When we enter a new stage of life, whether it is marriage, motherhood, a new career, or even living on our own for the first time we often receive a slew of unsolicited advice at every turn.
People notice our engagement ring or baby bump, read our announcement on social media or overhear us chatting with a friend in a coffee shop and before we know it we’re hearing their opinions on how to make the next phase of our lives better. More than that, we can read endless information on all of these subjects with little searching effort for better or worse.
But when it comes to unique situations such as military life, ministry life, or coaching life it’s harder to find helpful advice. Sure, there is information, but it takes time to figure out what is presented with an agenda versus simply to be helpful.
The Best Advice I’ve Received
The First Years
As a young coach’s wife, the best advice I received was to try to see the bigger picture.
This was an important piece of advice because it required me to look beyond the typical marriage book advice. Marriage books often encourage young couples to eat dinner together every night, to make sure to go to church together, and to get involved with small groups. All of these things are often challenging for young coaching couples, especially in season. The demands of the season often require long days, meaning dinner together would need to wait until 10 pm.
It can be easy to feel like you drew the short end of the stick when your marriage doesn’t have the same “freedoms” so to speak as your newlywed friends who don’t have weekend commitments and have jobs that end at 5 pm. But when you keep the bigger picture in mind, you remember that you may not have the typical weeks, but you are a part of something pretty special.
After a Few Years
Once kids started to come along and we were pretty settled into understanding more of how we wanted to use football as a ministry you would think things would be smooth sailing, but no, unfortunately, there were still things to wrestle through.
For me, one of the hardest parts about this season was that it felt like every time I took steps forward someone was waiting to “correct” me. I had to learn to push past other people’s opinions of what my life should look like and that started with the advice and reminder that we are not called to imitate each other, we are called to imitate Christ.
I had to learn to serve our players the way my husband and I wanted to without stressing about what other staff wives would say. As one wife put it, keep your eyes forward, eye on the prize, don’t waste time looking around at where everyone else is in their lanes, that’s their business.
As We Move Forward
I’ve said it often, the only consistent thing about our lives is that no two years look the same. Partly because our boys’ lives are in seasons of change, but mostly because that’s the deal with athletics. No two teams are the same, rarely does an athletic staff look the exact same, and all that change means that every year includes new experiences.
That being said, part of being married to a coach means that I’m a coach’s wife, and God has us together for a reason. Fully understanding that calling is important.
While not the totality of who I am, I would be remiss to assume that God does not have a plan for my life that aligns with my marriage and our current community.
Most recently, the best advice I’ve received is to pursue my calling with intentionality, which I am doing, without ignoring previous advice. That’s the thing about the best advice. It applies regardless of whatever else comes along because it is offered from a selfless place with the best intentions.