When a man and woman stand across from each other at the altar, it is a symbol of how they should walk together through life. One is not in front nor behind the other, one is not above or beneath the other, but they are standing next to each other, hand in hand and side by side as equal partners in marriage and in life. Sometimes the craziness of life can lead a husband or wife to forget that they are considered a couple and that a couple means two. Because marriages work best when couples work together, here are four little rhymes to remember.
1. Never me, always we
In a marriage, it is important to remember that you are no longer making decisions for yourself. Almost every decision you make will also affect your spouse. Therefore, it is very important that you add your spouse to the equation. Not only should you add him or her to the equation, but also to the conversation.
Of course you don't need to ask your spouse's opinion on everything, like what you should wear to the park, but you need to make sure you include him or her on the important decisions, the decisions that are going to change your life together in any way. This could include something as small as dinner plans or something as big as applying for a new job. Making decisions together is a great opportunity for couples to bond over thoughtful communication and problem solving. It also shows your spouse that you value and respect his or her opinion.
2. We share the money, honey
This goes along with the first tip when it comes to decision-making but it deserves its own section because financial problems can often lead to divorce so they must be taken very seriously. Every marriage chooses to handle finances differently, but here are some general guidelines.
Don't ever make a big purchase without first talking it over and coming to an agreement that you are both comfortable with. Even if you have separate banking accounts, the money that comes into the home is still used to support your family. When a husband or wife takes the stance, "It's my money, I can spend it how I want to," that person is not only damaging his relationship with his spouse, who has to make up the difference, but he is also crippling his family's ability to succeed.
In my marriage, my husband and I have a joint account and we don't even go out to lunch without texting and asking if it's okay with the other one. It's not that we can't, it's that we respect one another enough to communicate. Not only does a text from my husband give me a heads up that something is coming out of the account, but it gives me the opportunity to send a text back telling him to have fun and that I love him. We are in constant communication because we choose to be.
3. Your game face is the same face
This is an important thing to remember when raising children. Sometimes parents don't always agree, and that's OK, but don't disagree in front of the children. When the children are present, stand united in your decisions with them.
If you are not in harmony with each other, then go to your room and discuss it. If you talk it over and come to a different decision, then you can go back out to your children and tell them that after discussing it, you have decided to change your answer. When you stand united, your children will know that they cannot pit one parent against the other because you always have each other's back. Your children will respect you more and you will appreciate knowing you will always have someone to back you up.
4. A job done by one is never fun
Since my husband and I were first married, we have done chores together. We cook together, we bathe the children together, we do the dishes together, we fold laundry together, we even clean the bathroom together. Last week, I sat by him and handed him tools as he fixed the brakes on our car. My husband does not for a second think that I am the woman, therefore I should clean the house. He is right in there by my side helping me every step of the way. He helps with our children, with their school work, and with their bedtime routine.
So many mothers are tired and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work they have to do to run a household. My husband knows what is required to run a household because he does half the work. If more husbands and wives shared the household duties, there would be more time for family time and a lot less tired moms. In return, I help grade his papers, edit his writing, homeschool our kids and market his books. Together, we help carry one another's burdens. We work together and because we do, we get more done. We get to spend time together while we're working and when we are through, we have more time to spend with our children.
When couples learn to work together and make decisions as one, communication will become a natural part of their everyday life. Each conversation will bring them closer and that togetherness will lead couples to naturally put the needs of their spouse first. Working together as a couple will ensure a couple remains that way.