Fostering teamwork in marriage
Marriages suffer when husbands and wives don’t see each other as playing by the same team rules. The challenge is that everyone received their training in different families of origin. How can we find the best game strategy for us to win together as husband and wife, rather than dispute and judge one another over whose ways are better?
We all unknowingly bring the rules of engagement set by our old “team managers”, our parents, into our marriages. We may no longer physically live with them, but our observations of their marriage over many years will inadvertently continue to live in our minds and influence our views on marriage and our spouse, whether positively or negatively.
Even if our parents had great marriages and we would like to emulate their success, we would still be basing our standards upon human ones, rather than the Bible. Avoiding our parents’ mistakes does not necessarily mean that we will always make the best decisions either.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to welcome God as our true Team Manager in marriage. We are called to play by His rules. Only God can truly align our hearts with one another. This alignment may not happen immediately, especially when we still have our “old team rules” deeply imprinted in our minds, but as long as we submit to God, we will move in the same direction as our spouses and our journey together will be smoother and much more enjoyable.
John 3:30 ESV He must increase, but I must decrease.”
10 questions to foster deeper understanding
It is always helpful for husbands and wives to seek to lovingly understand one another. Here are 10 questions that we can work on individually and then come together to find greater understanding and alignment within our marriage.
Proverbs 4:7 ESV The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.
|1.||Please use 3 to 5 words to describe your parents’ marriage.|
|2.||What “lessons” did you learn about marriage by observing them? What mistakes do you want to avoid? What aspects do you wish to model after them?|
|3.||Please use 3 to 5 words to describe your expectations of your spouse.|
|4.||Next, list another 3 to 5 words to describe the expectations of your own marriage in general.|
|5.||Where possible, please find Bible verses to support your lists of expectations from the two questions above. Are your expectations based on God’s Word?|
|6.||Name your spouse’s top two to three fears or trigger points (without consulting him/her). Where do these originally originate from?|
|7.||How have your spouse’s fears, trigger points, and past experiences unintentionally affected your marriage?|
|8.||What inner judgements do you find yourself making about your spouse? eg. He doesn’t care / she doesn’t understand or respect me / she is always … / he is never … etc.|
|9.||What experiences from your past have led you to uphold certain values that you now also expect your spouse to meet? Are these values based on God’s Word?|
|10.||Finally, look at how your own expectations and past experiences have affected your attitude towards your spouse. How do these stop you from being a better team player in marriage? Is there anything you need to repent of to God?|
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