How to Work as a Team With Your Spouse
Matt and I have been together for 16 years. We will be married for 9 years this June. Our marriage is a successful one for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons is teamwork.
Our teamwork exists because we allow the other to work with us, not for us. Personally, I do not think a healthy marriage is one where a spouse is subservient to the other person. I know that many disagree with that and that's ok! But for me and my marriage, teamwork is a major part of our success.
Teamwork in parenting: Matt and I take turns every night putting our 2 children to bed. We both take part in the kid's bath-time and switch which child we read and cuddle with every night. This not only allows us to spend time with both children equally throughout the week, but also gives each of us a bedtime routine responsibility. As a mom, I don't mind doing a little more for my children than my husband - only because I am home during the day with them and he is working. However, it is important to me that he be involved with them daily and especially with the bedtime routine. Of course, life happens sometimes and there are times when I am not home and Matt has to put both kids to bed (and vice versa).
We also work as a team to teach values and lessons to our kids. If there is a problem we need to speak to the kids about, we do it together. If there is a teachable moment about something that happened during the day, we talk to the children in the evening together. We work together to ensure that we are being the best parents we can for our children. If one of us is having an off-day of "good parenting," the other calmly reminds us that everything is ok and that our children are still growing and learning in the best way.
Teamwork in Housework: As I'm sure you know, keeping a home clean and organized can be a challenge, especially when there are little children. While I do a lot of the housework while Matt is working (vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, laundry), he is always willing to help when he is home. There are times when I am super overwhelmed with grad school or I just need a break from being a mom that Matt will step in and do the things that need to get done. So often, Matt is the one doing the dishes. Matt often folds and hangs the laundry when it needs to be done. We work as a team to ensure that our home is a place of peace and organization because that is what makes us calm and happy.
We also don't label housework with a "man's job" or a "woman's job." We both do what needs to get done to make our home happy. I take out the trash sometimes. Matt does laundry sometimes. I mow the lawn if needed and Matt will cook dinner. The majority of the time I do the inside-the-house- work and Matt does the outside-the-house work, but we don't label it as such. We both work as a team to get things done.
Teamwork in Marriage: We each have our personal goals that we are reaching for, but we don't keep them to ourselves. We tell each other our most important personal goal and cheer each other on! If I need help, advice, support, or just kind words, Matt is there to give me what I need. And I am there for Matt for whatever he needs. We work as a team to achieve the goals are important to us. Because when we achieve the goal, we are so proud and we are so glad that we were both a part of the successful journey.
We also both want to continue to be a part of a successful marriage (obviously). So we work together to grow as a couple. We work together to ensure that we are communicating with each other respectfully and fully. Matt and I have monthly date nights to ensure that we are still us - Matt and Shannon (not just Mom and Dad). Sometimes these date nights are Chinese food and Netflix after the kids go to bed. Sometimes we actually schedule a night out. We work as a team to make these date nights happen.
We also work together to remind one another to take time for ourselves. We both understand the importance of self-care and "me-time" so we work as a team to mark our calendars for alone time, whether that be time at the gym, getting a pedicure, or going to the public library to work.
For us, teamwork is a major part of our success as a couple. What is a major part of your success? If it isn't teamwork, I hope you will take time to reflect on this blog and decide if having more teamwork in your marriage is something you need to communicate about with your spouse. After all, none of us go into a marriage wanting it to end in divorce. Work with your spouse to make the best marriage you can!