The most important secret to a successful relationship, is knowing the work that goes into it is never 50-50. One of you will always give a little more or a little less; the key is making sure the weight is constantly shifting between you. ~Gary Clark
Great advice that my father-in-law Gary gave to my husband Greg shortly before our wedding. In the twelve years we’ve spent together, we’ve seen these words ring true time and time again.
In the last two weeks in our series called The Secret Ingredients to Relationships That Thrive, we’ve looked at the importance of how we spend our time together and apart, and how we can grow together and avoid drifting apart. All of that has built up to this final key ingredient to a thriving relationship; approaching relationships as a Team.
Relationships That Thrive Depend on Teamwork in 3 Key Areas:
In my opinion, this is the hardest part to be intentional about being a team. It’s so stinkin easy to take advantage of each other in the “everyday” because we don’t always recognize the little things the other half of our relationship does that make such a big difference.
We all know when you spend enough time with a person, you learn who they are on a much deeper level. When you become close enough, you invest more than just your time with them. You invest your acceptance and appreciation for what they bring to your life.
As time goes on, that appreciation we have for one another can easily become something we take for granted. If we’re not careful, we can begin to expect the other person to carry more of the weight in areas of the relationship where they naturally tend to add value. Here are just a few examples:
-Planning time together
-Taking care of the kids
-Expecting a friend to always listen to your problems, but you never bother to stop talking long enough to listen to theirs.
-Expecting a hard working colleague to always volunteer to do the dirty work at your job
These expectations may stem from what we initially appreciated about each other; but sometimes that appreciation turns into “forgetting” you still need to participate in that part of the relationship as well.
We all love to win, we all love to celebrate our own successes. I love nothing more than to see my hard work pay off with a sweet reward. That being said, here’s an important thing to remember; The world doesn’t revolve around you, so neither should your relationship.
There will be times when together, you decide the main objective is to launch you and your goals towards completion and victory. There will also be times when your goals, your agenda, and your priorities may need to take a backseat to your other half.
When it comes to our aspirations and victories, remember the pendulum of success and accolades should swing both ways when you approach them as a team.
This is something Greg and I have embraced very seriously. When I was going to school, he supported me 150%. My first year was absolutely insane. I was taking 100 credit hours, and had no time for anything else but school. He spent the majority of that time overseas in Iraq and Kuwait. He’d come home every 3-4 months for a few short days. He’d spend all day waiting for me to come home, and I’d get there and tell him “I only have two hours to spend with you, then I have to study.” How easily he could have resented me for that, instead….he set his watch.
Several years later, he went back to school full time, and our focus as a couple shifted to ensuring his success.
Relationships that thrive allow each person involved to take priority which helps us to appreciate each other and our accomplishments that much more. It also helps us to stay humble and recognize the effort to get to that finish line was not just yours; the love and support of the people who love you played a vital role as well.
With our successes also come our failures and disappointments. Most of the time, failure tends to be a difficult pill to swallow. The pain that comes with it can be quite profound. It’s in our moments of defeat we need each other the most.
Many of you are aware, I struggled desperately for a time with PTSD after my deployment to Afghanistan in 2008. That time was easily one of the most difficult for our marriage. For quite a while, Greg didn’t know how to help me, and I didn’t know how to ask. Eventually, I came through that dark time, and have become so much better because of it. I know without a doubt, his love and support was the driving force in my recovery.
A beautiful thing about relationships is that they allow us to experience defining moments with each other. When times get tough, it’s so much better knowing you’re not alone and that there is a hand of someone who loves you ready to lift you up; you just have to reach for it.
Relationships that thrive embrace the value of teamwork through the everyday, the highs, and the lows brings to each other’s lives.
This concludes our three week series on The Secret Ingredients Relationships That Thrive! We hope you enjoyed it and took something of value from it and love your feedback! Have ideas or suggestion about another series? Please feel free to email your suggestions to: email@example.com
What value do you think teamwork brings to a relationship?