FootballFootball season is here. Most people I know are overjoyed to let the upcoming games consume them. I have some serious pigskin fans in my family. Compared to those fanatics, my spouse and I are the weird ones. We don’t actually follow any particular team or sport. In fact, it’s one of the things that attracted me to my husband – that I wouldn’t be forced to watch the big screens or attend tail-gating parties when deep down, that just isn’t my passion.
However, that being said, I do admire the enthusiasm that goes behind football fandom. In fact, I think the principles can be applied toward a healthy, successful marriage. After all, spouses should be a fan for each other, be a team player and also be a coach when the time calls for it.  These roles don’t typically occur all at the same time but they are an important part of a marital union.
Here are a few ways that the “football religion” may help your relationship.
Even non-traditional, non-game participants, like my husband and me, can apply these lessons:
Be a Fan
Remember how you felt when you first met your spouse? Think of the appealing traits of your partner. What attracted you to him or her? You probably had some infatuation with that person. Perhaps you even felt giddy, happy and really excited to be around your other half. To put it in game terms, you were a fan. You liked him (or her). You couldn’t wait to see him. You planned your day or weekend around the opportunity to interact with that interesting someone. Over time, busy schedules and children may get in the way of being a devotee of your spouse. But don’t let too much time go by before you become a “fan” once again. Use the excitement of the game, the love game that is, to fuel up your passion again and be the president of your spouse’s fan club.
Be a Team Player
That expression, “There is no ‘I’ in team” is definitely true for a successful marriage. Two sets of minds and hearts are much more powerful than one. Partners must work together to be victorious. To run a smooth household, I definitely have to collaborate with my husband. We have so much going on with jobs, school, two children, pets and more. Together we pool our energy, skills and resources to make things happen. By working collectively, it lessens the length of time to complete a task. Plus, we usually have a lot more fun picking up the dishes when we do it side by side. My husband will splash water in my face and poke fun at the way I stack plates. I will find the missing plastic ware tops to complete his lunch. When we act as a team, we increase our chances of having quality time and fun while reaching our family goals.
Be a Coach
During different periods in marriage, one partner may need to act as a “coach” for the other person. When I become down on myself, for whatever reason, my husband encourages me. He will find a way to give me a pep talk or encourage me to take action.   Being a great coach requires patience and persistence. You must often push the other person out of the comfort zone. I may want to snooze that alarm clock instead of waking up to complete my fitness routine. My spouse will say, “Get up and do it!” That push can be hard but it’s also exactly what I need from him and for myself.   He will wake up with me, serving as a role model and example. Or if my partner is having a stressful day, I will offer extra attention and support. I listen while he speaks. Sometimes one of us will pick up the slack for the other, if needed. Watching your husband or wife succeed can be such an amazing feeling. As the coach, you can make that happen by assisting him or her to grow, mature and develop.
Think about your favorite sport and team. What do you love about it? Consider the fans just like yourself.   Believe in the team and the efforts they put forth to win.   Admire the coach and the leadership he or she provides.   Apply these football (or other sport) values in your own marriage and other relationships.  Be a fan of your spouse.  Join your spouse’s team.  Act as the coach when needed.  Remember that it is great to have a goal in mind but don’t keep score in your marriage. Instead work toward happy, healthy achievements.

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