Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Teamwork Really Does Make the Dream Work

A long time ago, I realized that in order to have a healthy union, I needed to start viewing my husband as a team member and not as an opponent. I didn't get married to steal the ball from him, cause him to fumble or rip a backhand winner down the line to win the point. I married him because he's the one to block for me when someone is trying to force me to fumble and we play mixed doubles! Basically, we're in this together. We are not foes when arguments arise. We are partners who may have a differing view on something, but we keep the goal in mind. Fixing the problem makes life better for US.

I know many couples who didn't survive because they simply weren't a team. Promises were broken by some without apology. For some reason, they felt that they had more of a right to break an agreement with their partner than any random person on the street. Some just refused to changed. They accepted that they were lacking in an area, but they didn't change their behavior to fix the problem which only caused the rift to grow more. Many were just bad at communication. They were incapable of empathizing and listening to their partner's concerns because they were so focused on their own hurt. That is so disheartening to me. Two people who are both hurt who are "in love", but they can't help each other. My heart sinks when I think about that. Pain is a powerful emotion, and it keeps us from being able to move forward when we hold onto it like a life raft. The only problem is that it isn't a life raft. It's a weight that is causing us to sink.

Why am I writing about this? I mean I'm not a relationship blogger. This really is my personal blog that is public that I am using to track life events and occasionally some thoughts. This is a thought. A friend of mine sent a link to a video (Four Horsemen- John Gottman). I thought for some time about what we may be doing that is considered to be a characteristic of a "disaster" relationship and a "master" relationship. I feel shameful sometimes when I think about my behavior towards My Love early in our relationship. I am now able to recognize that those moments were the building blocks for what we have now. We're better for it, and it helps me to empathize with those who may have gone through a similar process. It makes it harder to judge someone when you know that you aren't that far removed from the behavior. We aren't "masters" of marriage, but in our five years of marriage I feel that I have what many never experience in their marriage until 10 or 20 years later. It took/takes work. The work never ends. It just means we have to keep finding fun and meaningful ways to make it not feel like work. It really doesn't feel like work when you are laughing all of the time, taking long strolls and learning more about the emotions and thoughts of your spouse, trying new restaurants, traveling to new lands, and getting tipsy and laughing your butts off about how tipsy you are. Just start to enjoy life together.

I think a big problem why spouses view each other as the opponent is that we're so afraid to face the ugly sides of ourselves. It's easier to blame and fight another than wrestle with ourselves. There are many who will proclaim that they don't mind people saying things about them because they can handle the truth. The loudest one in the crowd is probably the most sensitive one. If no one pinched you, why are you saying ouch? I had to look inward and see that there was a person there that I had become who was going to cause the demise of one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me if I didn't correct it. My marriage hasn't ever come close to having to talk about divorce. It's the worrier in me, that made me face this early on. For us, divorce is a last resort, and there has got to be something so broken that we have to recognize God didn't mean for us to be together. We speak about divorce in a awkward hypothetical sense. However, I'm aware of what causes divorce, so I need to fix whatever I need to work on to ensure that I'm doing everything to protect my marriage. The enemy can easily be in your home, and it may very well be you. Just pull out the mirror and start writing down what is getting in the way of your marriage being successful that you may be doing. Acknowledge it, accept it, and then fix it. People shouldn't be afraid to seek professional help as well. If we had cancer, we would do everything we could to eradicate the malignant cells from our bodies. We should treat our marriage the same way. There is a malignant force that is trying to take over the beautiful things that led us to marry this person. We need to do all that we can to get rid of that force. (Didn't mean to get on a soapbox....)

I'm not an expert on this thing. I'm just a married woman who's marriage has had its peaks and valleys like all. When he is weak, I am strong. When I am weak, he is strong. I just know that I've got the best QB, center, baseline player, forward, tackle, safety, kicker, and judo player on my team. He's got the same from me.

- One Half of Team Watkins