Support and Strength

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 6:18
Posted in category Anti-Aging

Marriage is definitely an exercise in teamwork — or should be. Couples need to help and support one another as things change in their lives. I was reminded of this when a good friend said she had a job offer clear across the country. It was so important to her that her spouse be as excited as she was, and as committed to this major career move.

There are a million details in any large corporate move — from selling a house and packing the belongings to finding a whole new support system and leaving all the old friends and family behind. I knew my friend would need her husband’s help. And I know them both well enough to know she would get it.

We all have heard a million times that marriage is about cooperation, but making that real on a day-to-day basis is the essence of a successful marriage, as it would be in any partnership.

When my husband was building a new business, I made sure I had medical benefits for the family so he didn’t have to worry about them. When I had to go off to Hungary to research a book I was writing, he took care of the kids and the house for three weeks. My mother lives across the driveway from us because years ago, my husband suggested my parents come to live with us so we could help them through their old age.

The pattern repeats itself over and over again. When one friend’s wife took on a high-powered new job, he took over paying the bills, a job she’d done for years. That gave her more time to devote to her new tasks.

Each time spouses help one another in a marriage, they strengthen the bonds of the union, showing by deeds, not just words, that they are “for” each other. Support can come in big and small examples, but it needs to be consistent and it needs to be appreciated on both sides. More importantly, good marriages have an environment where mutual aid is the norm, the underpinning of all undertakings.

When spouses feel this way, kids help to pick up the slack and pitch in for family efforts, too. And this, in turn, teaches children the value of teamwork in personal relationships.

Life has its twists and turns, its changes and challenges. Couples who can face those twists and turns as adventures and shared burdens will triumph in the end. They will forge a successful team where each one’s achievements and sacrifices are appreciated by the other. They will build from strength to strength to form a more perfect union.

Another friend we were with just today was taking pictures of all the “tourist” spots we visited together in Connecticut, so that he could build a picture page on the Internet and send them to his wife, along with his commentary, while she is clear across the country caring for her aging mother for a month. He knew the words and pictures would ease her path and make her smile at the end of a long day of helping her mother come to terms with a growing disability.

He didn’t talk about it as teamwork; he just acted like a team member.

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