God has been showing me, more and more of late, that marriage is quintessentially teamwork. But teamwork is such a broad concept we are easily lost in our conceptions of what that might entail, especially where love, cohabitation, children and extended family are added to the mix, often confusing the concept of marriage.
In short, the times I’ve found myself in marital peril, arguing and unsatisfied and generally loathing the arrangement, are the times when I’ve been selfish; when my worldview has been me, myself, I. I get so glad when God reveals this folly to me. God has asked me many times to rise up from within my situational lament to become a better partner. I believe this is an underpinning request from the Lord to all who are married.
Sometimes in marriage we get too dependent, or, the other extreme, too independent.
In a team called marriage we are called to become interdependent—a discreet mix of both dependence and independence.
Interdependence is a good working model to understand teamwork within marriage.
Interdependence in Marriage
When we get marriage right joy exists, both partners are happy, there is room for humour, and differences are appreciated, even celebrated—the team has diversity, spontaneity, openness within it, mutuality, and the ability to share.
This vision of marriage, above, is achieved when both partners are committed to interdependence. When both partners realise the importance of working for their little team, every other person dependent on that team wins.
Interdependence in marriage is about taking responsibility for whatever we can do to enhance the team. We don’t get bogged down by comparisons over what he did or she does, or didn’t do. Comparisons are generally unhealthy and take us into deep dissatisfaction.
When we can enjoy the work within marriage—the chores, the time spent, the errands, the intimacy and passion invested, etc—all of it—we begin to understand the value of interdependence. We understand we are making a contribution. We understand others are dependent on us as we are on them. But we also understand the importance of independence so far as responsibility is concerned. It is our responsibility to contribute, independent of the quality and quantity of our partner’s contribution.
God delights us when we suddenly realise we are able to contribute.
If we are a bright and joyful partner, we encourage our partner to become the same, but this is never forced or coerced. They are who they decide they are. We are blessed, most personally, when we understand we have issued this freedom to them; to be entirely themselves. And we can appreciate the many facets of our partners’ contributions. We begin to see their contributions more and more.
This, of course, is a faith task. We sow in faith, with a desire for a healthy marriage, and we generally reap in eventual joy, if we are married partners both with potential.
Marriage is a team if there ever was one. When good teamwork exists, those relying on the marriage have generally happy lives. A good marriage is a nucleus from which all of life therefore springs.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.