We are about halfway through football season. And for some of you, your obsession with football is slowly ruining your marriage.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” you say. “It’s just a game. How could it possibly be ruining my marriage?”
You’re right about one thing: it is, indeed, just a game.
The NFL is worth $45 billion. That’s the same as a little coffee company you may have heard of called Starbucks. The top 20 NCAA football teams generate around $1.2 billion per year, and there is plenty more where that came from.
That is $46.2 billion worth of power that can consume some people’s lives for four months out of the year.
For some of you, your entire weekend is centered around a four-hour block of time when your team is playing. If you are a passionate watcher of football, this sounds like guaranteed fun every weekend. If you have a spouse and family who are just as passionate, then you’re in luck. That, however, is rare.
Let’s look at this a little closer. Here are 5 signs that football season is ruining your marriage.
- You look forward to it more than you do time with your family.
You study the schedule, keep a solid watch on the rankings, and know every player by name–perhaps even a little bit about their personal lives. You “bleed” the colors of your team. And each and every week for fourth months, the anticipation kills you. You wake up early on Saturday and Sunday to catch the pre-game broadcast, and then linger after the game for interviews and analyses. You catch the drift.
Do you have this kind of anticipation for time with your spouse or family? If you’re honest with yourself and the answer is no, it may be time to reevaluate your priorities. Sending this kind of message may be slowly ruining your marriage.
- You regularly silence your family in the middle of a big play.
Let’s be honest: there are fewer things more rude than hushing somebody in the middle of a sentence. This is especially true if your reason for it is the interruption of a big play. It sends one message: “What I have going on is much more important that anything you may have to say.”
A football game lasts around four hours. And if you regularly do this, that is four hours of the day when your spouse or family essentially have to ask permission or wait for the right time to speak to you. It sounds ludicrous when you say it that way (or at least, we hope it does).
There is no way to make this one sound any better than it is. If this is how you behave, you’re likely sending the worst kind of message to your spouse.
- You pass on fun adventures week after week because your team is playing.
You have one life to live–one to give to the people that you love the most–and limited time to make it the very best it can be. Football is fun, but it can wait. Making memories with your family, however, cannot.
Do you want your legacy to be that you passed your family up for a game, or that you made them a priority? The choice is yours.
- Football has even leaked into your weekdays through fantasy sports.
When the Internet entered the world, so did a whole host of new distractions. For some of you, football isn’t just about Sunday anymore. It’s about teams you’re managing and people you’re competing against–sometimes even for money.
Remember, it’s called “fantasy” for a reason. Step back and take a good, hard look at your priorities. If fantasy football comes first, it may be time to cut back.
- Your mood is based upon the win or loss of your team.
If the outcome of a game–played by players you will likely never meet–has an effect on your mood, then you may need to consider dropping it altogether.
Football is a game, but being the best husband, wife, or parent that you can be is not. If your mood is based on a final score, then football may be ruining your marriage.
The Final Call Is Yours
Many, if not all, of these points come with some harsh truth: the underlying theme here is the idea of idol worship. Simply put: if we place anything we do or have before God and our families, then that thing becomes an idol. It’s not the typical tone we like to take, but we all have habits and behaviors that must be called out from time to time.
It could be very easy to brush off or justify a warning like this. You work hard, so you think you should get your “me time.” You might say it’s “just the way you are,” or that “football is in your blood.”
You might say that you need to have your time with the guys to balance out life. After all, it’s “not really that bad”–or is it?
Football isn’t inherently bad, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. But just like any good thing, it can be used and abused. It can be put before what is truly important. And in the case of marriage and family, it could be sending all the wrong messages.
If this is you, be honest. Ask yourself whether you’re being fair to your spouse and your family. If your answer is no, it’s time to put down the remote and spend some time with them.