With the South East Asian Games coming up, the land of Singapore will soon be abuzz with sporting action. As we support our national athletes and watch the games, there is also a thing or two we can learn from the sporting world in helping us strengthen our marriages.
Play to your strengths
On a football team, each player uses his talents and works with the others for the good of the whole team. If one player tries to do it all, the team suffers. If one player insists on playing a position he’s not gifted for, the same thing happens. Similarly, the most successful marriages are those where a husband and wife learn how to function as a team and lean on one another’s strengths. If the wife is better at finances, she can be in charge of the budget. If the husband is better at planning, he can map out family outings and vacations.
Put in effort
We often watch sportsmen compete with confidence and determination, and some even win medals and break national records. What we do not see, however, is the countless hours they have spent training and improving on their skills, and the number of sacrifices made. All this stems from a strong commitment to be the best they can be. In the same way, a good marriage doesn’t happen overnight. It takes careful tending to, deliberate nurturing and loving protection to grow in depth and richness. Marriage is hard work, and both husband and wife need to take time to strengthen the foundation of their family - their relationship with each other.
Take one for the team
It is believed that this phrase originated from baseball - when a player is hit (and hurt) by a pitch, he gets to go to first base, giving his team an advantage. Likewise, one key element of a thriving marriage is the willingness to sacrifice personal desires for the higher goal of building and strengthening the relationship. When you give up something for the sake of your spouse, you are telling him or her "I love you more than I love my sleep/comfort/money/desires." Acts of sacrifice, sprinkled freely throughout a marriage, make love richer and deeper.
Take a time-out
Singaporeans are busy, day in and day out. However, that should not be an excuse for neglecting your spouse. In fact, the busier you are, the more critical it is for you to make spending time with your spouse a priority. Just as a time-out in a game gives the team an opportunity to re-calibrate, giving your spouse and yourself a much deserved time-out every now and then allows you to connect with each other, away from the demands of life. Don't be afraid to ask for and receive help from family and friends and enjoy your date night without feeling guilty. If you do find difficulty arranging childcare, be creative! Put the children to bed early and have a picnic indoors or plan to watch a movie together on the couch.
Be your spouse's biggest fan
With the privilege of playing in their very own country this SEA Games, Singapore's athletes will have a home ground advantage. This is not just about playing on familiar grounds, but also about having many more supportive fans than any other country's sportsmen. In similar fashion, being your spouse's number one cheerleader can go a long way in enriching the marital relationship; attaching a high value to your
spouse, and backing that up with spoken words can do wonders for your marriage.
Be generous with compliments and encourage your spouse every chance you get. Thank your spouse for everything that he or she does daily for you and your children. Some of you might ask at this point, "Why should I be my spouse's cheerleader when my spouse doesn't give me much to "cheer" about?" But you'll surprise yourself if you first work at being your spouse's cheerleader, you'll find there'll be more to cheer about. You might soon find your spouse being your number one cheerleader too.
A marriage is living and growing, and cannot be kept alive by just one person alone. Winning in marriage is not tough, as long as both husband and wife work as a team towards a common goal - keeping the marriage vow and keeping it strong.
Copyright © 2015. Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.