FIRST, A WORD FROM APRIL:
I’ve known Nick for about 5 years, but the last couple years our lives have connected more. I was privileged to be a part of his coaching certification training nearly 2 years ago, and have since walked with him in his coaching work. Nick is the real deal.
Nick was an NFL linebacker for 8 years and has pivoted since retiring 4 years ago to become a stay-at-home-dad. He knows what winning looks like both in life + leadership. He’s a man of strength in his body, mind, + spirit. He has much to teach us about how to partner better at home.
Listen to his podcast episode on The Global Fringe HERE.
Through the years, whether it’s been sports or family, I’ve seen how owning my cluelessness, supporting the home team, and identifying the opponent are indispensable tools for thriving in one of life’s most complicated arenas — the family unit.
In my experience, home life and sports actually have a lot in common. For starters, they’re both messy and unpredictable, but also quite beautiful when the core fundamentals are respected and lived out.
The last decade has been wild for me, mainly because three significant threads in my life managed to collide and become intertwined — my spiritual life, career, and family all began growing around the same time. I used each area to help make sense of the other, and these are some of the fundamentals I’ve not been able to walk away from thus far.
Would you be happy with Jesus if he treated you how you treat your wife?
One morning, maybe four years into our marriage, I remember having this thought roll through my head and it pretty much left me speechless. I was fairly new to my faith when we got married, so the whole Jesus, church-bride, marriage thing was a strong picture for me to hold onto. When that thought smacked me over the head, it immediately highlighted some areas of my partnership as her husband that needed attention.
My Submission = Her Trust
Trust is not about self-confidence. I’ve noticed that Anna-Marie (my Ezer, MVP, superwoman) is so much more confident to partner with me when she sees that I’m modeling my actions and perspective off Jesus’ example, rather than my own opinions or beliefs. Trusting me feels so much safer when she sees that I’ve taken the steps to align and submit myself. Submission seems to have some supernatural domino effect.
Also, for our relationship, this includes me being honest when I don’t know something, being open when I am in need or struggling, and apologizing when necessary. (Look out for her blog about “the oversharing husband”).
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Coming from a sports background, I do my best to avoid corny cliches about teams and achievement, but sometimes they just work!
We genuinely work to create a family culture that says we are all with each other and for each other. Even our 4 year old son knows that when it comes to relationships, his highest priority is making people feel loved, while doing what he can to make their load a little lighter. (The reason he knows this is because of how many times we’ve had to revisit that discussion.)
Since Anna-Marie and I are the head of our home together, we frequently talk about the direction of our family for the sake of alignment about our mutually desired future. What are our routines? Who do we need to speak to? Where do we need to go? Along with that, we’ve made a habit of keeping each other up-to-date on what is happening inside us individually. As a husband and father, I’m excited by the privilege to invest my best energy in helping my family know the truth of themselves and have the courage to be that everywhere they go. Our default posture toward each other is to encourage and equip.
Finally, it’s hard to discuss any relationships, much less our home team, without touching on conflict resolution. This final thought has saved us from so many wasted or potentially regretful words.
Fight like teammates.
Early in our relationship, I argued with Anna-Marie in order to win. I was right; she was wrong. The only problem is, those types of interactions left us hurt and even further apart than before the disagreement. Later when we learned that we are not enemies, we still had to figure out how that changed our posture during conflict.
One day, it struck me that during any competition, you see heated interactions between just as many teammates as opposing team members. However, there are some key differences that are important to note. Opponents desire to derail each other, discourage, and demoralize. Whereas, when good teams get after each other, it’s for the sake of their common goal. It’s for progress and positive motion. Teammates call each other out when the team values or desired future is at risk. We embrace conflict as a way to get back into alignment. The tone and objective of those two types of conflict are totally different from one another.
Humility and teamwork. These ideas are priceless in action, but no more than platitudes when they’re not activated. Playing for the home team is such an honor because you know that that place you represent wants nothing but the best for you, which fuels you even more to give everything you have to secure the win.