How Treating My Husband as My “Teammate” Makes My Marriage Stronger

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A man reaches out to help a woman up a mountain ridge.“Teamwork makes the dreamwork!”

This sweet, motivational saying is my marital motto. Somewhere along the dating trail, my husband and I called ourselves a team and it stuck. A decade later, our team has grown, and our bond is stronger than ever.

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Why Be a Team?

A team is a group of people who come together to achieve a common goal. My husband and I keep a team mindset in our goal-oriented relationship. We work hard and laugh harder. For us, it’s a great combination.

Team describes how our household functions, and on tough days, this one word reminds us that we’re working together toward success. Some days, one of us must give more to keep our family on track — it’s not 50-50, but it always adds up to 100 percent.

One benefit of being on a team is having someone to share the load. While our roles have evolved over the years, the dynamics have remained stable. When I think about what makes our team work well, three key components stand out.

Lean into Strengths

Instead of trying to make things “even,” we lean into our strengths for completing household tasks. Our “divide and conquer” approach centers on getting things done, not who does it.

Like most moms, I carry a hefty mental load. I manage medical appointments, haircuts, activities, clothing, packing lunches, and more. I also clean, organize, and grocery shop. While this sounds like a lot, these cater to my strengths and how my mind works.

My husband manages vehicle and household repairs, pays bills, and handles school drop-off. He also manages medical care, finances, and household needs for his dad. My father-in-law doesn’t drive, and my husband’s flexible schedule helps him balance responsibilities.

Takeaway :: The team approach is about strategic division plus collaboration. Start with tasks that come naturally to you, and work together for the rest.

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Teach Each Other

Being on a team requires knowing all the plays. In marriage terms, that means teaching each other how we accomplish the task that caters to our strength. Some tasks can be taught passively by repetition, but only if our partner is an active observer. For example, as a registered dietitian, I took the lead on planning school meals for our son. My husband usually packs the lunchbox (literally) and over time, learned by observation the patterns I implement for easy meals and snacks. (Read my article “Healthy Snacks for Busy Toddlers {Snack List Included}” for tips and ideas.)

Continuous learning keeps our household running smoothly and supports personal growth.

Some tasks require active participation and practice, though. My husband took the lead on managing finances because I was (admittedly) not responsible with money. He talked with me about our finances and was patient with my level of involvement. Finances are now a topic I enjoy discussing and co-managing . . . even though he still pays the bills 😊

Takeaway :: Be open to teaching and learning. Don’t get mad when things aren’t perfect. Appreciate your partner stepping outside his or her comfort zone to learn a new skill.

Take Turns

It may seem too simple to be fruitful, but taking turns is a gamechanger! Make a schedule for joint responsibilities to lighten your loads and gain some personal time.

We take turns with bedtime. Sharing bedtime duties was more burdensome than helpful, so my husband suggested we rotate. I opposed the idea because working together seemed more efficient; but, in reality, we were both frustrated and worn out.

Now we appreciate nights off to decompress, enjoy a hobby, or go to bed early. We also cherish the one-on-one time with our son.

Takeaway :: Take turns performing specific tasks. Whether it’s cooking dinner or folding towels, make a schedule and stick to it.

Two hands form a heart together in front of a sunset.

Tips for Success

If you carry most of the household load and want to embrace a team approach, you’ll need some tools in your toolbox! Here are some strategies and examples of how things look at my house.

  • Communicate often with purpose and positivity. Be direct with expectations and feedback. Embrace a growth mindset and encourage one another. This calendar is my favorite communication tool. I learned my husband prefers a weekly calendar over monthly, and he’s better at writing things on paper than a whiteboard.
  • Support time away from home and parenting. Plan time for hobbies and friends, together and as individuals. My husband is an extrovert who values his golf time. He opts for courses closer to home and early tee times on weekends that allow ample family time after hitting the green. His favorite courses include TPC Craig Ranch, Indian Creek, Bear Creek, and Firewheel.I often spend my time away for board activities and volunteering. Currently, I serve on Frisco Education Foundation advisory board and mentor a student through the Frisco Achieve Mentoring Program. I’m also a member of the Frisco Women’s League, a non-profit that supports the community through service and charitable giving. (Read my article for “5 Tips for Maintaining Career Growth as a New Mom.”)

My neighborhood has a group chat dedicated to babysitting — mom win! As a first time mom, I love having access to vetted babysitters close to home.

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Teamwork for the Win

Treating my husband as my teammate keeps us connected and focused on our goals. Sharing the responsibilities of our household creates opportunities for personal and professional growth, and time for hobbies. Living in Dallas can be busy and overwhelming, but I love sharing the journey with my winner of a teammate!

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Jennifer Fiske
Jennifer ("Jenn") Fiske grew up in San Antonio as the only-child from a military family. She's lived in DFW for 10 years with her husband, and their family has grown to include their toddler son and a sweet puppy. Jenn is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a master's in exercise and sports nutrition. She worked with FC Dallas for several seasons while also coaching gymnastics at WOGA Frisco. She's also worked with Medical City Healthcare, DFW Airport, and Frisco ISD. Jenn is a self-proclaimed bookworm who bakes when she's stressed. Jenn loves being active through strength training and yoga and exploring parks with her son. When it comes to family feeding and nutrition, Jenn believes keeping things simple and lighthearted paves the way for enjoyable family meals.

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