In this series we are exploring ways in which marriage is like football. This time we will look at the Offensive Line. Last time I spoke specifically about the center and his role in getting the play started. Once he snaps the ball, though, he becomes just another “O” lineman, usually one of five. They say that “O” line is the most difficult position to master and requires the most intelligence, even more so than quarterback. This is because the “O” lineman has to understand dozens of blocking schemes and be prepared for any little tricks the defense might through at him in an attempt to thwart the offense moving the ball. Every offensive lineman has something to do on every play, maybe multiple things, but they break down into two main categories.
The “O” line basically has two functions, depending on whether the play is a run or a pass. If the play is a run, the “O” lineman is to charge forward and open a hole for the running back by pushing his opponent out of the way. In that scenario, he is the aggressor, moving forward with force.
If the play is a pass, his role is the opposite. Instead of firing out forward and pushing the opponent out of the way, his role is move backward, creating a protective shell or pocket in which the quarterback can stand while he figures out to whom to throw the ball. In these cases he is not the aggressor but, in a way, the defender . . . defending the quarterback.
In marriage, sometimes we are called upon to be the aggressor, moving forcefully forward to open a hole for our partner to through. Our role is to make the other person successful. We have to quickly size up the opposition, try to get a good angle for leverage, and push, push, push.
On the other hand, sometimes in our marriages we are called upon to protect our spouse while he or she tries to figure out what to do. We buy time, we hold the wall, we guard our partner while he or she scans the field, looking for options and opportunities. We may get beat up in the process, but if we are doing our job, the quarterback will have time to make a good decision and the space to execute it.
Sometimes we have to push open a new path for our partners, sometimes we have to hold our ground while they figure out their options. And, in the meantime, the many pressures of life will be throwing lots of different tricks at us to throw us off our guard. Our job as “O” linemen is done when our uniforms are dirty while our quarterbacks or running backs uniforms are clean.
In the meantime, ask yourself, "In what ways has my partner opened holes for me to run through?" "In what ways has my partner protected me and given me time to think so I can make good decisions?"
Speaking of running backs . . . next time . . .