Marriage is Like a Football Team (Part 1)

A Man’s Guide to Relationships

My Five Rules of

Football and Marriage – Rule 1


Let’s start off by saying that I am not a licensed therapist or a professional counselor. My observations of my mother and father, who were married for over fifty years before my mother’s death and my own very happy marriage to the same woman for forty plus years is my only source of expertise. I believe that I have learned some very valuable lesson in that time and feel it is my duty as a fellow man to pass these things on to whoever might benefit from it.

You spent years preparing yourself for the day. You trained, tried out for the team and was selected. Now what? It turns out that when you were in school and your coach was teaching you the fundamentals of football, he wasn’t just teaching you football but was teaching you the things you needed for creating a lasting relationship. Who knew that coach ‘Earl the Squirrel’ was so damn smart?

Rule #1

com·mit·ment: Responsibility, obligation, loyalty, devotion, dedication, allegiance, oath, pledge, or guarantee.

The first practice on that very first day you gave a promise to your coach, to your team, and to yourself, binding you to a course of action. Now here it is…how many years later and you would still lay down whatever you were doing and run to their aid if they needed you.

That same promise is what you gave to your partner. I know you’ve heard the speech a thousand times. You must be willing to give 110%…100% of the time, but it’s true. There are no free rides. It requires hard work and commitment.

Sure in the beginning everything was fresh, new, and exciting. You had brand new uniforms, new teammates, and new coaches. With so much to learn and so much to do, the anticipation of the unknown was enough to keep you stimulated.

It’s the same with a relationship. Exploring the wonderland of each other’s feelings, emotions and learning their reactions in the beginning was enough to keep the relationship moving forward. As my old coach was so fond of saying, “if you ain’t moving forward, you ain’t moving.”

Eventually though will come the dreaded ‘end of the honeymoon’. That’s the point when you know your partner so well that you can finish their sentences. Things begin to get tense and soon you’re feeling like you’re trapped in a rut and it will take something drastic to end the cycle. You wonder what went wrong. I mean, you react to your partner the same way today as you did when you first met them. Things worked well then so why not now. You were very happy and life was great. You haven’t changed a thing over the years so why is your relationship falling apart now?

Now is when you have to dig deep and draw on that commitment that you made to your partner. Live up to the promise that you would always do your best to not let them down. The same as if you were halfway through the season and had not won a game. You wouldn’t just give up. You’d buckle down, stick your nose to the grind stone, and try harder than ever. Doesn’t your relationship deserve the same effort?

The thing to remember is that anyone can have relationship problems whether it is with your spouse, lover, parent, or child. When asked about it, usually there are very few people that can explain what’s wrong with their relationship. They can, however, explain in great detail what has happened and who has done what to whom.

If you find yourself in a relationship that is less than satisfactory you need to be able to answer a few questions.

A: How did we get to where we are now?

A losing team or a bad relationship doesn’t just happen. They are born, fed, and nurtured into becoming what they are. To turn the season around or to fix a bad relationship you must first look at what role your performance has contributed to the problem. You must be prepared to accept the responsibility for your actions even those that were brought on unintentionally.

B: Do you want to put in the effort to repair your relationship?

No one wants to be, nor should they ever need to be, on a bad team. By no means am I trying to tell you that you should be chained to an unfulfilling, unsatisfactory, or outgrown relationship. That choice and that responsibility belong to you. But what I’m saying is that no season should be let go without giving it the best of your abilities to live up to your commitment. No relationship should be abandoned without putting forth your best effort. It’s not fair to assume it’s always the other person that’s at fault. But sometimes, even the best football team can fall apart if all the players just aren’t compatible. When that happens, someone usually ends up on the free agent list.

C: I’ve decided I really want this relationship to work. Where do I begin?

All relationships, like winning teams, grow through change; they are transformed from losers to winners through change. You can’t keep blaming the quarterback because he can’t complete a pass while being sacked. You can’t throw the pass for him. So you must do a better job of protecting him. You can’t keep blaming everyone else for your relationship problems. You must begin by changing yourself. You must practice, practice, practice…with the same level of commitment that you had on that very first day so many years ago.

To Be Continued…..

17 thoughts on “Marriage is Like a Football Team (Part 1)

  1. This is better than anything I’ve ever read by a “professional.” Wisdom from the trenches wins every time.

    And this – “A losing team or a bad relationship doesn’t just happen. They are born, fed, and nurtured into becoming what they are.” – is truth #1! If you want it, work for it!

    Excellent post, Jerry – looking forward to more. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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