Yesterday was the Super Bowl, one of the most watched sporting events in the U.S. Many people watch the Super Bowl even if they don’t usually watch football. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think about how football and marriage are – and are not – alike. I did this once before with baseball, so I’ll try to avoid duplicating any comparisons. As, before, I’ll present areas where marriage is like football as well as a few where no comparison should be made.

Hope – Yes – If there is one thing sports teaches us, it is to never give up. Even when it looks like the game is over, things can turn around. Late in this year’s Super Bowl, it appeared that the Seahawks were going to score with only seconds left to win the game. An unlikely interception at the goal line gave the Patriots the win. You may feel like your marriage is on the brink of failure – like the game is already over and you’re just waiting for the clock to run out. Hold out hope and keep working. Things can turn in an instant.

Helmets – No – The helmet is one of the defining icons of American football. In fact, it is so identifiable that the Cleveland Browns logo is simply an orange helmet. (If that seems strange to you, give yourself a congratulatory pat on the rump.) But there is no good analogy to be made here. If your marriage needs a helmet, then you need to get somewhere safe with people that can help you. (And I’m not joking with that statement.)

The importance of shoes – Yes – A lot of attention is given to sporting gear, including shoes. While football is not as shoe-obsessed as basketball, the shoes do play a big part. Marshawn Lynch created quite a stir this year trying to wear a pair of gold-plated shoes. He reportedly wore them in warm ups for the Super Bowl, but did not wear them for the game to avoid being fined. I guess he decided there were more important things than making a statement with a pair of shoes. To be honest, I wanted to put “no” for this item, but I’ve been married long enough to know better. It is amazing how something like shoes can cause conflict in marriage, but they can. Trust me, your marriage is more important than a pair of shoes.

Fans and Cheerleaders – Yes – Football, as with many sports, would not be as much fun to watch were it not for the fans. The fact that the word fan is a shortening of the word fanatic is usually not lost on anyone. Painted bodies, crazy hats, bizarre costumes all make for a more entertaining marriage – er, I mean, football game. (But I bet a lot of you were already picturing some crazy scenes with those things in your marriage, weren’t you?) So where am I going with this analogy? It’s simple. Your marriage needs fans and cheerleaders. You need people who will support the two of you and encourage your relationship. If you have friends that constantly seem to be creating conflict between you and your spouse, they’re not a fan. And unless you had a special day where you publicly stated vows of commitment to those friends, you should consider the possibility of finding new, supportive friends. Marriage is hard enough without third parties interjecting unnecessary drama.

This post is running a bit longer than usual for the Marriage Is Fun blog, so I’m going to leave it at that. As before, I skipped some of the more obvious analogies such as the importance of communication, the joy of pouring gatorade on each other and the value of eye makeup, but hopefully we’ve covered enough to serve as a reminder. A reminder that everything takes work – especially marriage. You started this marriage journey as a team and that is the only way it will endure.

So tell us, what other analogies between football and marriage could we have listed?