Being on the same team means being a good listener. You cannot silence your partner—ever. Teammates depend on each other. Failing to listen or be present shifts the energy in a “same team” mentality. Often when the energy between us is off, when one of us feels unheard or unsupported, we have to restate our mantra to each other: we are on the same team. We literally say it out loud to each other almost every week—sometimes in the middle of an argument. It’s just a phrase, but it’s a reminder to both of us—we are off-kilter and we need to reset. It keeps us away from a negative dialogue in our heads that spirals into me against you or you against me. It reminds us in the midst of tension that we can ease it with a quick timeout and reminder: Hey, you and me. We’re on the same team.
Why am I cleaning the kitchen again? Same team.
Why am I the only one who cleans the bathroom? Same team.
Why am I always paying all the bills? Same team.
Why does she get so much free time when I’m always working? Same team.
When I’m in a one-sided mindset, I forget. I start looking at our marriage and responsibilities as a scorecard. It becomes about what I have done. It becomes my team. Technical foul. Nobody 105 wins when we create a scorecard for a blame game. Anytime we blame the other person, there’s a good chance we’re not on the same team. I forget she wants to support and help me just as I want to do the same for her. Just as any teammate would. Then I remember how she folded all the laundry, how she made lunches and dropped the kids off at school the last three days in a row. I remember the countless ways we work on the same team every day.
Meet Tedashii6 and his wife, Danielle.7 Tedashii is an artist and rapper, and Danielle is a business strategist and yoga instructor. Tedashii’s growing influence has led to the need for him to be on the road touring and for Danielle to take greater responsibility for their children. We had dinner with them, and Tedashii explained the idea of being on the same team further. “I always thought we were on the same team. But really, I was the quarterback and she was the wide receiver.” In other words, he was driving the team and she was supposed to respond to whatever he threw at her. Tedashii realized he needed to change his view of “same team.” He really didn’t understand the impact on their relationship when he didn’t take time to listen to her needs and the needs of the family. I see this play out in so many relationships. Too often one person guides all the people toward a place that benefits only that one person. I resonate deeply with the quarterback concept. Too often my priorities take the lead. Too often I act like the QB of my own team. That’s not how I want it to work, but the reality is that my actions point to a “Jeff’s team” mindset, not to a same team viewpoint.
This team is not only my team; we are on a team together. Repeat it out loud with your partner: we are on the same team.
Taken from Love or Work by André and Jeff Shinabarger. Copyright © 2020 by Jeff Shinabarger and André Shinabarger. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.loveorworkbook.com