Perhaps the greatest dynamic in our marriage is teamwork. Without working together as a team, there is no sane way to manage a road trip that spans years. I don’t mean to say that Jess and I do everything together. We often split duties and spend our days doing very different things, but as a whole we try and keep our goals aligned and approach them as a team.
In church this week we had a lesson on preparing for and strengthening marriage. The lesson was in Elders Quorum (mormon speak for a group of 18 to 45ish year old men), so the class discussion involved mostly married, middle-aged men. I really enjoy Elders Quorum lessons, and discussing the Gospel of Christ together with other husbands and fathers is rewarding and motivating.
This lesson on marriage was no different, and I came away with some new thoughts and ideas on both the value of marriage and things I could do to improve my own.
Mixed in with the excellent advice was some downright terrible advice shared by the others in the class. I can’t fault these men directly, as this advice seems quite common in our culture.
Learn to say ‘Yes Dear’
This is terrible advice, and I’ve heard it from many men over the span of decades. A few years ago, I heard a coworker share that advice with another soon-to-be-married young man at the same company.
“Steve!” I said, “That is terrible advice, and you don’t follow it either!”
Steve quickly admitted so with a laugh. Though I did call Steve on his words, I did hold my tongue in my church meeting, as I was unable to find a constructive way to share my thoughts at the time.
The perspectives offered by both parties in a marriage can bring value and insight. As a couple works together to understand the desires and points of view of each other, I believe they grow stronger. Disagreements are a natural result of two persons sharing a life. Seeking to understand our spouse and trying to understand what (and not who) is right will bring us closer together.
Advising someone to capitulate to their spouse in any disagreement is simply terrible advice.
Be a Team
Adventures in life are better when you have a great partner in those adventures. I believe marriage was designed to help us grow and learn together. Being united in our goals, patient with each other, and seeking to learn from each other and the world around us is vital to creating a strong team.
Now, anybody that knows me understands that I am not the perfect husband. These ideals I write of are my goals and, well, ideals. Even with the best goal in mind my execution ranges between imperfect and downright terrible. I hope my thoughts and encouragement are worthwhile anyway.