Sometimes I chuckle how love and marriage has a way of changing a person. I remember once thinking that my mother and father looked alike. If you knew them, you would know how impossible this really is because they are an inter-racial couple! I have been married for some time now and deeply love my husband. Part of loving him is discovering the things that bring him joy and see if there is any joy in it for me. I’m not about butting in on his joy but if there is a way to share it…well sign me up!

When we were first married, he watched sports all the time. ESPN was constantly playing in the background. One time I found him watching television snow and listening to a NY Knicks game. At first I thought his interest in sports was cute, shortly after I felt jealous. Somewhere during those early years I became curious about why sporting events were so meaningful. Rather than fighting him, I joined him on the couch. I was determined to figure this out. This was quite a challenge because I quickly learned that asking questions were kind of annoying. My questions had to be strategically time in-between plays, timeouts, and commercial breaks. It is amazing what I learned about golf, hockey, basketball, football and baseball. More importantly than the rules and strategies of each sport, I learned a lot about my husband’s history and what it was like for him as a boy. I found myself being appreciative of his interest in sports because it was instrumental in the formation of his work ethic, integrity, and manhood. There were other things that sports contributed to his life but they are rather personal and I’d rather let him explain at another time.

Last night I joined him on the couch again. We watched part of the Penn State game and he decided to go up to bed. I knew he must have been really tired because he is a die hard Penn State fan and this was the Orange Bowl. Even though he went to bed, I felt close to him! Why? Because I stayed up and watched the game. I was going to be the loyal fan in his honor. Little did I know that this game would not be decided until three overtimes were played! Yes, I stayed up and watched all three. I was so excited I wanted to wake him up and tell him the great news that Penn State won. After a couple of nudges and no response, I decided to wait till 5 am when he gets up for work. I could wait a couple of hours. I was so excited; it was hard to get to sleep. What a neat experience to have stepped into my husband’s world.

Slowing down has always been hard for me. I love activity but it can also stress me out. Entering my husband’s world has led me to another discovery. I have come to discover the simple joy of being in the presence of each other. Sitting next to him is heart warming. I listen to his play by play commentary and marvel how he can call it before the announcers. I find myself daydreaming about this quiet, wise man sitting in an announcer’s booth broadcasting to millions of viewers. It’s fund to daydream. Even as I write this blog entry, the National Championships are being played (Texas verses USC). He reaches out to me and places his warm gentle hand on my back. We share a cup of decaf coffee and a bag of M&M’s. There really isn’t any talking to each other. I am typing and he is watching but I feel close. I have found a way to treasure the small things. Life is so complicated, this is simple and refreshing. Who would have thought watching sports could be so satisfying. Boy marriage has changed me!

PS…My husband went to bed before the end of the game. Yes, I stayed up to watch Texas win. What a come back! I didn’t wait till morning to wake him up. He smiled at me…priceless! I can’t wait for March Madness!

Used with Permission.

Christine Arnzen, M.A., LPC, is the Director of Training and Professional Development at the (Smally) National Institute of Marriage

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