Every summer, prior to season kickoff, the football team sets goals. Sets expectations. What they want and need to accomplish if they are to have a winning season.
Expectations, when met, make a good team into a great one.
The reason I'm wrangling this metaphor is because I just read a post from a football wife asking for some support and advice. Her husband has been gone all summer — from sunup till way-past sundown every day, and the season has yet to begin. This wife is feeling neglected and alone. She needed a sounding board and some legitimate suggestions on how to broach the subject with her husband. She got both from most. But not from all.
One wife of a football coach told another wife of a football coach to have zero expectations ... and then she won't be disappointed.
And that rankles me, y'all.
Because what did she really just tell that wife?
She comes last. She doesn't deserve her man's love, respect, or time. Her needs aren't important.
Support your man. Hold down the fort. Love and look after him when he's around. Miss him when he's gone. And expect nothing in return. Then, if you get more than that, well, go you!
As women, we deserve more. As wives ... in a marriage ... a partnership ... a team, if you will ... we absolutely deserve more.
Women are so much more than simple cisterns to be filled with our man's hopes, desires, and offspring.
Women have voices and women have value.
And as partners in our marriages we should have expectations. And those expectations should be met. Even in a football marriage. Especially in a football marriage.
Both of you want to win — at football and at marriage. If you didn't, neither one of you would have gotten involved with either marriage or football. And because you both willingly signed up for this crazy life, you're both now shouldering an insane amount of responsibility.
He's shouldering the needs of a full squad of teenaged boys with all their adolescent edges and angst. And he's balancing the demands of a season-full of practice and bus and meal and game schedules. Plus carrying the ungodly stress of parental and community politics. And he doesn't come home until he's put it all to bed. Well after dark. Till the field house is quiet and calm. Deceptively so. The weight of it all can be unbearable.
And you're balancing and carrying and shouldering, too. Everything else. Jobs, hearth, home, kids. All the study and practice and play and bath and story and bed times. Plus, the ungodly stress of all the tantrums and fistfights and set-it-all-right politics. And he doesn't come home until you've put it all to bed. Well after dark. Till the house is quiet and calm. Deceptively so. The weight of it all can be unbearable.
It's easy to get resentful. On both sides. Because from each respective side, it appears the other has it easier. Well, guess what? Neither has it easy.
To keep our marriage healthy and happy, my guy and I BOTH have expectations. As we should.
Mine are simple, but effective: Communication and Kisses.
Communication is my bread and butter. It sustains me. Before the day begins, we have breakfast. Together. Always. It's my special twenty minutes of "Just Us" time while the boys are still in bed. Cereal, coffee and simple chit-chat — my fuel for the day.
Then he sends me little texts as power snacks all day long. And for lunch, sweet love notes on my sandwich bag. He makes all the lunches — it's just one way he helps lighten my load. That, plus — preloaded in a delay cycle a couple times a week. (I hit the jackpot with my coach. He exceeds my expectations. Constantly.)
And then there are the kisses. Lots and lots of kisses. At wake up. Before leaving for work. With emojis on the phone. And real ones when he gets home. Always before games. And always after games.
Always and forever, lots and lots of kisses. Without them, I more-than-sort- of-self-destruct. It's well documented. So he gives me plenty.
Plenty of communication and kisses. It's on the game plan.
And as for his expectations, they're a whole lot of the same — especially, believe it or not, the communication part. Because if I don't tell him when something's bothering me or something's not working, he'll spend all sorts of time he doesn't have trying to fix it, totally blind. And that's not fair to either one of us.
Yes, football and marriage are team sports. And for the team to get stronger and for the game to go well, each member needs their expectations set and then met. That's what makes a good team into a great one.
And everybody wins. Everybody.