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  • Autumn Swain

Taking One for the Team

I am a white woman.

I married a black man.

Marriage is hard enough when two people of similar backgrounds and experiences unite. However, our marriage is an example of what’s possible between two people with opposite backgrounds unite through work, intention and love. I don’t look for anything easy in any other area of my life so why would marriage be any different. It's hard, but why does it work! We are a team--a team of three--me, him and God!

Let the games begin!

Me: “You should mean what you say!”

Him: “What you say doesn’t matter, it's what you do!”

Him: “You will never understand life in my skin.”

Me: “But I can be your biggest advocate for what you do go through.”


The required exercise for this game of marriage is a sacrificial type of love.

Sweat. Tears. Pain……>….…>……>….Growth. Strength. Victories.

We are a team!

God called us together, and it will be a team effort to make “this” work!

This relationship, these two completely different stories, brought together to do good! Will it be easy, no way, no how. Will it be worth it? Yes!

NOW….Is it really any different than the problems we face in our world? For example, the church - the people within the church - its a team effort. We are different stories, different lives, uniting to do good, for good.

Will it be easy, no way, no how, but will it be worth it? Yes! Why then do we stop the minute things get hard?

We start having hard conversations about what our brothers and sisters are facing outside the four walls of our safe church buildings. We experience a little bit of conflict and begin justifying an easier strategy. Someone is offended and quits. Someone gets uncomfortable and decides it isn’t the right “fit”.

In my marriage, we take on the experiences of the other person. We are invested in their experiences, their trials, their struggle as well as their victories and transformations! When seeking to understand the other person, at that time it is NOT about ME! Our marriage works because we work. Under one roof, the church is meant to be a team. A team called to a sacrificial love of one another and to the world.

Interesting fact…

I not only met my husband playing basketball, but I grew up on a team playing in basketball games and tournaments since I was four years old. We trained together, we felt each other’s pain, and we needed to be on one accord to win. That meant leveraging what you had for the team. It meant working hard for a collective mission. When doing those suicide sprints, or squats, we remembered, winning won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. So we kept pushing.

The biggest team I have been part of is the Church. I ask myself, “How bad do we want to win….win for Jesus, win for each other, win for the brokenness in our community, win for reconciliation?” Do we want it bad enough to push past comfort into a sacrificial type of love. Can we collectively say, “It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. I will work hard, get sweaty, and get uncomfortable for someone else.”

This is the ONLY way unity will work.

So back to my marriage, God tells us in His word, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:25)

Christ sacrificed for the team, so as people created in His image, we should then sacrifice for the team!

Not just your friends or those that look like you or those you can relate to…..sacrifice is required for all the needs on the team to have victory--and victory is unity in Christ Jesus!

Will it be easy, definitely not! Worth it? YES!


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