You see, my husband is a high school football coach, and he’s been married to the game for a really, really, long time. They were a thing long before he and I were a thing. And when we started dating, I had to come to terms with the rules of engagement.
I have always found it frustrating to not get to where I want to be, with new friends, with the new house, in the new community, immediately. I also fall victim to always comparing my brand new beginning to the well developed ending that just occurred. I’ve learned that I need to be patient and realistic. It takes time to get where I would like to be, usually years.
Yes, football and being a football family requires physical demands and emotional commitments from everyone involved. There are so many lonely dinners and difficult bath times. There are so many rushed labor-day cookouts and daddy-less trick-or-treats. There are so many tears from kids who miss their daddies -- and occasionally from mamas missing them too. Because there may not be crying in baseball, but believe me, there is crying in football. A lot of crying.
But most of those tears are the good kind.
QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE
How do I deal with being home all the time by myself with just the dog?? I’m going crazy!!!
Going Stir Crazy
ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES
Dear Going Stir Crazy,
Figuring out large amounts of time by yourself is a hallmark of the coaching life. When I was sans-kids I filled it with being in control of the remote, working out, and connecting with friends. When we had kids, I found other women who had coach/pastor/farmer/doctor/police husbands who also had weird hours. These women helped me remember that coach’s wives are not the only ones who deal with this. There will be days in your future when you’ve finally adjusted and may find yourself craving time alone when the husband, dog, and/or kids are home. It’s a season of life. Enjoy that puppy and all the interests you can pursue on your own until it changes!
Your Fellow Social Bug
Dear Going Stir Crazy,
Even though your letter was written when it was more difficult to get out and about we know that loneliness isn’t something that goes away just because shopping is more accessible. On paper, it sounds wonderful to have your days to yourself to read, exercise, and chip away at your bucket list. But, in reality, you can only clean your kitchen counters so often and your bucket list isn’t all that fun to chip away at by yourself.
You haven’t offered many details, so we aren’t sure if the hours you’re referring to are all through the day or after your workday is complete. Certainly, this will impact the number of hours you will want to fill each day, however, I want to encourage you to make sure you not to OVERfill your days. Soon enough the time will come where you will want to spend a lazy weekend with your coach before the next season is in full force again. Regardless, I’ve learned that it’s best to look at the empty calendar space as an opportunity rather than a burden.
For those weeks when the calendar is looking empty and you know you’re going to feel like climbing the walls try sticking to a routine. Create a plan that includes a list of things that need to get done as well as some fun things you want to do. Is there a new store you’ve been meaning to explore? Take time to grab a coffee and check it out one afternoon.
If you have a lot of extra time on your hands seize the day! Do you love photography? Check out the local park district or community college to see when the next photography classes are offered. You will sharpen your skills and keep yourself busy doing something you enjoy. As a bonus, you’ll be around people who also enjoy the same hobby!
If all else fails, bake some cookies for the team. They will love it and your coach will know you’re thinking about him while he’s on the field.
Every Season is an Adventure, Embrace it!
Do you have a question?
You know what? Nobody's life is perfect. If you realize that now, you will save yourself much anxiety, pain, and stress. During season, schedules are crazy, nights get late, and your home will most likely become a mess. As a recovering perfectionist, this is something that freaked me out . . . especially early on in the season.
However, there’s one thing that has always remained constant: my coach’s pre-game wave.
This tradition dates back to our very first season. Just as the kickoff timer is about to buzz, my coach will always turn from the sidelines, look for me in a sea of red and white memorabilia, smile, and wave. For my husband, I can only assume it reassures him I made it safely to the game. For me, though, it’s the gentle reminder that of all the places I could be, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than under those Friday Night Lights.
QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE
How do you deal with feeling like your life isn’t your own? I feel like my life is dictated by my husband’s and I have no control. I know I’m supposed to say God is in control no matter what, but I’ve lost my sense of self & identity because even the decisions I make to invest in myself have to be worked around my husband’s schedule.
ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES
The first step is to stop fighting it. Accepting the fact that your life isn’t your own makes it so much easier to move forward, because then you can start to work with it instead of against it. I’ve been there. I wasted so much of my time and energy obsessing over the fact that what I needed or what was important to me was last place for every aspect of my life. It turned into resentment and that was exhausting. I had realized that I slowly chipped away at my things (and therefore my identity), because it was frustrating to hear that either I would have to do it alone or I would have to get a babysitter. I started always planning on having to take care of the house and kid stuff on my own. If coach could help, it felt like a bonus (and a quick vacation.) Then, I found things that were non-threatening to the schedule and I could do whenever I could fit in, like an at-home workout or church group where there was childcare. When I started doing things that might compete with his schedule, coach got involved. There were so many times when I committed to something and okayed with coach in terms of his schedule, only for a last-minute change to occur. Most of the time, before he even clued me in to the issues, he has found a babysitter, a friend, or a family member to watch the kids so I could still do my thing (and the stress of figuring it out was on him, not me). God is in control, but I can promise you that He doesn’t want you to be miserable. For me, I can now see that God had allowed my identity to be stripped, so I could build it back up better and for Him. It’s never going to be headache-free, but you have to find the things that are worth the headache and do them when you can!
Try finding something that is just for you; something that is your own that you can separate from your husband and his career that gives you value. We are called to be partners for our husbands, but not to be a servant or to forget ourselves for him. And remember, it isn’t a one-way street…he is your partner, too. Support for a new endeavor for you may look a little different coming from Coach than you expect, but it needs to happen. When he fell in love with you you weren’t a coach wife; you were YOU. It’s important that you stay in touch with YOU so that your marriage stays healthy and resentment doesn’t build up toward Coach. As with everything, pray! Tell God how you feel and try praying for clear answers and a renewal of spirit. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in HIS image, sis.
Best of luck!
Do you have a question?
You do not have to do this coaches’ wife thing alone. There are many who have walked before you, and there are many who walk alongside your journey. Embrace your title; it’s part of your calling.
We know coaches are a tough crowd this time of year. So to lighten your load, we thought we'd do the heavy lifting for you. We asked over 150 wives in the FNW Facebook group which Christmas gifts their coaches loved most and compiled a list of our 10 favorites to help you out this holiday season.
It’s Monday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.
QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE
Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,
This is my husband’s first year coaching. I truly think he is having a hard time balancing time with the team & time at home. I am home 9/10 times by myself each night. The nights he is home, he isn’t fully at home. He comes in and lays on the couch, doesn’t help with the household chores, & just complains about being tired. He has no idea how I feel & every time I try to discuss it with him he makes me feel like the bad guy. I am overwhelmed, exhausted, lonely & just depressed. We are a long way from family & every morning I wake up wanting to live near my parents again so I’m not home alone all the time. How can I get him to understand that he needs to learn there is a time for sports and a time for home? And when he’s at home, he needs to be fully there?
Lonely and Exhausted
ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES
Dear Lonely and Exhausted,
I could have written a similar letter a few times in our marriage. Coaching can certainly be an all-consuming profession. Especially if your husband is working with a head coach who requires a lot of hours or is trying to prove themselves as a first-time head coach. I know it’s an odd year and a lot of life is just starting to open back up. That seems to be complicating things in some states. I want to encourage you to try to use your short-term moments of independence to focus on something you’ve been putting off.
If you’ve wanted to explore a new hobby or take a college course now is the time to fill that calendar with things you’re interested in for you! Have you had a chance to explore the community? Are there evening classes through the local Y or park district that seem interesting? Don’t hesitate. There are so many online options these days between Craftys.com and Masterclass.com that you don’t even need to leave your house to dive into a new interest.
After the season, take time to talk about what did and DID NOT work the previous months. When you both have the emotional and mental bandwidth to talk about solutions to connect during the season you’ll both feel heard.
You ARE seen and heard,
Dear Lonely and Exhausted,
We fell into the trap that coach always being gone was just part of the job. We both accepted it as gospel and didn’t even think to question it. Coach felt as the new guy or the young one that he had to prove himself, be in before the head coach and not leave until he was gone, and he said yes to anything and everything that was asked of him. And I knew no different. It wasn’t until we started a family that I began to push back, but by then we were set in that difficult to break pattern. Communication was key. While I wasn’t always kind or eloquent about it, once I started asking if it was necessary for the program or just busywork, did it need to get done ASAP or could it wait, change started to happen.
Coach was very defensive in the beginning, but I realized it was out of guilt and not a lack of caring. While it definitely depends on the head coach and time of year, coach learned to work smarter, not harder. With life changes (new baby or job change), we’ve had to continually communicate and adjust. I’ve had to accept that there were just some things he couldn’t get out of and he’s had to learn that there just some things that weren’t a dire priority. Now that he’s a head coach, he extends the courtesy of reasonable flexibility that we wish we had (or at least felt comfortable asking for) to his assistants.
I’ve also noticed how big of a role nutrition plays in coach’s energy level. There will be no changing the fact that he gives it his all, but for him to have any left over for home life, better nutrition is key. I’m talking a lot less processed foods and more real, whole foods and not necessarily a type of diet. It will be a lot of work initially, but once it becomes a habit, it’s worth every second.
Do you have a question?
This is part of marriage. It’s not as if one of you is choosing to only be 20% or 50% or whatever percent. The percentage may be dictated by what’s going on with your job, with your children, or with your family.
My husband began his career as a large high school’s Athletic Trainer and now serves as a middle school Athletic Coordinator. The high school in his cluster has many responsibilities given to their middle school coaches, including scouting trips, sideline responsibilities, game filming and more.
This year has been particularly challenging as the district opted to start a third football team for middle schools in both grade levels, adding another night when coaches stayed later and away from their families.
There were weeks when he had other responsibilities on top of just football, like PTA meetings and Meet the Teacher night. He tried to go cheer on other students at volleyball games and be a representative at Spirit Night fundraisers at local restaurants.
Sunday nights we usually had a calendar run down so I would know which nights we would even see each other before 9:00 pm.
Football season wears down even the strongest families as the weeks go on.
Months of telling your kids, “Daddy will be home after you go to bed, but you can give him hugs in the morning.” Making dinners while trying to help with homework and not just letting your kids zone out in front of the TV. (Trying, not always succeeding!) Happy conversations when his team wins and frustrated rants when something just isn’t clicking and they lose.
Every once in a blue moon, my husband will call me after an event has ended and just ask if I am okay with him grabbing some food and perhaps an adult beverage with another coach.
Here is where I want to share a magical piece of advice that a friend shared with me. She told me that when her husband would ask to go out with a friend, she would say yes unless there was a really big reason to say no.
“Save your no for when it really matters.”
I do appreciate that my husband is considerate enough to ask, and most of the time, it is already so late that all the kids are already in bed. Sure, I miss him and would appreciate some time for the two of us.
But I can also sense that when he asks for this extra time, it is because he needs to relax or build up a relationship with a fellow coach. Maybe they want to celebrate just making it through another week or maybe they want to talk X’s and O’s. I trust that the men that my husband hangs around are good guys and I don’t worry about what they are up to.
Plus, and here is the surprising best part, sometimes it doesn’t work out. There have been times when he texts me to check in, I say “Go for it,” and then he texts back to say that the other guys couldn’t go after all.
No criticism of their wives, because they may have had an exhausting night and really needed their husbands to get their booty back home. But then guess who still gets Wife Points for saying yes – Me!
My husband has learned that when I say no, it is because I genuinely need backup at home.
Maybe I am frantically trying to finish a school project that is due the next day, or I need him to pick up some groceries on the way home. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why it could be an “All Hands On Deck” evening at our casa.
The point is that we have that understanding between us. We respect that there are times when friends can refill your emotional tank, and as football season comes to an end I will try to schedule more of those opportunities for myself too.
It can be really tempting to be greedy of my husband’s time when I feel like it is already in such short supply this time of year.
However, the years have taught me that a coaching staff with great camaraderie is a special thing that can make the seasons better. If an occasional night out is one way to keep it going, I am going to try to say yes.
I am going to save my “Heck no!” for the night when I am up to my elbows in craziness, and then thank my husband for coming to my rescue.
Are you a coach’s wife? Join our online community and connect with other coaches’ wives in the same season as you.
We don’t have to tell you that it’s been a crazy year and some months. We know you’ve been under a lot of stress. We’ve spent a lot of time praying for you. But, you know who has also been under a lot of stress? Your wife.
If you didn’t know it before, 2020 was the year that you confirmed you outkicked your punt coverage when you married your wife. We know you’re already aware of this, but we’re going to document it for posterity. While coaches have been figuring out how to maintain team morale over zoom, install new plays over Hudl and execute team practices without contact your wife has had a lot on her plate too.
Coaches’ wives have adjusted to daycares and schools shifting to online schooling while still maintaining jobs, ministries, and volunteer positions. More than that, wives have mourned the loss of seasons, jobs, family, and friends with you.
Coach, we know you are always grateful for your wife. But some years it’s nice to pause and really say thank you. As we start to see signs of “normal life” returning and we all exhale in relief, we want to encourage you to say thank you before the season’s craziness requires you to dive back in full force. (We know you have a lot of catching up to do!)
We’re making things really easy for you coach! We’ve gathered all our best suggestions into one post.
Gift Suggestions for the Coach’s Wife Who Deserves a Huge Thank You
This year we’re getting very specific with suggestions for wives you can use for Mother’s Day, Anniversaries, and birthdays. You may want to bookmark this one!
The Gift of Music and Podcasts
There are some pretty awesome podcasts out there designed specifically to encourage your wife. The Coach’s Wife Podcast is a favorite if you’re curious. But in addition to podcasts when you have a Spotify Premium membership you give the gift of gab and tunes on the go without taking up your phone data. (For $2 more a month you and your wife can both enjoy memberships!)
Get Away or StayCation for Real
We know travel is complicated right now, but if you can find an Airbnb near a spa your wife would love the time away with your undivided attention.
If you can’t find a sitter for the kids or prefer to invest in something for your backyard there’s nothing wrong with a staycation. However, make sure your staycation also includes eating out or GrubHub delivery!
Tips for a Great Staycation:
- No smartphone
- No email
- No working from home
- No cooking
- No cleaning
- No laundry
Consider these Items for a Backyard Staycation that Lasts all Summer:
- Hang in the backyard and read in a free-standing hammock.
- We also love this outdoor futon for two.
- Make s’mores in a firepit.
- Create outdoor seating for evenings with outdoor string lights.
Clothing and Jewelry Are Always a Winner
Over in the Friday Night Wives Marketplace, we also have the opportunity for you to support other coaches’ wives and small business owners. Check out Celia Bella Designs for some jewelry in your team colors. If your wife likes to work out Caylar Harper sells Zyia activewear which is super comfortable and very well made.
As you’re browsing the FNW Marketplace you’ll notice there’s a lot of opportunities for your wife to pamper herself! Whether your wife loves to dive into a new book or likes to pamper herself with spa products you will find a gift for your wife.
Are you on the move? Check out Lavender and Lemonade Design Co. Haylee Pitts custom home decor is beautiful. We are partial to the His Mercies Are New Every Morning sign for this season. But if your wife can always choose her own sign. Haylee also offers gift cards.
Maybe this move has sent your wife into a season of feeling a little lost? Gift her a session with Beverly Phillip. Sometimes the best thing a coach’s wife needs to hear is that her husband believes in her and is cheering her on in the middle of the unknown.
Well, Coach, we hope we’ve given you a few suggestions. We encourage you to bookmark the Friday Night Wives Marketplace and Shop and check frequently because we are always adding new items to both spaces!
Remember you have one more day to order the Summer Bleacher Box!
Resist the urge to fill every moment of dead week with picture perfect memories. Yes, these are the days that we cherish with Coach, but over planning can make dead week a chore.
I can promise you I will go wherever you go, stay wherever you stay, and your people will be my people. I will put in the extra work to get our family settled and make the new place feel like home. I will be open and flexible to wherever this journey takes us.
I can’t promise you I won’t doubt it, complain about it and/or be about upset it. I can’t promise that the thought of having to start over again won’t frustrate me. I also won’t be able to stay off of Zillow, searching for houses, even with only a mention of a potential job opening.
Note to Reader: In the spirit of CBS This Morning: Letter to a Younger Self we are inviting coaches’ wives to reflect on the milestones of their past and reflect on different lessons they have learned about the coaching life. We are a stronger community when we learn from each other. We can’t wait to hear your story!
Note to Self from a Coach’s Wife
Your idyllic suburban upbringing will take your first challenging life turn in Junior High. Your parents will make the important decision to leave the only church you’ve ever known. This single decision will change your Spiritual development drastically.
You will meet and engage with mentors that will stretch your understanding of God’s character and how you read the Bible. You will meet people who expand your global view. Your friends tell you about their experiences living overseas and open your eyes to the realization that you must research and study things for yourself rather than taking the word of a self-positioned authority. They also plant a sense of adventure within you—a longing to explore new places.
It was a huge step of faith to choose a new church. Your parents trusted God with your unknown future.
Attending church in one community and school in another helps you learn to move through different circles of people with comfort easily. You also realize that friendships run in seasons, and some people are in your life for longer seasons than others. This will teach you that there isn’t a point in wasting time being anyone but yourself.
Just as you’re starting to gather your bearings balancing work friends, school friends, church friends, homework, and responsibilities as a student athletic trainer life you’ll find yourself heading to college for all new experiences.
Always remember your college years were challenging and a lot of fun.
As a freshman athletic training major, your days are spent on the football field. The quietest moments are at football practice, where you quickly fall into the familiar routine from high school. Fill the water bottles, respond to the injury, run through the evaluation, head to the doctor, and start rehab.
The classwork is only half as interesting as the hands-on work, and you find yourself more engaged in your Bible and ministry classes than the classes for your major. By the end of your freshman year in college, you are pursuing two paths. Balancing student staff with Young Life and while still majoring in athletic training, working with different teams, and trying various internships allows you to combine both interests, but your worlds are very separate.
You will pray for a clear path for all your passions to align, and God will show up in amazing ways.
At football practice your Junior year, you will hear a common question from a voice you never hear on the field. “Is it boring watching us practice every day?” And at that moment, you will look down to see a smile on a classmate that always joined in on conversations. He never seemed all that interested in anything more than a casual friendship, but now he’s flirting just a bit, and you don’t mind.
It won’t take long for clear intentions to present themselves. This will include a conversation where you begin to understand that God was not confused when he gave me a passion for ministry and sports. His gift of a partner asking me to consider living on mission every day and use football as a ministry was icing on the cake.
You’ll Learn the Coaching Lifestyle is an Adventure with Heartache
Your dating months will stretch you emotionally and Spiritually. Within the first few months, you will learn what hypocrisy looks like as “friends” now walk past you with looks of disgust.
This is a lesson that will prepare you for future encounters for the rest of your life. You learn to accept that not everyone pursues authentic relationships by seeing your dorm mates now judge you for loving someone different. You’ll rely on your high school and college education in Biblical foundations, doctrine, and hermeneutics affirm your interpretation of Scripture. Developing these foundational truths before marriage will be important as you will face legalistic and racist words and actions your entire marriage.
Your adventurous spirit will be tested
Football will take you all over the State of Illinois and out to the Mountains of Virginia. No move will come when you expect it, yet each will include many important milestones and lessons. You will have seasons of fruitful ministry in every location. Your ministry is always clear, but you will also encounter many who use bully tactics, shame, fear, and Scripture’s weaponizing inaccurately to minimize your ministry opportunities.
Thriving in the Sweet Spot of Your Calling
You will thrive once you have distance from those who declare themselves false authority over your life. Distance will allow healing in the deepest wounds and clarity about God’s character. Each lesson will build on the previous one, and your confidence will grow as the noise of other people’s voices gives way for God’s voice. You’ll learn to walk more consistently with God’s shoulder to shoulder, and as you do, your marriage will thrive.
You won’t avoid conflict; it’s a part of life. But you’ll deal with it more efficiently as you clarify who you are fighting for and how God is calling you to live on mission.
Remember you are always clay in the potter’s hands
There are several references to God’s people as clay in the potter’s hands. But there aren’t any moments where God says he is finished molding the clay. He never says he is finished shaping us. Live like pliable clay. Don’t ever set on a shelf and demand to dry out. You have a unique calling, and you can only fulfill it if you remain teachable, tuned to God’s next adventure.
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.
QUESTION FROM A COACH’S WIFE
Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,
How do you handle your husband’s career and moves always being above your own career goals? How do you not lose yourself once adding kids in the mix who will rely heavily on you more than him with how much he’s gone?
Loving My Career
Answers from Veteran Coaches Wives
Dear Loving My Career,
This is the age-old dilemma for all of us coach’s wives. I was fortunate enough to know before I figured out my career that I would be marrying a coach, so I picked one that was needed everywhere. But even that didn’t make taking a back seat to moves and his career path easy. I’ve seen enough wives not let their coach’s career get in the way of theirs to know it is very possible. But it was a LOT of work and stress for them. When kids came into the picture, I realized just how true the saying “it takes a village” is. You won’t be able to do it all yourself and you won’t be able to rely on coach most of the time.
I thought becoming a stay-at-home mom would ease the burden a little by at least taking job demands and responsibilities out of the equation, but it only increased the “loss of self” aspect I was wrestling with. The truth is there isn’t one answer. It depends on each wife, each coach, each job, and even each stage of life. It’s a constant re-evaluation of your family’s priorities. You will need to decide on what can wait. For us, it’s a constant juggle to make those pieces fit. It’s realizing that there’s no such thing as balance, but instead, it is a sliding scale. When the kids are little, it might have to slide more towards home for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s fixed there. Find your people, and if you can’t find them for free, a reliable babysitter will be worth every penny. Figure out what you want and who you want to be, and be flexible and willing enough to make it work.
Dear Loving My Career,
Dang, this is such a hard part of being a coach’s wife. I think one of the most important things for us was to establish that we both wanted to support one another’s career goals, but that they were going to come at different times. Coaching careers are such a “ladder” and frequently involve moves. My career development, on the other hand, came in fits and spurts between what he was up to. It seems like his career was taking “precedence” but, in all honesty, mine was more flexible than his. I could pick mine up and figure it out wherever we went, he only had so many job choices.
He has absolutely sacrificed too by staying places longer than he wanted, letting me take a lower salary/no salary to return to school, etc. We did make a goal to knock out as much schooling as we could before kids came and that was a great blessing. I don’t feel left behind now, but it took me longer to get here than if I were single or married to a banker who stayed in the same town all his life. But, I don’t think I’ll give him up 🙂
I feel your struggle
Dear Loving My Career,
When my husband and I married close to twenty years ago the career I currently have didn’t exist. Regardless, if I had to write a job description from scratch and make up a job for myself I don’t think I could think of anything more perfect for my skills, gifts, and interests than what I do on a daily basis. The best part is that I work from home and most days I even set my own schedule. But you know what? It took a lot of starts and stops before I found this career path. Every time I started a new job I was positive I’d found “my perfect fit” for a career. I finally realized that I needed to stop trying to force things to fit for everyone else and remember that God knew where he was moving our family and he knew my gifts, strengths, and desires.
The reality is that there are plenty of families that wrestle with balancing family and career that aren’t involved with coaching. There are many decisions to make regarding budgets, what is best for your kids at each stage of life, and what is best for you and your husband mentally, physically, and emotionally. Running around juggling a career and family is exhausting even without coaching!
Marriage is a partnership. We thrive when we both have the opportunity to pursue our passions, use our gifts, talents, and strengths. That doesn’t mean we will always use them in the same way at the same time. I encourage you to take life one stage at a time and look for out-of-the-box opportunities. It’s amazing how many people can job share or work remotely if they ask. Even professors, doctors, and counselors can work remotely these days. Don’t assume you can’t do something forever even if you have to set something aside for a little while it doesn’t mean you can’t keep your skills sharp for the future!
Cheering you on!
Do you have a question?
If you give a coach a scrap of paper, he’s going to want a pen.
When you give the coach the pen, he will draw a play on that scrap paper.
After he draws the play, he is probably going to want a chair to sit down and think about it.
Note to Readers: This post is part of an ongoing series “Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife” and includes one question from a wife submitted anonymously. There are also several responses from veteran wives which offer encouragement, suggestions, and life examples. We can only write from our own personal experiences, but we’re committed to answering honestly and thoroughly to the best of our abilities.
Question from a Coach’s Wife
Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,
My husband just got offered a position at his DREAM school. He has talked about this being his ideal situation since we were in college. The issue is it’s several hours from my hometown where I’ve lived my whole life and he’s been for the last 7 years of his. We are heavily involved in our community and our church. Everywhere we go we see people we love.
I love my job and it’s difficult to see how sacrificing moving to a smaller community where the cost of living higher and homes are more expensive is the best decision. While I am so happy for him, I can’t picture leaving our lives.
Feeling discouraged, distraught, and like I am truly grieving.
Answers from Veteran Coaches Wives
Dear Discouraged and Grieving,
I have been where you are. We had a nice house in an even nicer neighborhood. I had gotten a job less than five minutes away teaching a grade with no testing and at a school with major and administration parental support. Both our families were in the area, and I finally felt content-even-happy- in my job. And then my husband got offered his first head baseball position. Four hours away. We honestly knew it was a God thing as He worked out the details seamlessly, but I did cry the entire way home after seeing the tiny town and having four job interviews in one day. But we had a peace about it so we packed up and moved. It wasn’t easy but God allowed it to happen. This was before kids.
When we got there, I was in a job that I did not prefer, I got pregnant right away, four hours from anyone we knew, and he started working seven days a week for the first time as assistant football. It was an awful year, I won’t lie. However, a lot of it was my attitude. I was exhausted, pregnant for the first time, hours from friends and family, and almost an hour from civilization [aka Target or Starbucks]. I became very bitter and resentful. This is probably not encouraging you right now but have faith.
We thought we would be there a year or two but stayed four before the next move. We got plugged into a church that we still miss and made lifelong friendships. We got to live in a wonderful rental house with dreamy views for two of those four years.
It was hard. I cried a lot. But I know God had his hand in it as well. I would pray about it apart and together. Leaving what you know and love is always hard-and yes, a true grieving process. But God walks next to you, and He sends who and what you need when you need it. I will be praying for guidance and clear direction and also that your heart is softened once you get there. If your husband has been waiting on this and God is opening the door, then it will be worth it.
Best of luck,
Been there, done that, and He provided
Dear Feeling discouraged, distraught, and truly grieving,
While I cannot guarantee that every coach’s wife’s journey will be the same, I can offer you the benefit of hindsight from 13 years after going through a similar scenario. When I met and married my coach, I swore that I was never, ever, ever leaving my hometown. I agreed to go wherever the job took us, but spent every second praying and plotting how to make it possible for him to move up in his career while staying put.
I too couldn’t see how me sacrificing everything I’ve ever known and pretty much everybody I’ve ever loved for his dream could be a good decision. But, after all these years and all this time, I can see that I wasn’t doing it for him, not really. It was all for me. I’ve met a lot more people in a few new places that I grew to love, found more communities that I could give my heart and support to, and a completely different job that ignited a fire in me that I had no idea was even possible. I am not the same person I was in my hometown, and it’s 100% for the better.
I’m not saying it was without challenges or heartbreak. There were in fact many, many, many of both. But, if I had the option to make the decision to leave all over again, I would go- hands down, without question (this time, the first time involved a lot of hesitation and questioning.) While I’m not saying that moving is necessarily your answer, I’m just offering a few points to ponder. Is it possible that you might not know what’s best for you? Could it be that you are giving up good for great? Would it be possible for your heart to grow bigger and stronger to include new people, new places, and a different life?
Wishing you all the love and clarity needed to make this difficult decision,
Dear Discouraged and Grieving,
The best things in life often start out scary! Your situation sounds so familiar to me and to so many others. After living away from my family for so many years we finally moved to the same town as my parents with our first baby. And one year later my husband was offered a job he wanted so badly that was 8 hours away. I did not want to pick up and move again that soon. I was so happy with my job and having my parents close by to babysit but eventually, I let my husband drive me across the state to check it out. I went with every intention of seeing everything in person to convince my husband this wasn’t the right move for us. The joke was on me because we both signed letters of intent less than 24 hours later. Then everything quickly fell into place, our house sold in three days and three weeks later we loaded up and made it to our new community. This move has been our best yet, the school district is the best we’ve ever worked in and we have made some amazing friends.
This move showed me that you can’t fight God’s plan or his perfect timing. If your husband is being pulled so strongly towards this opportunity, crack your heart open just a little and see where it leads.
Been There Done That
Dear Feeling Discouraged,
Dang, this is hard. Leaving comfort and family is no small consideration. I’ll share what I’ve learned through our experiences. We were in a great situation when my husband was recruited for a coveted job. Leaving our people was awful, and our experience in the new place was…awful. In fact, we eventually got fired. Sounds like it was the wrong decision, right? Except, when I was moved out of my/our comfort zone, I flourished in ways I never expected. It was as though being uncomfortable in our lives made me braver as a person. In fact, it’s how I ever left my comfy profession and became a writer.
Truly, I have no idea if you should move. Coaches tend to have itchy feet so I would wonder if you don’t take this one if he’ll look for others as time goes on that are less “dreamy”? Regardless, whatever you choose, pray that you choose it together and be all in as a couple leaving or all in as a couple staying. And, that you flourish as a person in your current situation, or in the less desirable one. We’ve had awesome situations and sucky situations and God has sustained us in both. He goes (or stays) wherever we are.
I’ll end with this, a blog post I wrote about (yet another move) loving where we were but also missing the last place. I hope my post Learning to Grow Love Plants blesses you.
Sister Who Has Been Stretched