Christianity,  Sports

A coach’s wife writes to tell about her marriage

In my previous post, I made reference to the fact that being a head football coach in the SEC can be a real trial for marriages. As the video makes clear, the husbands are so busy that the wives are left alone for long amounts of time with minimal input from the husband. One woman said that her husband starts working on July 13 and does not get a full day off until Christmas Eve. In other words, it is really tough for husbands and wives.

A high school football coach’s wife left a comment under my last post that I thought was really helpful. She says that she and her husband have a “dynamic” marriage, even though the football season is a trial every year. They are Christians, and they have made this life their ministry. After viewing my last post and the video embedded in it, she writes:

I smiled all the way through it.

Shrink that house down…move those bright lights from the southeast to central Texas…shrink the division down to high school…and those fans from 100,000 to 10,000…and you’ve just witnessed my life as a coach’s wife from the last 25 years.

We have it a little easier. He didn’t start work until July 21st. And we should finish before Christmas this year but given how great our guys are playing, it might only be 3 days before.

But the truth is, it’s Sunday and he’s not here…and won’t be until well after dark. There’s game film to review…personnel to evaluate…a game plan to get down and print off for those guys to learn…and a practice schedule that fits the next team we’ll see. And that’s just Sunday.

He calls once during the day to catch the top three things I need to tell him about whether it’s grades for one daughter, a doctor’s appointment for another and that funny rattle in the car. But the truth is, it’s just sharing the news. He’s not going to be around to mess with any of it during his 5:30am – 8pm daily schedule.

But don’t read that as us not having a dynamic marriage or thriving family. We all have our things…our compromises…things others probably can’t understand…ways that it seems like it just can’t work. But as with all of life, it’s not the circumstances of our lives but the way we focus our gaze in them that rules how we all do in them.

My husband isn’t disabled as one friend’s is. He’s not headed to Liberia to help with the Ebola crisis like my cousin is. He’s not on a two year tour in Korea as another friend is.

But still…you saw it right. October is an especially hard month as the early excitement has waned…and the edge of lose-and-go-home playoffs hasn’t begun. We wives are more than a little tired of handling it all…and the younger our kids are the heavier it all feels.

So, why 25 years with hopefully at least another 15 years more at least?

Because of Aaron and Jason, Ty and Q, Quelle and Edward and whoever else comes with them into my home tonight. There are not too many places you find young African American boys…unbelievers all…hanging out on some white middle aged man’s house…year after year. Especially in today’s world where Ferguson-like stories seem to prevail, my quiet Algebra-teaching, receivers coach has an in with them like no one else you'[ll meet.

When he speaks, they listen. When they see him, their faces light up and their shoulder’s relax and their faces break out into huge smiles. They ask questions about heaven and why I quote Scripture all the time at them…and why we think like we think and whether we have more Ramen. They ask us to excuse their language as we just smile. They ask us if they can come back tomorrow…which is far too long away.

Why alone from July to Christmas? So the Gospel is displayed and told and shown and taught and coached for them down after down…night after night…meal after meal.

It’s not worth it for a game. Just know this. It’s not a game to us.

These are our boys. This is our way of reaching the unreached…of finding those He loves in our Samaria. We wouldn’t be anywhere else. And on the days I see that clearly, sending him off to study dig routes and Cover 2 strategies is not a problem.

When you pray, pray for what we all need…a sight of Christ and a sight of this world that would fuel both our compassion and endurance. It’s October. It’s hard. I need it.
Thanks for posting.


  • Whitney Clayton

    My high school football coaches had an incredible impact on me. Whether it was my head coach telling us to make sure we respect the dignity of our female classmates during homecoming or my position coach calling me on Sunday to apologize for losing his cool on Friday, they taught me what it was to be a man. I am all the more thankful they also pointed me to Christ as the reason for all of that. I am so grateful for the people choosing that life for their ministry.

  • Emilie Allen

    Thank you for putting into words what we coach’s wives feel and struggle with, but none of the “fans” understand. It’s a year-round job and it doesn’t end when the season ends. It takes a football loving, dedicated, and Christ believing (not in that order) family to handle it all but we push on!

  • Robbie Whitfield

    I am a high school football coach’s wife with a 10 month old son. Our hearts beat for our boys as yours do, but this piece was the most encouraging thing I could’ve read this Sunday morning as I rock & baby & we make breakfast alone.

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