The Same Team || Mary Carver | marycarver.com
My husband and I spent our 13th wedding anniversary with a marriage counselor. It was more romantic than it
sounds. And while I can’t tell you we have a perfect relationship now, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary this
year in a much better, healthier place than we could have imagined on that day seven years ago. What helped
us most was our lousy counselor and the knowledge that we were on the same team.
At first our counselor seemed nice, but eventually we came to the conclusion that she was actually a terrible
counselor. She asked bizarre questions, focused on the least important part of our discussions, and assigned us
ridiculous homework. And each time we met with her, we had to remind her about our background, our problem,
and our progress. So the counselor we saw wasn’t great, but coming to that conclusion with my husband,
though – Kind of great.
Throughout our relationship, the thing that glued us together was the mindset of “we’re in this thing together;
we’re on the same team.” And we’d forgotten that. Being on the same team meant we fought together, not
fought each other. It meant we recognized the true enemy (hint: it wasn’t either one of us or even our counselor!).
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against
the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. - Ephesians 6:12
After years of unmet expectations and disappointments, we’d unknowingly worked ourselves into a combative
relationship. It was me against him, and neither of us was winning. When we took time to reflect on our
relationship – the good and the bad parts – we remembered that the times we felt the closest were when we
worked together on a project, when we faced a common “enemy,” when we cheered for the same team. Nothing
changed our attitudes faster or led to more healing than when we realized that the team we needed to cheer
for was us. As teammates we began talking more, problem solving and coming up with ways we could fix our
mess together. We turned back toward each other, linking arms and leaning on our faith, becoming as strong
as a cord of three strands (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
I’m not telling you that everything was roses and sunset walks after that. It was certainly a process and
something we still have to remind ourselves occasionally, so we don’t fall back into old habits and turn on each
other at the slightest provocation. We have to remind ourselves which team we’re cheering for.
I’m thankful for that counselor, even though she was far from what we initially hoped. I’m grateful our sessions
with her reminded us that we were in this together – and that we are fighting for this, for us – together.
• What helps you remember that you and your spouse are on the same team?
• What do you need to say or do that will make your team stronger?
Mary Carver is a wife, mom, writer and recovering perfectionist who lives for good books, dark chocolate and
television marathons. After a lifetime of trying harder and doing more, she’s finally learning to give up on perfect
and get on with life. Read more at marycarver.com