In this blog series, I’m giving you a “sneak peek” into my “Reader Mailbag” – sharing actual questions I’ve received from (and answers I’ve shared with) folks who struggle over “Real Relationship” issues – just like you and me!
I hope the series is both eye-opening and edifying! And if YOU have a question you’d like to see answered, send it our way! You can email me directly at email@example.com
“My husband continues to play sports, which eats up a lot of our family time. Do I have a right to demand him to quit?”
Marriage is a team sport, requiring both partners’ full participation to create a winning “home team.” But don’t make the mistake I made.
I used to watch Greg play on a men’s softball team, but eventually began staying home with the kids. Softball began to feel like his “mistress” so I insisted he quit, failing to recognize how it kept his physical, mental, and emotional batteries charged. He soon withered and became much more stressed over work, which negatively impacted our marriage. I regretted leaving his sidelines once I realized the ripple effects.
Greg now plays basketball during his lunch hour so he doesn’t take away from our family time. I try to watch occasionally, and other guys comment how nice it would be if their wives joined me on the sidelines sometime.
Obviously, a man’s love of sports (or any other recreational hobby) can grow out-of-balance to the detriment of his family, so consider three things:
- Don’t take it personally. Even though it may feel like it, chances are he’s not trying to escape his family responsibilities. Just like women need social outlets or shopping excursions, men sometimes need more than just work and home to thrive.
- Inspire vs. Require. Demanding more of his time will put him on the defensive. Creatively inspire him to spend more quality time together doing something you both enjoy.
- Create a balance. Compromise on the amount of time each of you spends doing your own thing. For example, divide the month into four Saturdays – one for him, one for you, one as a mini-marriage retreat, and one as a family day. Everyone comes out a winner with this scenario.
Remember, when you encourage him to do the things he loves and is energized by, he’ll most likely return to you with a greater desire to connect with his biggest cheerleader.
Every Woman’s Marriage by Shannon & Greg Ethridge (click here to order)
The Marriage You’ve Always Dreamed Of by Dr. Greg Smalley (Tyndale House Publishers)