A good relationship is a partnership where both parties are willing to do what is necessary for the good of the team.
Sometimes in relationships, the "I-my" dynamic develops. This is the result of not having the mentality of a person who is in a partnership. You can be coupled with a person and, yet have the mindset a person who is a single. Obviously, that is not the way to a winning relationship.
I loved the tug-o'-war event during field day in elementary school. The sheer energy, strength, and teamwork that it took to keep your class from being yanked beyond the marker, was always exciting to me. The key was a firm grip, controlled lean and solid feet positioning. The entire class would do their parts individually to contribute to the strength of the team.
Two people in a relationship should not be in tug-o'-war against one another, but against all of the trials and obstacles that could come to oppose them. You have to be a team and be willing to work together in order to be able to overcome difficult times.
One of the best ways that you can begin working together in your partnership is by sharing the load. Sharing the load is not always about splitting expenses; sometimes it is about doing what you can to contribute to the team.
Even if you have a partnership where one person is primarily responsible for the living expenses, chipping in and doing a little can do a lot for sustaining a healthy relationship. It signals to your partner that you appreciate all of his/her contributions and sacrifices to maintain the household and to provide for you and the family.
There are several ways to demonstrate your appreciation for your partner's efforts without paying a single bill. Brainstorm some ways that you can make your partner's day -- every day -- a bit easier. Could you be sure there is a satisfying meal at the beginning and end of his/her day? Could you help him/her in the yard or with the children? Could you maintain the upkeep of your home? Maybe you could make plans to spend some alone time together. Or, maybe you could allow him/her some alone time with friends to unwind and relax. A little "he/she-time" can do much to re-energize a person and prevent burnout in his/her relationship.
If you are in a partnership where both of you work, yet only one of you takes on the buck of the household expenses, then imagine how good your partner would feel if you used some of the income you earned to do something thoughtful for him/her? You could even consider contributing to your partnership by giving him/her an allowance to use as they wish. Sometimes when one person is taking on the entire load, they have little left over to enjoy. This would be a perfect way to say "thank you for what you do." After all, there is no sweeter feeling than knowing your labor is not in vain and that you are appreciated. It is often the motivation one needs to keep going physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When a crisis occurs like the one with the economy where so many families lost income, or some other threat to the stability of your team, you have to have the mindset to grip, plant your feet, dig deep, and lean. If you both commit to doing your part, you'll be poised for victory, even before there is ever a war.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.