August in Texas means ridiculously hot temperatures and the start of football season.
My coach is up and out the door by 5 a.m. every morning, and I normally get up shortly after to begin my day. This morning, I was outside in the peace and quiet, watering my plants in the already 90-degree heat. I looked around and marveled at how the plants, trees, and birds continue to survive these long, hot, miserable days. And then it made me wonder how we, as coaches’ wives, survive the long and, if we’re being honest, miserable days of football season.
It requires so much of us, and sometimes it is really hard.
Relationships are like plants. Food, water, and light (attention, communication, and affection) are vital if we expect to have a healthy relationship. Not feeding, watering, or providing light is a sure way for your relationships to dry up. Just like tiny raindrops, there are small things you can do every day to fill up the reserves. The more drops or positive things you pour into the relationship, the more cushion you have for the dry spells you may experience during football season.
• Communicate. Communication is to relationships what water is to plants. As obvious as this may seem, the reality is that many couples do not communicate effectively. This is especially true for coaching families in season who have chaotic lives with dual careers, kids, and other factors – the important thing here is not to forget to at least check in with each other on a regular basis.
• Pull out the weeds of resentment. There are going to be times when you or your coach behave in a way that upsets the other. Don’t sit on it – discuss it and how it made you feel – don’t let that one thing turn into a mountain of resentment.
• Be available for your relationship during the season. Commit to being available for each other. This can be a date night, a weekly walk, an early Saturday morning coffee date, lunch at the field house – whatever works for you. The point is to carve out one-on-one time EVERY SINGLE WEEK. No exceptions!
• Apologize. If you slip or mess up, own it. Saying the words “I’m sorry” demonstrates an ability to be humble, compassionate, and validating. Showing empathy for your partner is one of the most powerful ways to create emotional safety.
• Bring on the love! Laughing, hugging, kissing, and physical touch (you get where I am going with this) reduces stress hormones like cortisol and increases oxytocin (the love hormone). Research has shown that a twenty-second body hug or a six-second kiss can release oxytocin – try this at least once a day and notice what goes on in your body.
• Do not forget to water yourself, too. Commit to your own self-care during the season. I know it is more challenging when you have children at home and feel like a single parent - but be creative! If you don’t have reliable family/friends close to help, maybe you and another coach’s wife can take turns watching each other’s children for a couple of hours while you get a pedicure, read a book, or simply grab a coffee and wander around Target mindlessly for an hour. What brings you peace and joy? Find time to do that at least once a week! Join a Bible study, take a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine, go on a walk, listen to music, or call a friend for an uninterrupted conversation – if it fills up your tank – do it!
Relationships do not need constant attention, but they do need regular attention. Praying you find ways to water your relationships this season!