One of my favorite ‘side-plots’ of Capital Gaines is the advice Chip offers that’s made working with his spouse such a success. After all, it’s the team of Chip and Jo that has made Magnolia into the hit that it is. One without the other would not only be less entertaining, but less impressive, too. It’s the fact that they are able to work so well together - all without compromising on their values or kids - that leaves people like myself wondering, ‘how do they do it?’
I am proud to report that Chip has heard our cries, and he gives away some golden insight for anyone looking to give it a shot themselves:
You do what you do best, and let your spouse do what your spouse does best.
“We learned early on in our marriage how to leverage our differences for greater outcomes… Jo and I were easily able to identify our strengths and weaknesses… We are crystal clear on these differences in our strengths, so we know how to run fast in our own lanes and steer clear of each other’s. It’s really refreshing to feel covered in my weak spots, especially by my wife, of all people, who I trust more than anyone else… That’s not to say we don’t exercise our weaker muscles from time to time… But we both walk in authority in the areas of our natural God-given strengths, and that seems to be what makes working together so seamless in our case. As we’ve learned to harness these opposing characteristics and shore up each other’s weaknesses, we’ve managed to make this working-together thing look pretty easy… When you recognize what lane you should be operating in and you stay there, the implicated ‘dangers’ of working together start to fall away. It’s when you merge lanes and start telling each other what to do that this whole lifestyle we’ve chosen can start to get complicated” [p. 38].
Be flexible and embrace imperfections - including / especially those of your spouse.
“The key [to working together successfully] is always giving each other enough slack in the rope to make mistakes. Affording each other a little extra rope has (mostly) equaled smooth sailing for us. So we try to give each other plenty of space. We don’t like to corner each other or demand that we talk our problems out right in the heat of the moment. Giving each other room to stretch and spread our wings also makes our marriage feel spacious. There’s room to try things out and change direction. The parameters aren’t so tight that we feel suffocated by our relationship, and there’s room for both of us to continue to grow and thrive and do our work to the best of our abilities” [p. 39].
Remember: you’re on the same team!
“You can fight for each other and with each other instead of against each other. And when the two of you come face-to-face with resistance, you can pull on the same end of the rope so hard that opposition loses its grip and falls face first into the mud” [p. 40].
Have you ever worked closely with your spouse? Anything you would add to Chip's advice?
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