Rule #3: Be Your Spouse’s Cheerleader
Remember what a big deal football games were in high school? Students would decorate the hallways. There would be pep rallies and announcements to rally around the team in anticipation of a great victory.
Then Friday night comes, and the game proves to be an unmitigated disaster. Nothing goes right. Your opponent seems to score at will, but your team fumbles the snap on a field goal attempt as time runs out in the first half. When the gun sounds, putting a temporary end to the misery, the scoreboard shows your team down 31-0.
Considering the embarrassing score, your team’s inept performance, and the bleak prospects for the second half, an appropriate halftime show would feature the band and drill team in mourning attire with a procession of black-veiled cheerleaders slowly carrying a football-filled casket down the field to the lamenting sounds of a funeral home’s greatest hits.
No, that would never happen. Whatever the game’s circumstances, the show on the field would be colorful and upbeat, with bonafide smiles on the faces of the performers. Despite the disillusioned crowd, the cheerleaders would come out in the second half and cheer like the team was on the cusp of a mighty victory.
Life is No Game
Our jobs can be a constant grind with endless responsibilities and thankless bosses. When it’s finally time to come home, rude drivers and bottlenecked traffic can turn our commute into a recurring nightmare. We turn on the TV, and the news is of terrorist attacks, tax increases, and angry protests. We switch the channel to a sitcom whose crass portrayal of parents is insulting.
In short, the world beats us up and can leave us feeling like we’re far behind in a game we should be winning. When our spirits are down, we need a cheerleader. We need someone who believes in us, encourages us and reminds us of past victories when times were tough.
Someone Who Believes in Us
That is the job of every husband and wife. No, your husband or wife is not perfect, but the world constantly reminds them of that. Their teeth are not white, their bodies are not fit, and their incomes are nothing to brag about, but cheerleaders look past the superficial.
A cheerleading spouse will focus on the good and put a hopeful spin on the not-so-good. They will provide a place in the world that is safe and supportive.
The book of Ecclesiastes states it well:
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
For 37 years, despite my countless flaws, Becky has been my cheerleader, number one fan, and the person who picked me up when I fell. Twenty-five years ago, it seemed like I was far behind in life. Still, her tireless support and encouragement allowed me to attend college full-time and graduate at 36. Later, she’d get me through the lingering deaths of my parents and countless other struggles.
I have shared this tip from my perspective, but my wife would tell you she’s been on the receiving end of my support at least as often as she has been the giver. We believe encouraging love and support in marriage should be as much a fixture of our daily lives as mealtimes.
And just for good measure, throw in a few snacks too. It won’t hurt you, and it proves to be a great way to live.