Are you and your husband a team in your marriage?
We’ve been talking a lot this week about teamwork in marriage–and about how important it is to divide household chores wisely, and to make sure that everyone feels respected.
I thought today, for a simple Marriage Musing before Mother’s Day next week, I would ask how we can feel like we’re a team.
Sheila’s Marriage Musings: What Does Teamwork in Marriage Look Like?
Blogger and author Kim Hall was sharing online recently about the best marriage advice she’d ever received in her thirty-one years with her husband, which didn’t set out to be marriage advice at all. It was something she had overheard at a county fair years ago as she watched two large draft horses pull a sled. Kim writes,
I heard a little boy ask his grandfather how the horses knew what to do. The weathered farmer replied that in order for the gentle giants to do their work on the farm, they had to learn about harnessing the power of two. He continued, sharing that the horses were trained to pull in unison and were immediately stopped if they strained unequally against the yoke. The danger of them going their own way meant that not only would the work not get done, but if they physically fought the constraints of the yoke, there was also a great risk of injury to everyone.
The horses had to pull in the same direction. A load shared, though, was a load much lightened.
When we hear that analogy, we often picture two horses: one trying to go left, and one turning to go right. When they both strain to go in the same direction, things go smoothly. When they pull in opposite directions, disaster strikes.
In seeing the analogy that way, I think we are only seeing half the picture. The danger is not only that the horses may strain in opposite directions; the danger is also that one horse will strain to go forward, and one will stand stock-still, waiting for the other to do all the work. Teamwork works only when both are active.
In marriage, there are two ways to be passive. One is simply rely on the other to do the work, and not to do your share. We talked about that a lot this week in regards to housework. But the other way is simply to be super passive, saying, “We can do it your way,” without coming to a true agreement in unity of thought and purpose. That will not harness the power of two, either. It will leave one straining and breathless and one dragging behind.
The glory of marriage is that you have two people, with two individual wills, two sets of gifts and two sets of talents who can join together and make something better than the sum of its parts. But that only works if we give it our all.
Teamwork doesn’t work if you never express your opinion, because then the team is missing out on your wisdom. Teamwork doesn’t work if you’re always waiting for someone else to lead, because then when one person is tired or discouraged, they can’t lay back and rest for a while.
Sharing the load means that you will have hard conversations.
It means that sometimes things will be messy. But those messy periods are necessary so that you can truly harness the power of two and make use of everyone’s gifts.
This Mother’s Day, most moms want to be treated like queens and given the day off, and that’s wonderful. But let’s make sure that the rest of the year, we’re not sitting back and letting him always lead, nor are we pulling and straining and letting him off the hook. Let’s have those hard conversations so that we can get to the place where we’re both plowing full speed ahead, and enjoying the ride immensely! That’s the glory of marriage, and I, for one, would not want to miss it.
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Hope you all have a great weekend, everyone!