The Answer to Marriage Is Soccer

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I wanted to be angry. Truly.

After a Saturday full of child laughter (i.e. parent supervision), the last thing I wanted to do was put both kids to bed by myself. The very act ages me exponentially. But my husband wanted to go to a soccer game, and I knew this “favor” would come in handy at a later time of convenience.

Marriage mistake #1: Keeping score.

The premonitory words of our premarital counselor often bounce around in my mind: “Now you’re going to have to learn how to help each other.” Yeah, yeah. When you are twenty-three, you know everything about love. I most certainly thought I did.

Over the last seven years, my husband and I have figured out how to combine two complex families, balance two careers, and produce two beautiful children. Love is all we need, right?

But then there’s soccer, which represents one of my husband’s primary passions. He spent several of his formative and young adult years playing, and the sight of a live game makes him, in a word, giddy.

A few months ago, in the midst of an insane semester, my husband and I reached our breaking point: the “it’s-not-me-it’s-you” moment. For the last three and a half years, we had sacrificed our interests and hobbies at the altar of early parenthood, and, in the process, had become resentful martyrs.

Somewhere along the way, we stopped playing as a team.

It’s not always easy to encourage my husband to spend time away from our family, but I would argue that it is healthy and necessary. Commitment, after all, should not come at the cost of one’s self. I, too, have found ways to reconnect with my pre-children passions, and it has made me a more content mother.

And in that extra time with my kids on Saturday evening, we played soccer. My son kicked the ball, and my daughter cheered.

And – for perhaps the first time – we were all winners.

::today’s daily inspiration::

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