Teamwork in Marriage: Essential Ingredients for Success

The beauty of a strong marriage is in the details. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the most successful marriage relationships have something major in common: in the big adventures as well as the day-to-day grind, the happiest, healthiest couples do life together as a team.

We love this quote about how the best marriages have teamwork as their foundation:

“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.” – Fawn Weaver

Today we’re going to dig into the three major components of teamwork outlined in the above quote: respect, admiration, and grace. These are all critical ingredients to any winning team, so let’s break them down!

1. Respect

Respect is an essential ingredient to any team’s success, whether on the sports field or in a marriage. Merriam-Webster Online defines respect as “an act of giving particular attention; a high or special regard.”

When a team’s players respect one another, they:

  • Value each other
  • Support one another
  • Cheer each other on
  • Are considerate of one another
  • Treat each other with kindness and patience

A team built on respect has a much higher chance of winning the game because they’re not tearing one another down. Instead, each member appreciates his or her teammates for their strengths, and lifts their teammates up in moments of weakness. Team members share an end game: win, and keep winning until the very end.

In a marriage, it’s important to work together toward your end game. Root for your spouse. Support them in times of weakness. Help them keep running the race until you reach the finish line together. It’s a lifelong journey, but a worthwhile one when you stick together.

2. Admiration

Admiration builds on respect and takes it to a whole new level. Merriam-Webster defines admiration as “a feeling of respect and approval; an object of esteem.” In other words, without respect, you can’t have admiration.

To admire another is to hold them in very high regard, or to find them compelling, fascinating, or amazing. The best teams are made up of players who are constantly “wowed” by their teammates’ abilities, instead of players who are in competition with one another or striving to the the star of the team.

In marriage, the concept is the same. Husbands and wives should cultivate that same “wow” factor with one another. And to take that a step farther, be vocal with each other–and with the outside world–about the characteristics and talents you admire. Let your spouse know what it is about him or her that fascinates you.

3. Grace

When teammates have a healthy dose of grace for one another, the unit as a whole can continue moving toward their collective goal with little hindrance. But if a team falls apart over a player’s mistake, a bad play, or a lost game, it’s going to be that much harder to pick up the pieces and continue pressing forward as a unit. Feelings will be hurt, respect and admiration may be damaged, and morale will be crushed.

Every great team understands that sometimes, things won’t go as planned. Sometimes, you’ll lose a game. One of you might make a mistake or face failure. That impacts the team in the short term, but it doesn’t have to destroy what you’ve built together.

In the same way, husbands and wives must have plenty of grace for one another. There are going to be times in life that get you down: failures, disappointments, missteps, tragic events, illness, and more. Some of these things might be direct results of actions that either you or your spouse takes. And when that happens, it’s important to always have a healthy dose of grace ready.

One effective way to cultivate grace is to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Creating a sense of empathy within yourself will help you extend grace to your spouse when it’s due. And if you’re willing to do that for your spouse, they’ll be more willing to offer the same to you.

Stay in the game! No matter what happens, remember you’re on the same team.

Are you and your spouse a strong team? Tell us your secrets! Leave a comment below to share your strategies for doing life together.

7 Comments

  • ingrid chuang says:

    Thank you for your teaching and encouragement.

  • Great article. I love the part of cheering each other on. I don’t think we do enough of that with our spouses at least I know that I can definitely improve in this area.

  • Debbie Thorkildsen says:

    This article seems to be from the male perspective. Comparing marriage to a sporting event and highlighting respect and admiration – two things that men seem to crave. I noticed the absence of love which is what women crave. Ephesians 5:25 commands, “Husbands, love your wives…” and Ephesians 5:33 says, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” God has told us how to meet each others deepest needs in that last verse. Let’s do it. Let’s give our partners what they crave at the core of their being. That’s the stuff that makes a happy, solid marriage.

    • Lazaro Ballesteros says:

      I think you are missing the point of the article. When you exercise respect, admiration, and grace towards your wife you are demonstrating your Love to her. Those 3 components are basically attributes of love. How can you Love someone without respecting, admiring, and giving grace to that person. God’s word is a littler more deeper than Love and Respect when it comes to a man and a woman.

      Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”

      Romans 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

      John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

      • Debbie Thorkildsen says:

        You are still coming at this from a man’s perspective. Most men would rather receive respect than love. Being respected feels loving to a man. That’s not the way it is for most women.

  • Laura says:

    Great advice. I am going to apply this to my marriage starting today.

  • John says:

    I am build a lasting relationship (team) with a beautiful lady. I find it so encouraging when we do things together as a team. We both know the most important member of our team is God. Without God our team would not have the strength needed. If it is a mental task, we both talk about it, pray to God for his advise, and then come up with the best action.

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