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I am ridiculously stubborn. Like, seriously – so stubborn.
Whether it’s a result of my German heritage or what, it’s sometimes a problem.
In fact, when I was a teenager, I didn’t actually think I’d ever get married. I didn’t think it was in the cards for me because, boy, did people get on my nerves. I wasn’t what you’d call a “team player”.
More often than not, I thought in terms of, “my way or the highway.”
When I met my husband, things changed. I was so in love with him, and I didn’t ever get tired of spending time with him – a completely new concept. I’d do anything to make our marriage to last a lifetime.
But it definitely hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Believe it or not, my tendency to want things exactly how I want them to be hasn’t subsided just because I fell in love. I’ve had to work really hard on my faults – which I don’t know, I guess is part of the whole point of marriage ;).
I struggled a lot with communicating with my husband. I wanted him to just intuitively know what I needed without having to spell it out for him. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, make the plans I’d come up with happen, spend money how I wanted, and have chores done without nagging or goading.
And then, of course, I wanted him to see things my way, and just do things how I wanted them done.
The thing is, marriage isn’t just about me or just about my husband. It’s about us, conquering the world together. It’s about being able to overcome anything that comes our way, and making our marriage work… no matter what.
It’s about being a team.
And to be honest, I don’t think I know a single person who adapts to that easily. I mean, you go your entire life as the center of your own universe – no matter how empathetic or giving or selfless you may be. Before you get married, it’s kind of all about you. What you want and need, what’s best for you, it can come first.
So to figure out how to give that up, to come together as a unified front with your husband? It’s not easy. But, there are totally ways to facilitate better teamwork-type feelings with your husband.
4 Ways To Be Better Teammates With Your Husband
Figure out how to give and receive constructive criticism.
I’m not big on getting constructive criticism. I’m getting better, but my knee-jerk impulse is still to get defensive and list all the reasons why that thing I’m doing isn’t that bad, or why the person in question just doesn’t understand my way of doing things.
I’ve come a long way, but it’s still hard.
The reason it’s hard is that it’s never easy to hear bad things about yourself, no matter how helpful or well-intentioned they are – especially if you have a tendency to be hard on yourself anyway. It’s understandable. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to stay that way.
So – work on accepting constructive criticism. Take a deep breath before responding, or figure out how to receive it in a way that’s easier for you to digest (like written communication versus face-to-face – whatever you need.)
Along these lines, figure out how to communicate diplomatically with your spouse. If he’s doing something that drives you up the wall, don’t bite your tongue then explode about, “Why can’t you clean your beard hair off the counter?!” Just don’t do it. Gentle reminders go a long way (usually – explosions might still happen, but do what you can here :))
Have fun together.
In the beginning of your relationship, it was easy to find fun things to do together. Heck, even just being with each other was probably fun. I know it was for us – no matter what we were doing, I had fun.
A few years in? It takes a little more work, but it can be done.
Try new things together, like riding a horse, camping, visiting a race track, whatever. It’s amazing what a little excitement can do for your bond.
Plus, anything novel like that is a great way to get you out of watching-TV-and-binge-eating ruts – which are not so great for your intimacy. Long term, anyway.
Set goals together.
Shared goals are ridiculously powerful. They give you something you’re in on together, that is super important to both of you. Having goals you want to reach together is a great way to foster a better team mindset, because you truly have something you need to work at together.
You can make them whatever goals you want.
Do you want to stop drinking soda together? Do you want to buy a new car? Travel the world? Buy a house? Get a dog?
Seriously, whatever you want to do as a couple, work on it together.
Spend a little time brainstorming one big goal you want to reach together, then put a plan in action to make it happen. Break that big goal down into baby steps, and figure out what each of you has to do to make that dream a reality.
Trust me – this is awesome for your marriage.
Don’t worry about “fair”.
This one can be a doozy, especially when kiddos come into play. But to be great teammates with your husband, focus more on your end goals together, and less on who’s pulling the weight at any given time.
So I’m going to tell you something, in case you weren’t warned – life ain’t fair.
Marriage is not ever going to be 50/50. Really, honestly. Rarely will it ever feel “fair”.
I know in our marriage, there are times I’m in a rut and my husband has to pull more weight around the house – and vice versa. Sometimes I have to take on the lion’s share of everything. And sometimes I feel like his job is easier, and sometimes he feels like my job is easier, and eventually we get a peek into one another’s lives and go, “Nevermind.”
We keep each other balanced. We’re there when one another needs things, even when it sometimes isn’t fair… and we do our best not to grumble (because I mean, who doesn’t enjoy when things are fair?)
Marriages work when they’re made important – when they’re special. When they’re a place that give you a sense of belonging. The best way to do that is to figure out how to better come together with your spouse as a team.