Before we got married, dreaming came easy.
He was living in England, and I was living in Portland, Or.
I would sit on my doorstep on the phone with him and the muscles in my cheeks would grow tired from all the smiling. For hours we could talk of possibility and the life we would make together.
Mariachi bands would serenade us.
We would watch sunsets on horseback.
Land on pristine lakes in a private plane he would learn to fly.
Get married a hundred times in a hundred different ways because we loved each other that much and why not? We could do anything.
Except, once we were living together, we didn’t.
And it didn’t just feel like we would get to our big dreams someday, it felt like we lost our power.
We said our vows in a bar, which could have been romantic had we really wanted it that way, but both of us knew something was off. I sobbed on our wedding night because the rushed way we became man and wife felt like a mockery of our love instead of a celebration of it, and there was no back in time to do it again, differently.
We were the couple that could dream anything, and in some moments, with just the right amount alcohol, believe anything too.
But what our first year of marriage taught us when not one of our grand plans unfolded into a life we now shared, was that loving each other was one thing, and learning how to be a team was another.
Becoming a Team
To be a team you need to do more than brainstorm possibility and toast to the future; you need to be able to come up with clear plan and strategy to work your way, step by step to the goal. And, equally important, you need to be able to negotiate roles and trust your partner to fulfill those roles. You need to be able to forgive them when they don’t. You need to be able to encourage one another through the valley experiences, and have enough fortitude and grace to not quit when you hate each other’s guts.
We just celebrated 7 years of marriage, 6 years of intentional teamwork. After our first year together, one failure after the other, we had a tear-filled “state of the union” where we admitted to one another that we didn’t want to live like this anymore.
Life was passing by and the ache of being those people with brazen tongues and zero follow through made us want to drown our self-awareness in wine and booze. It was that, or actually change.
We chose change. And that meant learning what how to be The Number One Team in the Universe, for our shared world.
I recommitted not just to being Ronnie’s wife, but to being a woman who would help him clear a path so that his personal and our mutual dreams could come true. He did the same for me.
Over the next 6 years we saw vision after vision come true and our power came back.
You may have seen the hashtag on instagram #couplegoals. Couples tag pics that inspire their travel, family, fitness, romantic goals and more. We know that everyone, like us, wants to dream and believe their dreams can come true.
The question is how do you accomplish all your hopes and dreams, both personal and shared, in marriage? How do you make your couple goals more than a hashtag?
Do you spend your 30s and 40s maximizing your earning potential and stock-piling resources to one day tackle the dreams you laid out in your 20s?
Maybe that’s one way. But that hasn’t been our way.
If that doesn’t feel like your style either, there is another way.
It’s called TEAMWORK.
It’s so simple, but don’t let it’s simplicity fool you into thinking, “Oh, I got that!”.
Teamwork needs all of you. And all of your man.
Teamwork is a quality of being. All of us can cultivate it, but first we have to stop assuming it supposed to come naturally. It doesn’t come naturally. What comes naturally is fight or flight.
And fight or flight, while great for survival, isn’t so great for marriage. And it’s not very helpful when it comes to your dreams either.
And though I’m so happy you are reading these words right now, I have to remind you what you already know. Teamwork isn’t something you read about in a blog post and then recap briefly to your spouse while handing him the garbage to take out.
Teamwork is something you practice, live, fail at, wrestle with and ultimately recommit to, just like your marriage vows, again and again and again.
You know our theme here: it’s Romance & Adventure. Two poetic words, that require a lot of practicality to actually enjoy.
Take the First Practical Step
So let’s do something practical.
Download the R&A Roadmap for Deeper Connection and get started on these 12 practices today. We'll share with you 12 simple practices that have made our life more balanced and our marriage more of a positive team experience.