I wrote a blog post recently over on Friday Night Wives titled Coaches’ Wives: Don’t Settle on Just Surviving the Coaching Life. After years of reading anonymous questions from wives who are certain their marriages are over, I wanted to offer some solid advice and resources that I wish someone had been willing to share with me in the early years of our marriage.
While my post is written to coaches’ wives it’s applicable for all wives who find themselves balancing marriage and personal calling. When our spouses have public roles or high-pressure jobs we often feel that we need to protect their reputations.
We may protect our privacy out of loyalty to our spouse as well as avoid further conflict in our marriages. Regardless of our motivations, we need to consider if it’s our best choice to stay silent when additional support could help us get our marriages back on track.
Here’s a Preview of My Post
“One of the most beautiful things about the way God designed marriage is that when we love our partners as Jesus modeled, we reflect Christ’s love and heart to each other every day. Sacrificial love in marriage is a two-way street. ” Lessons from the Sidelines
Sadly, in the past twenty years, I have watched engagements and marriages end over affairs at almost every Christian college and public high school where my husband has coached. But, my awareness of coaches involved in affairs and/or abusing their positions of leadership did not just begin when I married a coach.
It might be easy to brush away these personal examples of failed leadership if it wasn’t for the public outings of football coaches Les Miles, Major Applewhite, Bobby Petrino, Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, along with basketball coaches Tic Price and Pokey Chapman (yes female coaches cheat too).
Of course, infidelity is far from restricted to the coaching world. Couples Bill and Melinda Gates and Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced citing infidelity. Both men cheated on their wives. Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, more politicians on both sides of the aisle than this article will allow me to list, and of course, there are the religious leaders.
Ravi Zacharias, Bill Hybels, and Carl Lentz were the most disappointing names for me, but many of you may remember the Houston Chronicle report that reported the conviction of 220 church leaders who were finally held accountable for abusing over 700 victims over 20 years.
Why Am I Writing About Infidelity?
One of the ways I support Friday Night Wives includes posting anonymous questions sent in from coaches’ wives. Anyone is allowed to submit a question via a form in our private community and it is truly 100% anonymous. Since beginning this in 2018 I’ve read numerous questions asking for prayer for marriage strain, but over the last two years, wives have become more transparent.
On average, once a month Friday Night Wives admin receives a message from a wife sharing that she believes her marriage is over. Many times, she has caught wind of an affair and is grappling with how to move forward. Other times coaches’ wives have discovered enough signs of an affair that they are gathering the courage to confront their spouses.
And, even if infidelity isn’t the cause of the wedge within a coaching marriage, the commonly mentioned culprits are:
- Isolation and loneliness
- Loss of self-identity
- Feeling overwhelmed with how much of the burden they are asked to carry alone
And, this entire list can be kindling on the fire when it comes to infidelity.
Marriage is a Partnership
The one thing that’s a commonality with all the names I’ve listed above is the public nature of their roles along with their leadership positions. I believe this adds an extra layer of stress for wives in some situations. The last thing we want to do is negatively impact our husband’s careers by speaking negatively about them. But, I believe that the devil uses this to drive a deeper division in our relationships.
1 John 1:6-7 says,
“If we claim to have fellowship with him (God) and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (NIV)
Pastors often use the analogy of a 3-strand cord from Ecclesiastes 4:12 in marriage ceremonies. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (NIV) Most scholars agree that King Solomon was referring to the value of the working relationship but regardless of the type of relationship we are discussing the point remains: accountability, partnership, and participation are vital.
It is loving and generous of wives to protect their husband’s reputations even while in the middle of a crisis. But, it may not be what is best for both partners in the marriage.
Coaches’ Wives You Deserve To Thrive In Your Marriage
Ultimately, my prayer for every marriage is wholeness and healing where both spouses thrive in their God-given calling. But no one can make that decision on behalf of another couple. What we can do is offer prayer and resources. Continue Reading over on Friday Night Wives
Looking for More Encouragment?
As the wife of a football coach, Beth Walker encourages women whose families are in the public eye to pursue their own callings even as they support their husbands’ careers and ministries. Through her personal stories as well as interviews with other women who are also living just outside their husbands’ limelight, Beth shows it’s possible to do both.