The NFL just crowned their 2019 champion, The New England Patriots. Likewise, the NBA and NCAA will begin the playoffs to find their respective champions. Whatever teams win, everyone will race to try and figure out their winning formula. Why? Because everyone wants to be a winner and the proof is often in the pudding. There is a recipe for success and those who truly wish to win will study it and master it to be champions in the future.
The question I have for you is do you a winning marriage? It is a choice. You could a losing marriage if you want. The national divorce rate is 35% for first marriages and 65% for second-plus marriages. That averages out to roughly a 50% divorce rate across the board. What is shocking is that this rate pertains to Christian marriages too. How many of know that being Christian does not safeguard you from having marital issues and problems? However, what if I told you that there was a winning formula for your marriage as well. You would want to learn and master it? I certainly home so because who likes to lose?
The research is clear. There is a winning formula for marriage.
Connection + Conflict Resolution + Teamwork = A Winning Marriage
Let’s start with connection. I often ask couples to tell me their love story of how they met and fell in love. Each couple details an elaborate and consistent process of talking, dating, courting and getting to know their spouse. Isn’t it amazing how two strangers go from total strangers to lovers over the course of time? How though? It’s simple. They connected and formed an emotionally intimate bond that resulted in being able to “feel” one another and agreeing to enter into relationship and marriage.
The problem, however, is that connection is not guaranteed in marriage. In reality, it must be continuously nurtured, stoked, and maintained in order not to fade. Think about your cell phone. What happens when you go too long without connecting it to a charger? It dies, and the same thing happens in marriage when you neglect quality time, dates, and frequent communication. It’s very common for divorcing couples to indicate that the main problem in their marriage is that they simply “grew apart”. Winning marriages, in contrast, don’t take their connection for granted and develop rituals to stay consistently connected.
The second part of the formula is the ability to successfully and quickly resolve conflict. Let me ask you this? How good are you at resolving conflict with your better half? The answer to that question may very well make or break your marriage. Why, research reveals that winning marriages have at least a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative exchanges. In contrast, losing marriages (ones headed for divorce) have a 1:1 ratio which means that they argue as much as they get along.
This rate of conflict is simply unbearable, and many couples call it quits to get peace of mind and to avoid damaging the kids. Surprisingly, winning marriages have conflict as well. However, they made a decision to invest in a combination of couples’ communication courses, marital workshops/retreats, and/or counseling to develop the skill to peacefully and effectively resolve conflict under fire.
The last part of the winning formula is great teamwork. Modern marriage expectations involve two partners who are both ambitious, successful, and supportive of one another. Winning marriages have what is called “The Michelangelo Phenomenon” where each partner makes the other more beautiful and successful. Some great example couples with phenomenal teamwork are Barack and Michelle Obama, Devon Franklin and Meagan Goode, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, etc.
They work both independently and collectively to make their life dreams come true as a team with neither party feeling short-changed. Losing marriages, however, do just the opposite. They tend to have some combination of unequal drive, compete with one another, and/or consistently under support their partner’s dreams.
This lack of support can happen easily, especially with the addition of children, work stress, a major trauma (loss of a parent, affair, job loss) and/or focus on winning at work but not at home. Additionally, teamwork is next to impossible when marital connection and conflict resolution skills are limited or nonexistent. In a winning marriage, career success is not valued as worth personal failure at home. Instead, winning marriages emphasize success in all areas of their lives. Hence, they invest heavily in life, family and personal coaching to being able to manage the many important elements of their marriage, personal life and family.
Why am I telling you this? It’s simple, I want you to accept that you can’t just wing it and have a winning marriage when it comes to teamwork. You need a plan and must work that plan to perfection.
Okay, there you have it… the formula for a winning marriage. You are healed, right? Wrong. Knowledge is only half of the battle. True victory comes when you put in the work, get the best coaches on your team, and practice making the necessary adjustments until you win.