Dear Coach, Your Independent Wife Still Needs You
So, here’s the thing Coach, I know your wife's ability to function independently is significantly helpful to you. When you're in the midst of preseason practice and the camp curse hits, you need to know she is capable of dealing with all.the.things. But Coach, it’s important to remember that while she CAN independently handle the flat tires, collapsed pipes, and mice even when they happen all in the same week, the more she handles alone, the more she can begin to feel isolated. As often happens, a side comment created a lightbulb moment for me. When my friend said that women who seek independence often find themselves fighting loneliness, I had to explore this further. Sure enough, multiple articles confirmed one of the main causes of loneliness in marriage is when the “we” becomes two separate “I’s”. I have said for years the season can be the loneliest part of the year, and even though I have walked it and felt it, this one statement from my friend clarified the "why," and also raised a red flag. Now that the “why” is clear, so is a solution. Coach, it doesn’t matter how independent your wife is, she still needs you. Your wife needs you to listen to her stress about your child’s new teacher. She needs you to step in and help with discipline. She needs you to plan a date without watching football as the main attraction. Mostly, she needs you to acknowledge that you see how hard she is working every day so that you can spend another year doing what you love, even if she loves it too. Many wives joke about the pile of Amazon boxes going unnoticed. Others claim the title “football widow.” Every joke is at least partially true whether funny or not, right? But remember when your wife goes unnoticed, it creates distance. Your wife is smart and beautiful and Coach, I know you agree when I say you outkicked your punt coverage when you married her. She is the teammate you know for sure will join you at the next school. But she also has her own desires and dreams, independent of football. When your wife is courageous enough to use her strengths and talents outside your home, she needs your support. That might mean being home with the kids one night a week, so your wife can mentor a student. It might mean getting up on a Sunday morning after a Saturday night game to listen to your wife’s sermon at church before heading to the office. Coach, your support might mean saying no to an opportunity because it’s not in your family’s best interest. Honestly, though, I pray that’s never the case. I pray that as you do the hard work to always function as a team your wife’s voice is never silenced and always has opportunity to expand. The strength of her independence allows her the ability to start over when needed, but it’s always easiest to do new things as a team. And wife, remember the positives. Hey sister, as much as your man would love to be there for you 100%, you know that sometimes football requires all his attention for a short time. Remember, there are benefits to having a little more space at home. Cereal for dinner, having the remote all to yourself a few nights a week, girls' nights with the other wives. Because we settle into our routines without our coach around each season and postseason re-entry can be a bear but we because we are strong we also adjust. Don't forget your independent spirit can exacerbate your loneliness. Be alert for ways you are creating distance. Fight for time with your coach and create space for your kids to see their favorite guy even when it means making the extra effort. If you are blessed with a family-friendly program get to practice. Pack a picnic dinner at the field or have a late dessert by candlelight after the kids are asleep. Remember: the home team is the team you must always fight to keep together. You’ve got this sister. Camp is coming, and you are ready. This will be the year you identify loneliness for what it is…unnecessary. Ask for help, speak up, and cheer on the home team.