Moments ago I kissed my husband and children goodbye. Jason has a few hours before he has to go to work and so he volunteered to take the kids to the park so I could write. I appreciate his determination to give me time and space for this ministry, but honestly, I’m inwardly feeling conflicted. Due to his hectic work schedule, he has been away every evening and not arriving home until two or three in the morning. I have a few exciting writing and speaking projects on my end and have been needing quiet moments to focus and produce. Which means, we have been trading off responsibilities: When Jason’s at work or asleep, I am on child duty. When he is present, we trade duties.
We’ve been functioning in a tag-team marriage.
Have you ever found yourself living more as members of a tag-team rather than husband and wife? Perhaps you are currently in a season when you and your spouse are cheering for each other, but can’t work towards your goal at the same time? I’m sure all marriages will have times when the spouses sacrifice for each other or each have responsibilities that are best to tackle individually. Sometimes the your-turn-my-turn approach is the most efficient way to accomplish tasks, so it isn’t an entirely wrong. The problem lies when that lifestyle becomes a marriage’s default mode of operation, rather than the exception.
Earlier this week, I was outside playing with the children as we waited for Jason to wake up. As soon as walked into the yard, he suggested I go to the office. I stopped pushing my son on the swing and began to walk inside when I felt the Lord whisper,
“Tag-Team vs. Togetherness.”
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. ~ Proverbs 2:6
My husband and I can continue to support each other by playing tag-team with the kids, but we do so at the expense of togetherness. Our children and our marriage relationship would benefit from spending free time together. Every choice we make to live out a tag-team marriage is a choice against togetherness. If we are not careful, our marriage will begin to exist in the place of independence rather than unity.
Right now I could be catching my son at the bottom of a slide, enjoying watching the breeze blow through my daughter’s hair, or standing hand-in-hand with the love of my life. (Okay, let’s be honest, I would probably be correcting sibling rivalry or telling my son not to throw mulch, but a girl can dream!) The Dugger family could be in the midst of a special moment that would benefit our children and strengthen our marriage, but instead, I sit here typing.
I chose to tag-team over togetherness.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9
When a couple enters into a season of tag-teaming, there should have clear boundaries and upfront communication defining how long their relay relationship will last, and they must be wise enough to carve out time in the midst of those frenzied moments to choose togetherness over responsibilities. Jason and I have not done this, but we will start today. After all, the only way to overcome bad choices is by making good ones. I want to make sure that I choose togetherness more often that I decide to tag-team.
Selfishly, I’m struggling with this because I realize that it is I who will have to alter my agenda to make room for family time. On days when my to-do list seems too important to neglect, I must redefine success, set realistic expectations, and ditch my selfishness so that I can embrace the necessary changes. After all, Jesus lived a life of sacrifice, not selfishness. If I want to love as the Savior did, it will require some painful alternations. My rights, pride, desires, and expectations must take a back seat to God’s best for all those around me, especially my husband.
Making choices to put others first will place me exactly where God desires me to be, which is more important than any to-do list.
Have you ever had a tag-team season in your marriage? How did you break from the cycle?
**For those of you who might be interested, Marriage 365, is offering a Webcast this Wednesday, May 18th at 6pm (PST) on How to Save Your Marriage From Your Kids! After this week of tag-teaming, we will certainly be tuning in. You can register (for a small fee of $10) here.
**Sharing with Wedded Wednesday.