Being the best partner — 08 March 2012
Teamwork creates and cements good marriages

Teamwork has been greatly promoted in business but not enough in marriage. Since being a good team member in marriage is an essential element to a successful and happy union, it is wise to develop and regularly hone your teamwork skills for a blissful partnership.

One area of conflict for couples is sharing household tasks. Teamwork discrepancy in this area is a common source of grave ill feelings between spouses.

Jelmar, the maker of CLR –Household cleaning products, conducted a national survey titled, “The CLR Chores Wars Report.” They cited that 1 out of 5 Americans admitted to arguing about housework chores on a monthly basis. They also found that “69% of women felt they did most of the work around the house, while 53% of the men disagreed, feeling they worked just as hard as the women when it came to cleaning up.”

The consequences of this disparity in perception creates feelings of being discredited, unappreciated and devalued, thus distancing mates from each other.

The basic problem stems from comparing efforts, which, by definition, should be based on cooperation not competition. When women lament, “men do not help enough,” they imply that they bear the main responsibility for housework and their spouse is not contributing enough.  In actuality, it is a shared task, as all other issues in marriage are, and must be dealt with not as favors, but as self-selected shared options.

Teamwork affords us shared knowledge for the successful attainment of tasks and life decisions, strength, durability and the pleasure and intimacy of cooperative achievements.

In business, teamwork is valued and encouraged. Karsten Jonsen, a Research Fellow at IMD, an Executive Education Institution, explains, “Teams provide a solid foundation for “thinking”, problem solving, idea generation and innovation, insofar that two heads, or more, are better than one head when synergy may be created.”

Henry Ford, expounded on the essence of teamwork on the job, “Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success.”

These work edicts amplify the intellectual and beneficial aspects of teamwork on the job. They equally apply to the life tasks that couples share.

The support, strength and security we feel when we are well partnered are priceless. Aesop, the Greek writer who taught by telling fables to illustrate his points succinctly said, “In union there is strength.” Benjamin Franklin dramatically exclaimed, “We must all hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”

Attaining our goals through mutual effort helps us feel bonded and intimate. When any sports team that was not expected to win scores the highest points both participants and fans become jubilant. “We did it,” we rejoice when a hard task, perhaps beyond our individual capabilities, was achieved through teamwork.

To create successful marital teamwork:

¨     Always regard yourself as a part of a team.

¨     Trade the personal accomplishment for the marital glow of joints achievements.

¨     Practice Shakespeare’s words, “My heart is ever at your service.”

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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