Dating is the time when you have a unique opportunity to get to know someone on a deeper level and determine if your relationship is marriage material.
While there are certainly many important aspects to take into account when considering marriage, whether or not you and your partner are good teammates is a crucial but often overlooked point. Long-term relationships and marriage can add many wonderful elements to our lives, but as we grow more comfortable and settle into the daily routines of life together, the relationships become less about those butterfly feelings and more about the partnership you have with your significant other.
This isn’t to say that you can’t have romance after a certain point. You can (and should) romance your partner and spend time having fun and continuing to get to know them, but priorities change with seasons of life, and while date nights are important, they aren't the end all and be all that they once were. Finding a solid teammate is definitely not the only thing that makes for a good spouse, but it's an element of your relationship worth serious consideration.
Teammates Respect Each Other
We live in a time where people are concerned about being put into a box and are reluctant to be stereotyped into traditional gender roles. While I think there are some innate qualities of men and women that make women more inclined to stay home with kids and men more inclined to work and provide for their families, there are many couples who deviate from these traditional roles and are successful at balancing family, work, and the rest of their busy lives. In order to be successful in any setting, the couple must first establish a mutual foundation of respect for one another. Any good coach will require respect among teammates, and romantic relationships should be treated no differently.
In order to be successful in any setting, the couple must first establish a mutual foundation of respect for one another.
This respect must first be for the other person as an individual, but must also translate into respect for their values, career choices, and life-long pursuits and aspirations. Being a teammate means supporting your partner in all of these areas, and if there is a lack of respect, then there will also be a lack of support. Whether it be a hobby or a career aspiration, a lack of respect will make it incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible to support your significant other in the ways they need.
Teammates Value Each Other
If mutual respect exists among people, they are able to truly value the other person and what they bring to the table. Just like on any sports team, partners in a relationship also have to value the other person and the skills they have. No two people are exactly alike and while those differences can bring challenges (check out Evie’s Opposites Attract article for more details), they can also bring new benefits and value to your life that you lacked as an individual.
Just like on any sports team, partners in a relationship also have to value the other person and the skills they have.
My husband is great with all things technological, an area I seriously struggle with. While I can get annoyed with his tendency to mess around with our internet at home, I know that he does so in order to ensure we have the most efficient setup that provides the highest quality. Despite sometimes being annoying, I see the value in his skills and how he is trying to lend them towards creating our home and our life together. I truly value his talent, but more importantly his desire to work together with me to build the best life for ourselves.
Teammates Depend on Each Other
I’m sure everyone heard “there is no I in team” at some point during their athletic endeavors of childhood or during their adult life. Be it on your little league baseball team or in a corporate setting, this mantra is something you’ve probably rolled your eyes over at least once before. While often overused and made into a joke, there is still truth to the statement, and there is something especially significant about this sentiment when it comes to relationships. No one wants to be on a team where one player is the focus, and no one wants to be in a relationship like that either.
Just like different positions in a sport have a different purpose, so too do different individuals in a relationship. A common goal still exists among the players (and the couple), but the roles are different, and therefore each has their own purpose. No matter how you’re splitting the chores, who is making sure the bills get paid, or which one of you is packing the kid’s lunches, the share of the burden is equal, and you have full trust that you can depend on the other to keep up their end of things.
No one wants to be on a team where one player is the focus, and no one wants to be in a relationship like that either.
There is profound wisdom in acknowledging the reality of being in a relationship where both people are equal in the value they bring to the relationship. While they may certainly bring different things to the table, there is a unique value in each of those qualities, and they should be acknowledged. Not only should these things be acknowledged and respected, but they should be sources of refuge and dependability.
There will inevitably be times in life when stressful situations arise, and leaning into the strength of your partner will help ease the difficulties that these times bring. Being different people who worry about different things in different ways allows you to either turn to or turn away from one another in these times of stress. Cultivating a deep partnership allows you to seek comfort and solace in the arms of your partner, knowing that they will be sources of strength and support in trying times. Although it certainly helps to be able to depend on someone in times of difficulty, it's also a beautiful thing to have someone to share the times of joy with as well.
Celebrating the successes of one other allows you to build each other up through support and encouragement, and show the other that their dreams and goals are of value to you too. Working as teammates who stand together, experience hardship together, and fight for a life well lived together is perhaps one of the greatest and most underrated aspects of married life.