For the past 25 years of marriage, my wife Becky and I often repeat powerful words we remember from a couples retreat: "My mate is not my enemy."
In reality, my mate is my friend. My best friend. My greatest cheerleader. Trustworthy companion. Co-sojourner. Listening ear. Friendly smile. Comforter. Healer. Oh, the list could go on. So why do I need to remember that she's not my enemy? A prompt needed too frequently, I admit.
Whenever my comments progress from cute to cutting, I’m reminded that my mate is not my enemy. On occasions where I look for someone to blame and my accusing gaze falls on the person closest to me, I’m reminded that my mate is not my enemy. And when a large dent appears in the car door that nobody tells me about until after the rust starts and now it’s a big deal because I didn’t find out about it right after it happened and this will be either hard or expensive to fix, I’m reminded that my mate is not my enemy.
Clearly, I receive reminders often; it’s good we went to that retreat. I still have a lot of growing to do.
The logic undergirding this saying also applies to anyone who works in organizations of any type and on a team of any size. Let’s put it to use when considering the people around us in all directions. Say these three statements quietly to yourself now, and prepare to have them come to mind in the future:
My team is not my enemy.
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David Staal serves as a consultant to the nonprofit sector following 11 years as President & CEO of a national organization (Kids Hope USA), 10 years in church staff leadership (Willow Creek Community Church), and a 13-year marketing career (Abbott Laboratories). A senior editor for Christianity Today International for 12 years, he also authored these books: