stipulation on it. When God has a will for our lives and we put it on hold, we are teaching our children that when tough things come up and they do not want to do it, or they have uncertainty and are fearful, they can just put it on hold. God’s greatest rewards come from following God’s will and going forward, not by allowing others to change God’s will for us.
We must be of one mind concerning our standards and convictions for our homes.
As a team, we both need to teach standards to our children. We need to make sure we are personally following these guidelines, and both parents must be enforcing them.
We must be of one mind concerning our finances.
It is very important to have sound finances to keep our marriages happy. One of the main causes of marital strife and divorce is finances. To keep our finances sound, we and our spouses need to have one mind about how to handle the finances. It is not a healthy team if one team member is a spender and the other is a saver. Both must work as a team to properly use the finances so that they are not always digging themselves out of a hole. If we are of one mind with our finances, we have a better chance of being financially successful.
No one ever stumbles upon a happy marriage. To have a happy marriage, the husband and wife must decide to be of one mind. Taking the “I” out of the marriage will help to create a team that works together and to create the happy marriage that God intended to bring honor to His name.