The Ties That Bind – Marriage As a Team

If you ever have been part of a winning team, you know what synergy means. It is like magic, When a couple becomes committed to each other, they become a team. It means they leave their respective families and join together to make a new family that is the first family and the roots of a new family tree. It is sort of like a seed that drops on the forest floor and becomes a brand new tree. That seed is no longer attached to the parent tree. It is not a difficult concept.

However, it seems to me that most people entering into marriage have ambivalence about the concept. They have ties to their birth family and in many cases to their former spouses, and in-laws that are difficult for them to sever.

The bottom line of this message is that when you are in a committed relationship, there is only one other person that you must consider when making your decisions and that other person is the person to whom you have committed to. You are now a grown up.

Sounds good on paper, doesn’t it?

What happens however, when your father becomes suddenly critically ill, or your mother unexpectedly arrives in town and wants to visit when you have plans with your spouse? How about when your ex is hospitalized and has no one to take care of your children when you and your spouse have non-transferable reservations for a week long cruise. If you understand that you and your spouse are a team, you are one.

This is when you must enforce the boundaries that you have previously determined. You decide together what the plan will be. You may have to make some compromises, in order to deal with the situation, but the two of you must come to agreement and respect each other’s point of view. The two of you together have more power and ability to deal with challenges than either of you would alone.

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You can argue, you can disagree, you can even join different political parties, but when it comes to an issue which involves the integrity of your family, you are always both on the same side.

Let me clarify what I mean by on the same side. You do not have to agree on the issue, but you must be coming from the perspective of what is best for each other. In more basic terms, I love you, I want what is best for you, I want what is best for us, and from my heart I believe that this is what will support our love for each other the best.

It appears that the most difficult to sever are the parental and sometimes sibling relationships. What each of you must remember is that you are no longer your mother’s son or daughter, first. You are a spouse. You have your own first family and all of your relatives; that includes, parents, step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins etc. are secondary family members. You must be gracious to them but you do not answer to them.

You are the ruler of your own first family. You get to make your own choices and though you may consider their feelings, your decisions reflect your best choices for the welfare of your first family.

You did this to me or you did this to hurt me will never be your point of view if you are a team. You can fight and you can disagree, but your partner must always know that you are coming from that place of sacred intimacy that the two of you share where you know you are both on the same side. You are a synergistic team. Your end result will always result in an outcome that is greater than either or both of you could have done alone.

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Even when it seems that you are at odds and the differences cannot be resolved, if you know that your sacred promise to be on the same team is secure, that is your commitment. Everything else about commitment is a story, Please note that if and when you come from that mean place inside of you that aims to cause pain to the one that you love, you are no longer on the same team.

Susan Sheppard is a speaker, writer, trainer and coach who is passionate about sacred intimacy and her crusade against indifferent relationships. Visit

This article first appeared in the May 2008 issue of The Phoenix Spirit

Last Updated on August 21, 2019

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