When I sat down to try to write a post with marriage advice, it all boiled down to one word: teamwork. Teamwork in marriage is the glue. Here’s how that plays out for us!
Whenever I ask you guys for blog post topics or questions, someone always writes “marriage advice.”
I’m always a little humbled by this because 1) I don’t have a perfect track record with marriage ( 😮 ) and 2) marriages are so personal – what could I possibly share?
But I asked Thomas over dinner: “What do you think is the glue that makes our marriage work?”
His response without hesitation was T E A M W O R K.
Teamwork In Marriage
I think that physical attraction, respect, having similar life values and habits, and good ole love are the foundations marriage. However, I think what really makes two people enjoy their marriage is feeling like there is equality and support. Here are a few ways we work as we team.
Teamwork In The Household
Let me be clear: we both do all the things. We both cook, clean, tidy, repair. But we also have kind of an unofficial division of responsibility that we just naturally fell into when we moved in together. We play to our strengths and schedules.
For me, I generally: unload the dishwasher every morning, make the bed and do the linen laundry, do the household organizing ( 😎 ), manage the budget, shop for household supplies like TP or dish soap.
For Thomas, he generally: takes out the trash and recycling, manages the yard and mows the grass, does the fixing and repairs, makes the coffee, goes grocery shopping.
(The grocery shopping was something I always did in the past and enjoyed, but I gave this to him because he loves it and is out of the house running errands more.)
Occasionally I take out the trash or Thomas unloads the dishwasher, but there is never any passive aggression over someone “not helping” enough in one of these areas.
We pretty much equally divide the cooking, tidying, and personal laundry. (I am probably forgetting some things!)
Teamwork In Parenting
We do a LOT of tag-teaming in parenting.
For example, most nights one person cleans the kitchen while the other gives Birch a bath. Then we switch! Whoever was cleaning puts Birch to bed while the other person finishes up the kitchen and helps get Mazen along in his routine (shower, teeth, etc.).
We don’t have an official schedule or anything so usually one of us just starts one process and the other naturally does the other. Or we ask the other “would you rather clean or do bath?”
On the weekends, we also will swap who is in charge of the kids and who gets free time to workout and shower. When it feels like an even trade of time, we never resent each other and know our turn will come. Thomas will play golf with his buddies, and then I’ll go have wine with my girlfriends.
Thomas loves to take the kids out and about, and I am happy to play games on the floor or in the backyard, so we tend to do more of what we like when we’re with the kids.
Teamwork In Cooking
Note: I am a Blue Apron partner.
Meal planning used to be a bit of a pain point for us! Thomas likes classic recipes (meat, starch, veg). You guys know I am a crazy mixologist and love new ingredients and one-pot meals.
We also just weren’t very good at making a meal plan and sticking to it. Thomas LOVES going to the grocery store, so we also had some snafus with the fact that I was making the meal plan and grocery list and when he’d get to the store, he would not know what some of the ingredients were, where to find them, or how to be flexible with substitutions because he didn’t know the recipe context. It got complicated at times!
Alas, Blue Apron has been such a great solution for our marriage! Thomas goes to the store each week and just buys the staples he keeps in his head. And the meal plan and recipe groceries come directly from Blue Apron.
The way Blue Apron recipes are written really help us share the cooking, too. At a quick glance we can divvy up the steps of a recipe between us. I often am the one doing the prep and sides/vegetables of the recipes. Thomas is usually the one in charge of the meat.
While you certainly could do this with any recipe you’re making together, the consistency of the Blue Apron ones make it super simple to divide the same way over and over again.
While I’m chopping and making the sauce, he is prepping the meat. I’ll say “I’ll take prep and steps 1 and 2, and you start the meat with step 3.” We work together, either with Birch between us or taking turns watching him as the steps progress. We are able to finish the recipe in much less time than if just one of us was doing it all.
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Teamwork In Emotional Support
Coincidence or not, it seems that when one of us is up, the other is down.
While our businesses are quite different in industry, we share a lot of the same challenges. We often relate to one another’s struggles. We try to be good sounding boards and bounce ideas off of each other.
And when life challenges arise, one of us can take on more of the household/kids/parenting so the other person can decompress.
I also can’t say enough good things about these two episodes of the Life Coach School podcast. They were life-changing for me in understanding how people get relationships all tangled up into conditional expectations and poor communication:
The Crazy-Making Things
I’ll end with a passage that struck home for me when I read it the summer before we got married. Upon reading it for the first time, I knew we had to incorporate it into our ceremony. I think this is just beautifully written and drills down the “marriage is teamwork” message.
I can’t tell you how many times I am reminded of that last line when Thomas does something so “him” 😆
He also forgives quickly and voluntarily every.single.time. This Scorpio takes a little longer to reduce the sting!
My friend Lauren loves using the phrase “doing life together.” From the moment I met Thomas, I always loved “doing life together” because our rhythms and routines were so in sync.