Teamwork in Marriage: Essential Ingredients For Success

Share Button

Teamwork in Marriage: Essential Ingredients For Success

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

The beauty of a strong marriage is in the details. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the most successful marriage relationships have something major in common: in the big adventures as well as the day-to-day grind, the happiest, healthiest couples do life together as a team.

We love this quote about how the best marriages have teamwork as their foundation:

“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.” – Fawn Weaver

Today we’re going to dig into the three major components of teamwork outlined in the above quote: respect, admiration, and grace. These are all critical ingredients to any winning team, so let’s break them down!

1. RESPECT

Respect is an essential ingredient to any team’s success, whether on the sports field or in a marriage. Merriam-Webster Online defines respect as “an act of giving particular attention; a high or special regard.”

When a team’s players respect one another, they:

  • Value each other
  • Support one another
  • Cheer each other on
  • Are considerate of one another
  • Treat each other with kindness and patience

A team built on respect has a much higher chance of winning the game because they’re not tearing one another down. Instead, each member appreciates his or her teammates for their strengths, and lifts their teammates up in moments of weakness. Team members share an end game: win, and keep winning until the very end.

In a marriage, it’s important to work together toward your end game. Root for your spouse. Support them in times of weakness. Help them keep running the race until you reach the finish line together. It’s a lifelong journey, but a worthwhile one when you stick together.

2. ADMIRATION

Admiration builds on respect and takes it to a whole new level. Merriam-Webster defines admiration as “a feeling of respect and approval; an object of esteem.” In other words, without respect, you can’t have admiration.

To admire another is to hold them in very high regard, or to find them compelling, fascinating, or amazing. The best teams are made up of players who are constantly “wowed” by their teammates’ abilities, instead of players who are in competition with one another or striving to the the star of the team.

In marriage, the concept is the same. Husbands and wives should cultivate that same “wow” factor with one another. And to take that a step farther, be vocal with each other–and with the outside world–about the characteristics and talents you admire. Let your spouse know what it is about him or her that fascinates you.

3. GRACE

When teammates have a healthy dose of grace for one another, the unit as a whole can continue moving toward their collective goal with little hindrance. But if a team falls apart over a player’s mistake, a bad play, or a lost game, it’s going to be that much harder to pick up the pieces and continue pressing forward as a unit. Feelings will be hurt, respect and admiration may be damaged, and morale will be crushed.

Every great team understands that sometimes, things won’t go as planned. Sometimes, you’ll lose a game. One of you might make a mistake or face failure. That impacts the team in the short term, but it doesn’t have to destroy what you’ve built together.

In the same way, husbands and wives must have plenty of grace for one another. There are going to be times in life that get you down: failures, disappointments, missteps, tragic events, illness, and more. Some of these things might be direct results of actions that either you or your spouse takes. And when that happens, it’s important to always have a healthy dose of grace ready.

One effective way to cultivate grace is to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Creating a sense of empathy within yourself will help you extend grace to your spouse when it’s due. And if you’re willing to do that for your spouse, they’ll be more willing to offer the same to you.

Stay in the game! No matter what happens, remember you’re on the same team.

If you would like help developing or enriching your teamwork in your relationship, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Who is the Mature One in Your Marriage?

Share Button

Who is the Mature One in Your Marriage?

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

It is much easier to sit back and say, “Well Emerson, I would be more loving if my wife was more respectful!” Or, “Why should I show my husband respect when he is treating me in an unloving way?”

Of course it is easier to be obedient to God in our marriage when our husband or wife is also being obedient. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

So who goes first?

My answer: the mature one.

How do you know if you are the mature one? Let me put it this way.  I can tell you if you are the immature one.

The immature person uses this information not to change themselves, but to try to change their spouse. Their whole mindset is to get their spouse to be more loving or respectful rather than trying to be more loving or respectful themselves. They do not believe that they have the power to influence their spouse, but instead see their spouse as having all the power to influence them. Therefore they must change their spouse in order to be happy.

The immature person lacks obedience to God’s commands. Instead their mission is to get their spouse to obey God’s command toward them. Bottom line, the Lord will not honor that and a spouse is not going to respond to that any more than if the roles were reversed.

The mature person, on the other hand, will do their part to improve the marriage, even if it means putting their own feelings aside. They will choose obedience to God’s commands over their own feelings and over their circumstances. That’s because they understand the nature of God:  He is a good God, whose commands are given to help us, not to harm us.

Let me also add that the mature one does not tell their disobedient spouse that they are immature. Nor do they throw it around that they are doing all of these loving or respectful things because of their maturity. That would be immature – and counterproductive! Shaming or condemning your spouse for their immaturity is really a reflection of your own immaturity. The mature spouse displays their loving or respectful actions with a humble heart.

Which are you in your relationship?  The mature one – or the immature one?

If you have hesitated to step out in faith and honor God in your marriage, trust His word and His character. Trust that He would not ask you to do something foolish. He is too wise for that. Be the mature one and make the first loving or respectful move. It could change everything!

-Dr. E

If you would like help with your marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Labels and Respectfully Confronting Friends

Share Button

letter-mail

Labels and Respectfully Confronting Friends: Ask Joy

By Joy Eggerichs Reed

Hi Joy,

I have a dude friend who I really respect and appreciate, but who often complains about how lonely he is and how “all women suck.” It’s really frustrating to hear over and over again, but I’m not sure how to approach him. If I confront him at all he gets defensive.

On one hand, I can understand that he’s coming from a place of hurt and pain. On the other hand, I hate to hear him putting females down and not taking responsibility for his own actions. I really want to be respectful towards him, but every attempt seems to fail! Helpppp!

—Brittany

My Response:

You are a great friend, Brittany!

You’re seeking to understand how to graciously confront this guy, even when he probably doesn’t deserve your empathy after all his put downs towards females. (That’s the unnerving part of grace— giving someone a gift that they don’t deserve, but that gift can also be the thing that transforms a person.)

Communicating happens most effectively when we can get to the root of why someone is behaving a certain way.

When we find that pesky little talon buried in the ground, it can often lead to empathy on our end.

The root for this dude? His pain. I’m guessing he’s been burned by some ladies…

Sometimes when we’ve been wounded by people, it’s easier to put a label on them because it helps us make sense for why we feel so hurt.

When we give a label, we feel less confused… 

She may say, “Oh, of course he never called me back. That’s because he’s a lying lunatic.”

Or he might say… “Yeah, she couldn’t be trusted. Crazy is written all over that face.”

Sometimes we even take the more concerned approach to labeling…

Where she’ll say,“I mean, it makes sense— look at the family he comes from.”

Or he’ll ask… “You know what happened to her when she was younger, right?” 

I would even argue that labels like this can be beneficial for someone’s healing.

They can be the catalyst for someone getting help, and a starting point if they hear someone lovingly say, “You were abused.” “You were manipulated.” “You were betrayed.”

I think the gauge for figuring out if the label is right or wrong is to figure out who the label is for.

If the label is motivated out of a hope for genuine healing—for ourselves and for others—then the label is good.

If we label in order to make sense of our own pain, or to make us feel less crazy, less confused and more in control, then our motivation is wrong. That type of labeling can permeate our spirit if it goes unrecognized.

Recently my father said, “Bitterness is like taking a poisonous pill and hoping the other person will die.” He wasn’t the original person to say that, so when I googled it, I found similar quotes from Nelson Mandela and actress Carrie Fischer.

(I’m gonna go ahead and let Princess Leia get the credit.)

If labels don’t lead us to deeper grace and understanding, then they probably just do what you sense your friend is doing— putting the blame on others instead of taking responsibility for his own part to play.

He will get defensive if you challenge him because he probably feels safer staying upset. His generalizations of women help him feel justified in his hurt. If he let down his defensiveness for a moment, he might have to face his hurt and that scares him.

Now, do I suggest you read him the above paragraph and tell him he is scared of pain and on the verge of a break down? No.

You hold great power and effectiveness in how you challenge him.

So here is what I suggest:

1. Go to worst-case scenario—he may not listen to you. You may need to consider dropping it because he might not be at a place of receiving feedback. (Remember, he’s a free agent.)

2. 2 Timothy 1:7 is truth I cling to as a believer when I need to confront people on tough topics.

3. A pseudo scenario to play out in your head:

 “________, Can I talk to you about something I’ve been thinking about?”

(Give him a chance to say “yes” or “no.” If he says “yes,” then he already has a posture that invites your words, as opposed to you just stating your thoughts from left field.)

“I’m obviously your friend because you know I think so highly of you.  I respect how you _______, _______ and ______.”

(Insert acts of service you see him doing, his work ethic or how he treats his family or guy friends. Because remember, “respect language” is not respecting someone’s behavior, like grace, it’s a gift. Recognizing that many men respond to language like this can lead them to them to trust that you are really for them.)

“Because of the type of man I know you to be, and the man I assume you desire to be, I feel like you can handle me challenging you a little. I’m not sure you realize it, but you have been super negative about women lately. It feels like you think all women suck and in case you missed it, I am a woman.”

(Pause…)

“I know you’ve been burned by some of “my kind,” (smile, laugh or keep it light in a way that you guys are familiar with) but that attitude you hold towards women seeps through you. I appreciate you letting your guard down with me, but I think if others heard you they would see a misrepresentation of the man I know you to be.” 

(Pause… he might say something…)

“So my request and challenge is to maybe try and shift your perspective. Try looking at women through the lens of women like me, instead of the women who have hurt you. I think you will find that they might even become more attracted to you because they won’t get the impression that you think they suck as human beings. (haha.) I mean, who wants to date a guy who thinks all women are crazy?!?”

(And then just go crazy.)

End scene.

From my crazy-labeled heart,

Joy

Basic Principles of Effective Communication

Share Button

Basic Principles of Effective Communication

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

John is a student writing a paper on male and female communication. He emailed me saying, “I would be honored if you would please take a few, brief moments and answer three questions for me.”

Question #1: In your opinion, what communication breakdowns occur between males and females?

We often say communication is the key to a successful marriage; however, I prefer to say that mutual understanding is the key.

If I speak perfect Spanish and you speak perfect German, we can communicate in prose that touches on poetic, but if the other does not know our mother-tongue, they will not understand us.

I take the position that women lean toward Love-Talk and men toward Respect-Talk, which I show in my books, Love & Respect and The Language of Love & Respect. The principles explained in both books are based on Ephesians 5:33, the discoveries at the University of Washington, as well as my own research.

When a husband does not understand what his wife means by what she says (“You aren’t loving me”) and a wife does not understand what he means by what he says (“You aren’t respecting me), they will not understand each other and thus will not communicate very well.

This is a simple explanation that I write about elsewhere in greater depth.

Question #2: What important skills are necessary for effective communication between males and females?

She needs to learn to communicate her need for love in respectful ways, and he needs to communicate his need for respect in loving ways.

Let me insert something important here: women need respect and men need love, too. However, we asked 7,000 people this question, “When you are in conflict with your spouse, do you feel unloved or disrespected?” 83% of the men said they felt disrespected and 72% of the women said they felt unloved.

We all need love and respect equally, but the felt need differs during conflict.

To effectively communicate, a wife must learn how to communicate her feelings of being unloved in a way that sounds respectful to her husband, and a husband must learn how to communicate his feelings of being disrespected in a way that sounds loving to his wife.

Question #3: What can be done by both males and females of all ages to increase effective communication in relationships?

Understand that God designed the genders differently. Neither are wrong, just different.  Though we are equal, we are not the same.

We have shown that the differences exceed simple biology–they spill over onto how we think and feel. A man and a woman can encounter the same conflict, but one’s gender drives how that conflict will be interpreted and handled.

For example, 85% of those who stonewall and withdraw in conflict are male. Why? Many wives say it is because he is being unloving, but I believe he does so to calm down–he knows it is not honorable to allow a conflict among friends to escalate out of control.

Why would a man need to calm down? At moments of marital conflict the heartbeats of many males, according to the University of Washington, can reach 99 beats per minute. He is in warrior mode. His wife, however, remains relatively calm with regard to BPM.

Interestingly, she appears out of control while he appears stoic, but internally both respond differently.

She does not interpret the conflict as a provocation, but as an opportunity to resolve the matter. On the other hand he feels provoked and senses a need to calm down, lest things get out of hand.

Why would a husband do this? I see it as honorable. He does not want to fight, so he withdraws to protect the relationship. But when wives were asked by researchers what they felt at such moments, the wives said, “It feels like an act of hostility.”

Who is right? Is it an act of honor or act of hostility? Yes. It just depends if one filters it throughblue or pink.

In our study, how did the wives approach their husbands in conflict? Research reveals that women tend to move toward the husbands to connect; they do not withdraw. However, the researchers found that when wives move toward their husbands, they do so with criticism and complaint.

I believe it is because they care. However, when the husbands were asked how they feel about the wife’s approach, many of the men interpret the ongoing criticism as contempt for who they are as men.

Who is right? Is it an act of care or an act of contempt? Yes. It just depends on the pink and blueview.

Neither are wrong, just different. When we learn these differences, harmony can be presentbetween men and women.

We will not attack the other as hostile and contemptuous, but rather as good-willed and desiring to do what is caring and honorable.

Hope this helps.

-Dr. E

**********

If you would like help in communication, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a counselor or coach.

 

6 Ways to Say Thanks for His Love and Her Respect

Share Button

6 Ways to Say Thanks for His Love and Her Respect

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

6 Ways to Appreciate Love and Respect

If you would like help or enrichment in your marriage in the areas of love and respect, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a counselor or coach.

What I Wish I Knew About Marriage

Share Button

Close-up of a young couple in love

What I Wish I Knew

By Trisha Davis

My husband Justin and I met in college in 1993 , started dating in January 1994 and were married in July 1995. We were age 20 and 21, respectively.  We thought we knew everything about marriage because we were so in love. We weren’t going to struggle like other couples, because we loved each other more than other couples. Man, we were wrong!

We were clueless about marriage. But our story is a story of redemption and so we want to redeem our mistakes by sharing them with you.

So welcome to THE LIST! It is a list of lightbulb moments—things I wish I’d known before I got married. It is by no means exhaustive, but after almost 18 years of marriage my hope is that by sharing it with you, it will help you prepare for or grow in your marriage.

1. Doing everything the “right way” in my marriage won’t fix all the brokenness of my past.

Justin and I got married young. For the most part we grew up in homes that, although dysfunctional, manifested love, and our parents loved each other. My parents separated two years after I got married and soon after divorced. It rocked the foundation of everything I knew marriage to be. I was naive to the real struggles my parents were facing and had to come to terms with my own brokenness. This fueled a very unhealthy fire in me to do everything “right” in MY marriage so that NOTHING would go wrong.

2. Love is a choice, not a feeling.

Have you ever looked at an elderly couple that still hold hands and look upon one another with complete endearment and wonder, “How do I get that?” What I have learned is that love is not an emotion but rather a choice. Love is not about choosing each other but rather a daily choice to choose God. When I love Justin through my emotions and feelings alone, I am left disappointed most of the time. But when I choose to love God and allow the Holy Spirit to prompt me in how to love Justin amazing intimacy takes place; the crazy kind of love that even in your old age makes you reach out for the hand of your spouse and with just a look communicate “I love you.”

3. Physical intimacy WILL BE CONFUSING!

Whether you knew a lot about sex going into your marriage or not, it’s one of the most confusing parts of marriage. Sex is not just about attraction, but a deep spiritual connection like nothing on the planet. It is as much a physical need as it is a spiritual need so why is it so hard to completely understand? Why is it that one seems to long for sex way more than the other? Why is that one seems to never long for it at all?

I wish I knew before Justin and I got married how a man’s body is designed. That sex is TRULY a physical need and not a selfish request. That sex is just as much about an emotional need as it is a physical need.But mostly I wish I understood the beauty and irreplaceable role sex plays in growing our marriage spiritually.

4. Doing it my way isn’t always the best way.

Justin and I were married for 4 months before I got pregnant with our son Micah. In fact, Micah was born 5 days after our one-year anniversary. We were learning how to do life as a team of two, and before we could figure that out, we quickly became a team of three! We both took claim of different areas of our marriage and decided that MY WAY was the BEST WAY. Justin held onto our finances with an iron fist and I was psycho-baby-momma that made sure Micah was taken care of the right way… MY WAY… at all times.

God has brought us together as a team, not as opposing sides. We learned to trust each other and accepted how each of us went about daily life. So I may have chosen to change Micah’s diaper sooner than Justin thought to. And maybe I didn’t balance the checkbook in a timely fashion as he did. In the end, those small details don’t matter! What matters is that we know that we are there for each other and that we are always assuming the best of each other … even when our best looks very different.

5. The difference between TRUST and FEAR.

Justin and I are very open about the fact that he had an affair in the past.  And because of this, our story would lead one to think that I have a right to fear that Justin will have another affair. Or that Justin should fear that one day I would eventually leave him because of his choices. This type of fearful thinking is so destructive. Fear says that you will not survive the fallout of losing your spouse, so live in suspicion in order to catch him/her when he/she messes up.

Trust says…
I am fully aware that in trusting I’m being vulnerable to being hurt (again.)

Trust says…
“I am for you” and “I am thinking the best of you”…not the worst.

Trust says…
I am going to love my spouse with reckless abandonment just as Jesus did for me when He came and died on the cross.

Trust says…
I will love my spouse without fear, but with hope that the Holy Spirit will guide me to love my spouse.

Trust says…
“God, I will love my spouse fearlessly, thinking the best of them at all times” and “If my spouse chooses to leave me, YOU will never leave me or forsake me.”

(This post was originally found on loveandrespectnow.com)

*************

If you would like help with premarital counseling or marital counseling, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a counselor or coach.