Being married is a lot like football . . . and I don’t mean that it’s a contact sport—although it should be—in a good way.
What I mean is that, position by position, we can discern how the various players act out in the game some of the same skills and attributes married people sho
Confused . . . allow me to explain, going position by position.
I’ll start with the position I know best: Offensive Line. I played center in high school football. As center, nothing happened until I snapped the ball. It was on me to make things happen, but I couldn’t act unilaterally . . . I had to wait until the quarterback was ready to receive the snap. If the quarterback was not ready, it didn’t matter how well I snapped the ball. I depended on him to signal to me he was ready to receive the snap but I still had to be the one who made the first move.
Marriage is like that. It is up to each of us to be the center, to take the initiative. If my wife and I are going to get anywhere, we each have to be willing to be the one who starts the play. BUT, it is also incumbent upon each of us to do our best to discern if the other person is ready to receive our initiative.
If I have something heavy I want to talk to my partner about, and I want to get a conversation going, before I snap that ball, I need to discern if she’s in a place t
o receive it: Did she have a bad day already? Is she emotionally spent? Is she distracted with an upcoming responsibility? Is she not feeling well physically? If she’s not sending signals to me that she’s ready to receive the snap, I need to hold my piece and keep the peace.
In that case, perhaps another sort of initiative: a supportive word, a hug, an honest and humble inquiry into her situation, etc. can be just the sort of thing that can bridge the gap and bring closeness and healing.
Next time, we will look at the other ways being on the “O Line” is a metaphor for marriage. Don’t worry, we’ll get to all the positions. We can learn something from each.