Early on in their marriage, Beth and Tom agreed to divide the household chores. One of the rules they made right as they got things started is that if one of them needed to do a load of laundry, rather than just do one small load, they’d do all of the dirty laundry at once (including the other person’s), just to get it out of the way.
Sounds like a great plan! Divide and conquer. Share the responsibility. What could go wrong?
Well, Tom quickly realized that the first thing he would run out of every week was clean underwear, and then he’d end up having to do all the laundry. And tom hated doing laundry. So, he ran to the store and bought himself 30 pairs of underwear so he’d never run out.
Two weeks later, Beth asked Tom, “Are you wearing dirty underwear?”
Tom confessed his secret. At first she was shocked, and a little frustrated. But it didn’t take long for her to laugh about it. (They still laugh about it over 20 years later.) Let’s be honest, despite being unfair, it was a pretty fantastic idea.
Tom and Beth have one of the most beautiful kinds of love. They have developed a level of comfort and familiarity with each other that is contagious. They laugh at each others jokes, playfully razz each other about their past, and they express concern and love for each other so naturally, it’s like they’re breathing.
I always wanted to know how couples like Beth and Tom got to that place of fun, comfortable, deeply connected love. Mostly because I wanted it for myself in my marriage. It was for that reason that I counted myself so incredibly lucky to be able to sit and interview them about that very thing.
Be A Team. Always.
When I asked Beth and Tom what advice they’d give to their kids on marriage, Beth talked about the importance of being united – especially in the important things. “Face life as a team and always swim in the same direction.”
One of the distinguishing features of all deeply connected couples is that they use the difficult circumstances that life throws at them to come closer together rather than allowing them to act as a wedge that drives them apart.
Whether it’s financial strife, physical ailments, emotional turmoil, or spiritual suffering, you have a choice whether you will use your pain to forge a stronger connection or use it as an excuse to pull you apart.
Be Worthy of Trust
When Tom gave his advice for a happy marriage, it perfectly complemented Beth’s (surprise surprise). He said, “Always be trustworthy and be open to communicate… even when it’s hard.”
As I reflected on his advice, I realized that the only way to create Beth’s scenario of being trusting teammates was to follow Tom’s advice first.
When safe and truly honest communication are present in a relationship, it creates the perfect atmosphere for two people to confront any obstacle together. When you don’t worry whether your partner trying to undermine you or hide things from you, it becomes infinitely easier to go up against anything that gets thrown at you. When you know that your significant other is always going to shoot straight, even when it’s uncomfortable and even sometimes hurtful, you can trust that they won’t lead you astray.
Being willing to have the hard conversations is what equips couples with the power to overcome life’s hardest trials. Your power as a couple comes from your ability to be honest.
To hear more of Beth and Tom’s story, and to soak up their amazing advice, check out their interview!
And to strengthen your own relationship, I invite you to consider what conversation you’ve been avoiding in your relationship. What have you been scared to share? Is there anything you’re hiding? If so, how can you be more honest with your partner? Or if you are already completely honest, what is the biggest challenge you’re facing as a couple right now? How can you use that challenge to bring you together rather than to drive you apart? How can you reach towards your partner rather than pushing them away in the midst of the struggle?
I promise as you practice honesty and unity in your love, it will only grow. Take the challenge. I dare you.