When men gather together to form a group, we usually refer to that as a “team”. Webster defines “team” as: a group of people who compete in a sport, game, etc., against another group: a group of people who work together. Most men understand the concept of working with other men, either at sports or even at work, but have we ever thought of our relationship with our wives and families as a “team”?
The goal of any team is rather simple to understand – it is to win! Whether it is to win the big game or to win at the objectives set before the work team, the ultimate goal is to win!
When I was a young man growing up, I use to get together with some other guys and play football in a near by grassy field. We would arrive early to mark out the field, set the end zones in place and begin to pick the teams and pick a scorekeeper. This guy had the most important job of all – to keep track of how many points each team had and when time expired, to announce the winner. Without the scorekeeper, we were just practicing – and if you don’t keep score, you never really know who wins.
Enter the man in marriage; we come to marriage as individuals, having our own plans, thoughts and ideas about the game of life! But once we say those two words, “I do”, we become part of team. It is no longer what’s best for me, but it’s what’s best for the team – that’s if we look at our marriage as a team!
This was God’s plan for marriage – in Mark 10:8 it states: and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.
This concept is not only found in Mark’s Gospel but also in Genesis 2:24 and again repeated in Ephesians 5:31. An important aspect of the marriage union is that it is not only between two people, there is a third person involved in our marriages… its God! When we understand that we are not only part of a team with our wives, but with God as well, our team takes on a whole new meaning. It’s no longer about us but becomes about Him and His Will for our marriage!
For any team to be successful, they must have the same goal in mind. They must work together to accomplish that goal. In marriage, the goal can be as simple as making life better for each other, but if only one is committed to that goal, it will never be accomplished, we will never “win” the big game.
In the NFL, there are many “games” that lead up to the ultimate game, the Super Bowl – teams work hard all year, each and every game to get the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl and earn the title of world champions, just imagine if we looked at our marriages that way. Football players work hard each and every practice, learning what works, what didn’t work the week before and they also watch game films of their opponents.
Did you know that we, those blessed to be married, have an opponent that wants us to lose… he is called satan! He has one thing on his mind, to destroy the family, the union between a man and woman and God Himself.
So what can we do? Listed below are some things we can do to strengthen our team:
1. PRAY – pray with our wives and for our wives each day. It may seem like a hard thing to get started but once we get into the practice of it, we will begin to win the battles of life. Pray with our children as a team – there is strength in numbers so increase your prayer strength!
2. Spend time in God’s Word with our wives and children! (This should be separate from our alone time with God) Get into a good bible study on marriage and family – there are some great bibles studies available for marriages. Get one and get started – we men are the spiritual leaders of our families, we need to begin to step into the role of “captain” of our “team”!
3. Practice, practice, practice! If we practice loving our wives and children each day, when the “big game” comes along, we will be ready to win – you see through the game of life, there will be opportunities to put into practice those things we have learned along the way. And what’s the big game – it’s those times when temptation comes (it will come too!) which leads to
4. Know your opponent! – Learn from scripture what God has shared with us about our opponent – how he can disguise himself as an angel of light (you know the lady at the office who wants to share a hug or a late night meeting… or the guys who invite you to go out after work rather than go home to be with their wives) be aware of the schemes of the enemy and form a game plan to stand firm!
Make sure our wives know that are an important part of the team! Meaning that we must talk to our wives, give support, let them know and understand what we are thinking!
These are just a few suggestions that can help our “team” win the big game but as in all games, there will be winners and losers – and a real winner is one who gets up after losing – when we falter in the game of marriage, we need to get back up, go back to the playbook, watch films and begin to form a new game plan WITH our team mates! If we have let them down, we need to man up and apologize, we need to get close to God and to her again to be the best team we can be… because believe it or not, our children are watching!!
-Tom Sember is the former men's ministry director for the New York District of the Assemblies of God. He currently is a men's ministry speaker and author and works closely with Mantour Ministries during our Mantour Conferences. He also writes a daily devotional for the Assemblies of God National Men's Ministry. To connect with Tom or to receive his daily devotional, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org