Partnership – I win because you win

At the time of planning this blog post, the question about what to say about MLK day in the US while linking it to the topic at hand… seemed impossible to answer.

However that said, the freedom to sit here and type away a topic… is to easily taken for granted. I am grateful to have this opportunity to work on a skill of mine and share it with you all.

The link I can find is this… we all have to work as a team to make success of large scales work. One person can only do but so much, but a team of people can do that much more. Much like the truth that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

This was true when MLK worked to pull together massive civil disobedience and is also true today whenever anyone wants to make a lasting impact that will touch others.

We remember MLK’s peaceful legacy. Thank you Martin Luther King Jr!

In this post today, we will try to take some of the ideas of peaceful coalition work and apply it to the way relationships can succeed as a team today.

Partnerships- I win because you win

In the individualist society in which this author lives, the concept of wining because your partner wins… often sounds odd. Everyone is on the survival of the fittest kick and few thing highly of their partner. Before anyone gets up in arms about that last sentence, think about it.

How many husbands will actually put their wife’s needs ahead of their own in all that they do? Many guys do not think too much about what their wives think when deciding what to eat at lunch at work. Doubt women think that much about their men when shopping on their lunch breaks.

Its not a good or bad thing. Most people in this society will think more about what’s in it for them so that they can feel like they’re winning. It’s kind of like a human survival instinct.

However, in the urban advance societies, life is not always at risk like it was in the jungles of ancient times. We have learned to work as societies a long time ago, even when we act like we don’t know how.

In order for a relationship to work, both parties have to invest in the relationship. It’s not a thing of “it takes two to tango” but more of “we give 100% in order to tango”.

In more simple terms, in a relationship, there is no room for assumptions. We have to share our thoughts in order for the other to know what we’re thinking. Sadly, we assume they know on the count that we’ve been together long enough. That is a setup for conflict.

Even the most well oiled machines need plans to know what to do. The military has some of the closest connections within teams. People need to know each other very well. If they don’t, then, in combat, things can go wrong fast because no one knows each other enough to trust each other to do the right thing for the team.

If the military drills into each soldier’s heads that they’re part of a team, why is it that relationships think they can act like they’re not teams? The military will drill and drill and practice and practice… over and over… to make sure that everyone is on the same page before going out into battle.

Couples will not communicate enough, will not plan enough, will not practice enough, and are shocked when they run into problems during the execution phase of a plan.

Quick story before continuing.

A couple this author knows was planning to reveal the gender of their second child to their first born. The father said he wanted to use balloons for the reveal. He knew that his oldest daughter love discovering hidden treasures and puzzles. His idea was to have a treasure hunt to uncover clues hidden inside balloons so that the whole family could participate and enjoy.

His wife thought it was a great idea to do a gender reveal using balloons as well. However, she was thinking about doing it the way her friends had done it on Pinterest. For her, it was great that her hubby was on the same page as she was and would do something really cool with her.

Sadly, neither made sure the other understood exactly what they had in mind. They heard the common theme of using balloons. It meant totally different things for each other. Worse, neither of them had discussed how and when to do the reveal let alone when to reveal that information to others outside the home.

The day the parents found out the gender of the coming second child, they both set out to plan how their reveal. Because the husband’s idea was a bit more labor intense, he assumed he was taking the lead to do the work. Because wifey had been planning this a long time, she had figured exactly how to execute the idea quickly.

To the husband’s great dismay, he came home to find the “traditional” reveal bag ready to go with all the appropriate blue balloons already inflated as well as all the decorations saying “it’s a boy”.

Before the husband could ask any questions, the wife had the phone ready to go with family on video-conference. To all in witness, it appeared as though the wife was the only one who knew the gender. Everyone was pleasantly happy to find out that the family was having a boy.

You can imagine the unnecessary hurt that resulted when the wife found out how the husband felt about the way things played out. You can imagine the argument that resulted when the husband was told he was making too big a deal out of nothing. Especially when he decided to defend his feelings and wifey felt that he was acting like a big baby.

Oh, let’s not forget how the in-laws and family reacted when they found out that hubby was anything less than super thrilled and super supportive of his wife’s efforts to include their daughter in the excitement of receiving a little brother.

All that mess could have been avoided if only they had more thoroughly planned in advance how the reveal was going to take place. But, that extra work could easily be counted off as being petty… or too picky… or too micro managed… or any other ways to see things.

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