Team work makes the dream work, right? We have all heard this saying. But, you may be asking what does this have to do with relationships. With Valentine’s Day approaching, this saying may help you give the gift of yourself to your partner and strengthen your relationship.
For most of us, our significant other is the first person we turn to when we have news to share. If we find out some exciting information, our first thought is to call our partner. And, when we hear bad news, our partner is usually the first person we want to talk to in order to find comfort. The word “partner” implies a partnership or team. Something bigger than just ourselves. So, if we apply this concept to our relationship, our perception becomes one of “us against the world.” We believe our partner has our back. He or she is our rock in the journey of life. We are a team.
I believe it is fair to say that most of us have a desire to be in healthy, happy relationship. One in which we feel loved by our partner and choose to love our partner back. We want to feel that our partner is going to be there for us no matter what. Yes, there will be times of disagreement but, we trust that our partner is there for us for the long term and will work as hard as it takes to make the relationship work. That is the dream.
Putting It Together
So, if we view ourselves as part of a team with the dream of being happy in the relationship, then we have to make choices that keep us on that path. This means it is important we view the decisions we make through the lens of thinking in terms of “we” rather than “I.” If we start making decisions just to make ourselves happy, we start putting distance between ourselves and our spouse. This can lead to frustration and resentment which erodes the relationship bond. If we don’t do anything to shore up this erosion, our relationship becomes weaker and eventually can end.
Here is a simple example of thinking in terms of “we” rather than “I”. Let’s say I have a few minutes to spare in the morning before I leave for work and the dishwasher needs to be emptied. I can say to myself that I don’t feel like emptying it; I’d rather spend that time watching my favorite morning show. I can just let my spouse do it when he gets home since I know he will be home before me. Or, I can think in terms of “we” and think if I empty it now, it is one less chore that one of us has to do tonight after a long day. Plus, my partner will see that I took time to do this and will appreciate my effort. It is one less job he has to think about doing. He may recognize this extra effort on my part and want to reciprocate by offering to do the dishes, which he knows I don’t like doing. I really appreciate this gesture and will want to respond in kind so a positive chain of events occurs which makes us feel closer. This happens because I chose to take 5 minutes of my time to do something for us rather than myself. I chose in favor of the relationship rather than for myself. This strengthens our emotional bond which in turns strengthens the relationship. We both win!
Remember, it is the small day to day choices we make regarding our relationship that are the most important. It can be easy to make grand gestures such as buying flowers or jewelry or dinner. It is harder to make the extra effort when we are tired or frustrated with our significant other. In the long run, though, it is those small gestures, that 5 minutes, that can mean more because we gave of ourselves. We put the team’s needs ahead of our own. That is how we win. GO TEAM!