Jun 3 • 4M

Marriage Rule #2: Agree on the shape of the ball.

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Honest, candid and straightforward ideas for living a fulfilling life and reaching our potential. Hiya. I'm Matthew Royston, the husband of one, father of four, and The Bold Brit [honest, candid, Inspiring]. I grew up in Bristol, England but currently enjoy living in Utah, United States. I want to live a fulfilling life, reach my potential, and help others do the same. I have concluded that progress in our personal development, robust personal relationships, deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ, and having a healthy body and mind are the core components of a fulfilling life. The rest of life is often insignificant, or unimportant.
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white and blue soccer ball on green grass field during daytime

The football I grew up knowing and playing was very different from the football Cassandra was familiar with. Had you asked us when we first got married what shape the ball was for playing football, we’d have given you different answers.

This of course is the result of British-American differences in our relationship. We grew up in different countries calling different sports the same name.

Although the two sports may share a name, they couldn’t be more different. The pitch, the lines, the goals, the scoring, the rules, the equipment and even the shape of the ball is different.

So while it might be funny to watch Manchester United versus The New England Patriots, the reality is, such a game just wouldn’t work. It can’t. They are incompatible with one another.

In order to play either sport, all players must know, understand, and agree upon the rules of play, even the shape of the ball must be agreed upon, anything other than this leads to conflict, frustration and a breakdown of play. Have you ever tried playing a sport when someone doesn’t know how to play? It’s pretty much impossible.

Like the word football, marriage can also have very different meanings for individuals.

For example, the marriages I grew up observing and learning from were fundamentally different than the ones Cassandra did.

These differences shape our perspective, expectations and understanding. So much so that the question, “what should a marriage look like?” Yields different answers, even after 10-years of marriage.

But here’s something I have observed about marriage. If we cannot agree on the rules, there will always be conflict, frustration and a breakdown of play.


So what are the rules of marriage?

We get to decide as couples what our rules will be. But the rules are ultimately less important than us actually agreeing on what the rules are or should be.

This can be a messy business sometimes since establishing rules isn’t a one and done thing.

Modern day football (soccer) has evolved over time from not much more than a village brawl to the game loved by billions. This has been achieved by introducing new rules. And as everyone agrees on them the game gets better.

But here’s my caution. It’s temping as we seek to establish the rules for our marriage to try and carbon copy another’s successful marriage. However good it may appear to us, they are not us. You may enjoy watching golf, but I wouldn’t recommend playing hockey with a golf club!

Take the parts of other marriages that work for you and discard the rest and fashion for yourselves a rule book that fits your unique situation.

But always remember that the rules matter less than you and your spouse agreeing on those rules.

If you really want to play you must agree on the shape of the ball.

I hope this helps.


P.S. If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy: Marriage Rule #1: Don't do the Hokey Cokey... or was it the Hokey Pokey?


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