In this crazy game of life, I strongly believe that healthy marriages take teamwork- our competition comes in the form of all the obstacles and challenges that life brings.
Today is our 7 year anniversary. I wouldn’t say our game has been easy. We’ve experienced life, and life isn’t easy. We’ve dealt with losing loved ones, college, living paycheck to paycheck, parenting decisions, job changes, budgeting, high hospital bills, new churches, new towns, buying houses and vehicles, who does what household chores, learning to live together- the same things lots of couples deal with. Our first year was probably the hardest for me. That’s when I realized, that to be successful in my marriage, WE have to choose to be successful. It has to be a decision, from both teammates.
Choosing my team
I am on his team, and guess what? He chose me. Kind of like when you were in Elementary, and you chose teams for dodgeball. Ryan picked me. And I picked him. He didn’t choose anyone else. Only me. And just like he chose me as a wife, he also has to daily choose to love me. Love isn’t just a giddy romance movie type feeling. It is a choice. And you have to constantly choose to love someone, even through their imperfections.
Playing the game
Just like with any team, each player has a different role that will make the team successful. You won’t have your Defensive End playing Quarterback, or have your Wide Receiver playing Left Tackle. But their roles can change and adapt depending on what team they’re playing. Sometimes I might be the all-star quarterback, and Ryan may be the cheerleader, who is sitting by and encouraging me from the sidelines. (Imagine that hehe) Sometimes I might be a running back, about to get tackled, and I know that I can look to Ryan to be my blocker.
A few years ago, one of my roles was to breastfeed twins and Ryan’s was to provide me emotional support (it was super hard). There was physically no way that we could have switched those roles. But it totally took both of us trying our hardest for us to overcome that challenge.
Our roles now are different, they’re always changing depending on what life throws our way.
We won’t “win them all”
Guess what! Will we fumble or make turnovers or miss field goals? Yes! Of course! Does that make us less of a team? No way! There will be times our teammate “fails.” They might miss that game winning field goal and lose a job, or fumble and overspend on the ice cream budget. I will have my weak moments when the game of real life might get me down. Whether its worry, chores, kids, disagreements, weight gain, jobs, stress, busy-ness, loss, finance, or just the craziness of everyday life, I know that at the end of the day, we are one team in it together.
Know your real competition
Your spouse should be your go-to teammate, not your all-time rival. So often, I feel like we allow our competitive nature to creep into our marriages, by making our spouse the competition. We try to out-do them. And of course, we have to let other people know that we do so. Instead of being a team and taking credit as a “we,” we want to take credit as a “me.” Sometimes it’s easy to only see how awesome we are as an individual, and overlook our own flaws while only seeing the flaws in our spouses. We should put our focus on what they do right. Look for the positive. There will always be negative, and if you dwell on that, then it will consume you. Play to your advantages. If your husband is a rock star cook, that is great! Doesn’t make you any less of a wife! If your wife has an amazing job and is the “bread-winner,” awesome! Doesn’t make you any less of a husband. I will tell you right now that Ryan does 99.9% of our laundry. And for a while, it made me feel like a failure of a wife. Now I realize, that laundry might just be a part of his team role. And it drives me crazy to hear things like “Oh, must be nice. I wish MY husband did laundry.” Sometimes your spouse’s role might be more subtle. Open your eyes and look for it. And then when you find it, give them credit. Tell them thank you. Notice their part in your team, however small or big it may be.
Listen to your coach and work hard in practice
Lastly, and most importantly, as Christians, we should make God the coach. He sees the competition and knows what is heading for you before you come upon it. If we turn to him to call the plays, then we can be successful. If we participate in practices the way he calls us to, then we can confidently take on our competition, and with our heads up high. It is when a couple stops listening to the coach, and stops playing as a team but playing as a “me”, that a marriage can fail.