Originally published Wednesday, 04 June 2014.
When I was asked by my friend Ashleigh Slater to review her new book Team Us, of course I was happy to do it. A part of me though was on the skeptical side since there are SO many books about marriage out there. Once I started flipping through the pages it became clear that Team Us is a marriage book that everyone (engaged, married and singles) need to read. Ashleigh's poignant style of writing along with funny quips and life examples brings much wisdom to the table.
Today I am sharing with you an interview of Ashleigh. I know you will glean much from her words. If you are not married, be sure to read the final question and answer...just for YOU!
Sarah: I would love to know how you came up with the title Team Us. How does teamwork ensure a successful marriage?
Ashleigh: The title Team Us actually started as the name of chapter four; the chapter on conflict. But as my publishing team at Moody brainstormed what the final book should be called, they realized that this idea of “team us” or growing together was the central message of the book. When they emailed me the title Team Us: Marriage Together, I loved it!
For Ted and me, teamwork in marriage means that we are working and playing together for a successful season. Each of us is fully invested in seeing our marriage do well. When both a husband and a wife give marriage 100% – in the good and the bad – that goes far in creating a successful marriage. Because the truth is, we fight for what we are invested in.
Sarah: I loved your chapter on conflict. Can you give us a quick glimpse into the concepts you cover in the book...the "Me-first fighter" vs. the "Team-first fighter."
Ashleigh: When I got married, I was very much a “me-first fighter.” My first priority when Ted and I experienced conflict was to protect myself and my interests. I had a desire to be right, a lack of control over how I spoke about Ted to others, and wasn’t quick to extend grace and understanding. Over the years though, I’ve learned to approach conflict as a “team-first fighter.” This means that I now attempt to work through disagreements in a constructive, relationship-strengthening way. A way that puts the long-term health of our marriage before my own personal agenda. This includes a desire to understand where Ted is coming from, an “owning” of my personal sin, and lots of grace. As I’ve learned to do this, I’ve come to see that conflict isn’t the enemy. It’s not a threat to me. Instead it can be an adventure as Ted and I work together to resolve it and ultimately strengthen our relationship.
Sarah: Any advice for readers who aren't yet married yet desire a team-oriented marriage. How best can they prepare?
Ashleigh: I’d say by examining their expectations and making sure they are hope-filled, but also realistic. What I mean by that is this: Yes, believe that marriage is a wonderful gift from God. Because, it is. But at the same time, remember that you and whoever you do marry are both imperfect individuals. There will be times that you both disappoint each other. There will be conflict. Sometimes the other’s habits will annoy you. But prepare yourself to be ready and willing to extend grace when those moments come. To be patient. And the thing is, these are foundational principles you can practice prior to marriage. You can exercise them in your relationship with your parents, siblings, friends. Learn to practice patience with others now. Learn to extend grace and believe the best. Then, when you do get married, hopefully, these things will come more easily.
More About Ashleigh...
Ashleigh Slater is the author of the book, Team Us: Marriage Together (Moody Publishers). As the founder and editor of Ungrind Webzine and a regular contributor at several popular blogs and websites, she loves to combine the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application. Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband Ted and four daughters. To learn more, visit AshleighSlater.com or MarriageTogether.com. You can also find her on Facebook here or follow her on Twitter at @ashslater.