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Being A Team
Larry & Debra Redalia
Today is marks thirty-three years of being a couple. We’ve been through a lot together and have had our ups and downs, but today we are happier than ever and our relationship keeps getting better and better.
In this post, we are sharing what we've learned about being a team. We’ve each written a part and together they convey the whole concept.
LARRY: Team Mates
Over the last thirty-three years, since my Debra and I first met, an amazing transformation has taken place in our relationship.
When we first got together, each of us were operating with a "me first" viewpoint. We were both looking for love and wanting a lifetime partner, but we each wanted that for ourselves as individuals. We didn't spend much time considering how what we were doing as individuals would affect the other person.
We did make an effort to not grossly offend the other, such as we kept to our mutual agreement to show up for dates and not go out with other people. But we were still operating as two individual people in a relationship.
From this viewpoint, it was easy to fall into an oppositional stance with each other. I remember our first fight. We had just started living together and needed to purchase some bath towels. We went shopping together and had no problem selecting oversized bath sheets in a blue we both liked. But then...Debra wanted to buy six and I only wanted to buy four. We had agreed before we went shopping that we would pay for these towels half-and-half. When we discovered our "difference of opinion" on this matter, we both ground in our heels and fought for our respective positions. We finally ended the fight by "compromising" and buying five towels. It was a lose-lose--neither of us got what we wanted.
Despite the unifying effect of our love for each other, this oppositional behavior continued for years, and eventually ended in divorce.
After we got back together and made an intention to learn how to have a wonderful relationship, we learned how to be a team. One day we went to a seminar, where teams were being discussed. The solution is so, so simple. If you are in a game—which a marriage is—there is both cooperation and opposition. In a football game, for example, there are two teams. Within each team, there is cooperation—everyone on the team works together to win. The other team is the opposition. In a marriage, most couples oppose each other, but we realized that in our marriage, we could be a team and cooperate together to win working on various projects and to solve the problems of life that opposed us. This made an enormous difference in our relationship. It has created a "we" out of two "me's".
This does not mean we have given up our individuality. Not at all! We both are still responsible for ourselves, but now we also exist as a unit we both belong to, contribute to and benefit from. We consider what is best for us as well as for ourselves individually (and often realize that what is best for us together is also what is best for each of us as individuals). From this position of operating as us instead of "you and me," we together find optimum solutions where we both win instead of compromising and both losing. We each are caring for and watching out for the other as well as ourselves.
And here is an interesting thing. Each of us as individuals are now operating and even thinking as a team to reach our shared goals. Of course, we operate as a team when we are together, that is now easy for us. But even when we are not physically together, we consider and operate on what is best for our team as well as ourselves. Like the other night I was watching television and a show came on that I thought Debra would want to see, so I recorded it for her. It was a small thing for me to do, but Debra had a big feeling of being cared about when she found out I had taped the show.
This change in view took several years to implement, but now we live from it. We both feel secure in our togetherness and know that nothing can break us up. We know with certainty that we are together. This is so natural to us now that we expect other couples to operate from this team viewpoint too, and are surprised when we see other couples being oppositional with each other.
Being a team can only be done as spiritual beings. Though we dwell in two bodies, we truly have united in one heart.
Such is the transformation of true love.
DEBRA: Team As the Basis of All Relationships
Larry actually wrote the above about 15 years ago. Since, we have continued being a team and our sense of love and togetherness has continued to grow.
As I read Larry’s story a few weeks ago—in our current time where there is much opposition—it became clear to me just how useful the concept of being a team can be at many different levels of life.
Being a couple I think is a first level of learning to be a team, which then can be taught to children, so a family becomes a team, And once family members learn to be a team, then neighborhoods can be teams, and businesses can be teams and states and countries and even the world can be a team.
The basic idea is that instead of people opposing each other, we can band together at various levels to solve an issue, with the issue being the opposition instead of another person or group.
When we start to bring other people into a team with us, relationships start being about how can everyone involved have a good experience, be friendly toward each other, protect one another and make sure everyone has what they need to survive.
And when that intent to be a team spreads out into the world, everyone is included and the challenge for all become how can we all thrive together.
Understanding the concept of being a team and implementing it in practice in our relationship is one of the cornerstone of success in our relationship. We can see how it could solve a lot of problems in the world.