4. Marriage is a team sport
Marriage is the ultimate exercise in teamwork. It is especially important to remember that unity is necessary for a successful marriage when you and your spouse are at odds. My wife and I have to periodically remind ourselves that we are not the enemy. Even when we disagree on a particular issue, our goal should be to attack our problems, not each other. One of the primary foes of teamwork is selfishness. It rears its ugly head whenever one person is determined to get his or her own way, even if comes at the expense of the relationship. If two people are on the same team, it is impossible for one to lose and the other win. Either both win or both lose. This is how conflict works in marriage. Either both people win or both lose. If it feels like one person is winning and the other losing, it’s because a couple is no longer functioning as a team. One of the things that can bring a couple closer is consistently speaking your spouse’s love language. This means looking to serve their needs—whether for words of affirmation or quality time—before you seek to serve our own.
A wedding is like a sprint, but marriage is a marathon.
5. You need to run the right race
A couple’s wedding day is typically one of the most memorable days they will ever experience, but just because you started off on a high doesn’t mean your relationship has to take a nosedive. The early days of marriage can be a gentle reminder that the process of becoming one takes time. Most of us have developed a series of habits and attitudes during our single days that can make this process a challenge. Too much focus on getting to the day can distract couples from doing the work required to be successful in marriage. A wedding is like a sprint, but marriage is a marathon. That’s why the preparation needed for both is different. Keeping focused on the right race is also important because there’s often a temptation to think that the only thing standing between you and happiness is a different spouse. Don’t be fooled—you’d have issues regardless of who you married. Most of us aren’t even in perfect alignment with ourselves. Each of us can look back on our lives and find times when our words and ways were not totally in sync. It should come as no surprise that we occasionally get out of step with the one we pledged to love for a lifetime. Let those moments serve as a motivation to keep pushing forward and a reminder that while having a great wedding takes a day, creating a great marriage takes a lifetime.
BMWK, were your first years of marriage what you expected them to be? What could you have done to improve them?