If you know a little bit about football, you can learn a few lessons about having a winning season in your marriage. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. Make a plan and practice, practice, practice.
2. Pray before you set foot on the field.
3. The clock is ticking and time is limited. Use it wisely.
4. The opposition is over there. You don’t tackle your own team mate.
5. Huddle. Put your arms around each other. Use mouthwash.
6. Everybody fumbles once in a while.
7. God is your head coach. He calls the plays. Trust him.
8. Don’t be offensive.
9. Don’t get defensive.
10. Always use your mouth guard. It is mandatory.
11. Unnecessary roughness will get you a penalty.
12. Keep your end in view.
13. Kiss the arm…the shoulder…the neck… the lips.
14. Let the Holy Spirit referee.
15. Use your right guard.
16. A little dancing when you reach your goal is appropriate.
17. Sack the quarterback.
18. A little pat of affirmation on the bottom is usually welcomed.
19. Don’t be down and out.
20. If you go out of bounds, everything stops and you have to start over.
21. Celebrate your teammate’s victories.
22. When your goal seems far away, just try to move forward ten yards.
23. Each team member must do their part for the team to win.
24. Football has very little to do with applying your foot to the ball. Don’t try to figure it out.
25. Hand the ball to your teammate then clear a path for them to score.
26. Teammates get tired.
27. Don’t run the wrong way. Don’t run aimlessly. Do your best to make forward progress.
28. Play fair.
29. Make sure the whole team is working the same plan.
30. Paint JOHN 3:16 on your chest.
31. Practice to get better and better at doing your part.
32. Make Sunday the most important day of the week.
33. No head-butting.
34. Make a pass at your spouse regularly.
35. When your spouse makes a pass at you, catch it. Don’t drop it.
36. Avoid pass interference. Lock your bedroom door and turn off the phone.
37. Always be ready to call an audible. Be flexible, plans change.
38. Don’t become a blimp. Stay healthy and help your Bud stay Lite.
39. Do your part to make this a Good Year.
40. You make enough money. Don’t complain.
41. When a teammate is injured, the rest of the team needs to work a little harder.
42. Timing is everything.
43. If you help your teammate win, you win.
44. When making a plan, use a lot of X’s and O’s.
45. Be a World Class Cheerleader.
46. Call a time out when you need to.
47. If another team makes a play look easy, understand it is the result of hours of practice.
48. You’re surrounded by fans who want to see you win!
49. You already have a ring. Enjoy the game!
Those are the lessons I’ve learned. Let’s see if we can come up with a few more. If you have any that you’d like to add, click the comment bubble and share them. I’ll post them.
I’ve never seen more nurturing and cherishing than at a car show. No speck of dust is safe. No smudge of grease will escape the watchful eye of the automobile enthusiast. He is meticulous to take care of his “baby.” After all, “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore”. She’s all original, he says proudly, as others admire her with a hint of envy. No expense has been spared, and countless hours have been spent to make her the coveted award winner. She’s the Prize of the show.
Imagine if one car had to last us a life time. How would we care for it? We certainly wouldn’t drive it recklessly. No, we’d nurture and cherish it. We’d wash it every week and wax it once a month. We’d change the oil every 3,000 miles and give it a tune up regularly to keep it in good repair. We’d be easy on the throttle and light on the brakes. When parking in a public lot, we’d take up two spaces so others wouldn’t ding her doors. At home we’d garage her to protect her from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. We’d cruise Main Street to impress people, and show her off in parades. After fifty years the sleek beauty would still purr like a kitten and look like the day she drove off the showroom floor.
What if we cared for our spouse as if they had to last a lifetime? Because…they do.
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies… For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. Ephesians 5:28 & 29
Imagine for a moment that you are married to your best friend. You share the same dreams and the same goals. You work together as a team, a seamless partnership, hand in glove. You communicate easily with each other. And you can talk about anything. In fact you talk about everything without fear or apprehension. The tone of your conversation is gracious and truthful. Your mate treats you like you’re special. They drop what they are doing when you need help and they assist you gladly. They would always rather spend time with you than anyone else. They think about you often. They call or email during the day just to let you know they are thinking about you. You look forward to going home and being together at the end of the work day. They call to let you know what time to expect them.
When you walk through the front door they greet you with a smile that says they are glad to be together again. They drop unimportant things, or quickly complete important things, so they can devote their full attention to you. They’re genuinely interested in the events of your day. They listen to you and encourage you. They have been praying for you since you parted early in the morning. They prepare a meal, or compliment the dinner you’ve been preparing. Or they invite you to eat out and ask your choice of restaurant. If you have children they inquire about progress, or update you on the challenges and victories in the children’s lives. You work together to do dishes and homework and any other tasks, so you can both enjoy the rest of the evening. You engage in meaningful conversation and create times of momentary refuge from phones, computers, and TV. You make it a priority that you both go to bed at the same time so you can have a few moments of pillow talk and prayer. When you reach out to hold your mate, they are attentive and move closer to you. They welcome intimacy and together you enjoy the experience of oneness. You fall asleep in each other’s arms.
Right about now I hope you’re saying to your spouse, “Look Honey, he’s talking about us!” I hope I have given a candid description of your marriage. And as you read these lines, you feel the affirmation of a life well lived and a job well done. I hope you derive a high level of satisfaction from the quality of character that your relationship reflects. And you recognize the work of God in your life and in your marriage. And I hope it challenges you, more and more, to be an excellent marriage partner.
The Marriage Feast is dedicated to encouraging and strengthening marriages.We hope you benefit from these pages.
Growing up, report card time was never my favorite. I figured playing was a lot more fun than homework. Consequently I was only an average student, and I adopted an attitude that C’s were OK and A’s were for other people. Most people grow up and get married. I got married and then I had to grow up. The bible says: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Cor 13:11)
I decided I didn’t want to settle for a C in marriage: Comparing, Competing, Complaining, Criticizing, Compromising, which result in Carnality, Contention, Controlling, and Contempt which leads to Condemnation. Many couples resign themselves to having a C marriage with a D in Bible: Drifting (Heb 2:1), Doubting (Heb 3:7-8), Ducking (Heb 3:13) Dullness (Heb 5:11), Despising (Heb 10:26-29), and Defying God’s word. (Heb 12:14-29).
But I want to encourage us to be diligent to get an A in bible. Because the same way we need to be good at math to do well in physics; we need to know and apply the scriptures in order to get an A in marriage. We‘ll learn to Accept our spouse (Eph 1:6) as they are and help them to be the person they want to be in the Lord. We will Acknowledge (Isa 61:8-10) their Attributes (1 Cor 12:4-11) and the unique way God made them. Adore them. Express our Approval and Affirm them (Phil 1:10). Admire our spouse and tell them why. Express Affection regularly and meaningfully to them (1 Cor 7:3). And Appreciate them for who they are, as well as what they do.
Do you remember your favorite teacher in school? They had a special way of teaching. They didn’t “talk down” to you, but they whet your appetite so you wanted to learn. Maybe you’re a little farther along in your walk with the Lord than your spouse. You can help them raise that C to and A, but you must be an A student first. Be prayerful and careful. Remember, Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1 Cor 8:1). There is a saying: “Don’t tell me, show me”. Paul told Timothy: Be an example of the believer (1 Tim 4:12). That’s good advice for a marriage that makes the grade.
Everyone has dreams of winning the lottery. But why? So we can quit our job and sleep in? So we can play golf all day or play video games in our pajamas? We have dreams of eating the foods we like to eat, wearing the clothes we like. Heck, we wouldn’t even have to wear clothes if we didn’t want to. Some of us even try to make deals with God by offering Him 10% if he’ll make all the arrangements. James says we ask, but we ask amiss that we may consume it on our own pleasures. James 4:3
Imaging hearing a knock at your door and receiving the news that a distant relative has died and left you a hundred million dollars. The only stipulation written in his will for you to keep all that money, is that you must remain happily married to your mate. Pretending to be happy will not be allowed. You must actually maintain a good quality marriage, the kind that when you leave for work each morning, you can’t wait to get home to your spouse. You have so much to talk about. You have plans to make. You have goals and dreams to share and fulfill. You have people to help, and projects to do together. Wouldn’t you make it the priority of your life to nurture your marriage? Wouldn’t you pay attention, study, practice, and do everything possible, if keeping your fortune depended on it?
Well, a rich relative has died and His will is for you to be rich. The apostle Peter tells us that we are heirs together of the grace of life. 1 Peter 3:7 And the way to make sure we get to keep those riches is we must grow to understand our spouse. And through that understanding we can serve them better, and be the right kind of encouragement to them.
At this point some husbands throw up their hands and say “I’ll never understand why my wife is the way she is.” And that may be true. But God wants us to take the time, and spend the energy to understand how different things affect our spouse, and then to use that understanding to help each other through life. This is one of the true riches of marriage.