Discover how a team attitude can replace your “me” attitudes and strengthen your marriage like nothing else.
We were a good Christian married couple; committed, involved in ministry, but struggling with understanding our differences and navigating the hurts we caused each other. Then, we were introduced to the concept of “Us” at a 5 Days To A New Marriage class, where marriage was presented as a different entity; who we are together – not him, not her, but Us. It changed our marriage.
Before taking this class, our individual responses to emotional pain caused more pain in each other. Joni would withdraw to another room to comfort herself or avoid Steve whenever she felt vulnerable which set off Steve’s pain button – feeling disconnected. Steve would be aggressive to resolve the issue or would become critical, which would push Joni’s pain button – feeling devalued. It had become a vicious cycle and we had no idea what was going on until the class material helped us recognize we had believed lies of the enemy that were driving us apart.
Our pain cycle was disrupted by applying God’s Word to our marriage which stopped the hurtful responses. Instead, loving responses which came from biblical truth brought peace into each of our hearts and minds and into our relationship. We have learned to lean on the Lord to help us understand one another and to resolve issues that come up, peacefully and lovingly. It has taken lots of practice, but now we rarely find ourselves in a pain cycle. When it happens, we are able to quickly restore peace because we have a healthy Us.
A team attitude has replaced our “me” attitudes. Living out Philippians 2:2-4 became a goal as a couple, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of (your spouse).”
Participating in activities which we might not choose on our own but know that our spouse loves, like going to the symphony or hiking in the mountains, has been a practical application of growing our Us-ness, as well. We like who we are together.
These activities are our guideline to grow and protect Us:
- We intentionally make decisions as a team.
- We do distasteful chores together, helping one another.
- We purposefully plan weekend activities together.
- We focus on the truth and calmly discuss issues that come up.
- We are involved in a Christian small group that encourages us as a couple.
- We participate as a couple in at least one outreach project each year.
- We make financial decisions together, valuing our different money personalities.
- We encourage one another in pursuit of personal growth and pray for one another.
- We prioritize our relationship and lead marriage classes and marriage retreats.
- We treat each other with equal importance.
God is for our marriage and offers peace for Us. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
*5 Days To A New Marriage by Terry Hargrave, Ph.D. and Shawn Stoever, Ph.D