What can you learn about marriage from the rules of wrestling?
Lindsey and I have been married ten years, but it’s only been in the past five that we’ve learned the benefits of wrestling in our marriage. We’ve only recently started to lock arms and go toe-to-toe. We grab each other by the hair and we grapple and toss each other around the room in heated passion.
Okay, maybe not. Not exactly. But my name is Steve Austin and I have heard the jokes about my name for years, so why not?
For the first five years of marriage, Lindsey and I were stuck on pleasing one another and creating a marriage that didn’t look like our parents. We foolishly held everything inside. We never wrestled. We never ripped our shirts and smashed beer cans on our heads and jumped from the top rope. We never raised our voices or fought. We barely even argued. Facebook friends thought our relationship was perfect.
I wouldn’t go back to that place for anything.
You can learn a lot about relationships from the rules of wrestling (italics are mine).
- Takedown: Points are scored for taking your opponent down to the mat.
Steve says: What if we humbled ourselves and got down low, serving our spouses, instead of coming at each other with a list of demands?
- Escape: You score one point for getting away or getting to a neutral position when your opponent has you down on the mat.
Steve says: Sometimes the best thing is to take time to “cool down”. Don’t avoid the hard topics, but give yourself space. Once your emotions go down, your rational thinking will return. Then you can come back and talk as adults who care deeply for one another.
- Reversal: You score two points when your opponent has you down on the mat and you come from underneath and gain control of your opponent.
Steve says: You won’t always win the argument, and that’s okay. The point isn’t winning or losing; the goal is mutual understanding and respect.
- Near Fall: You get near fall points when you almost but not quite get your opponent pinned.
Steve says: This is my favorite one. I’ve had one major near fall and so has Lindsey. Thankfully, the power of a second chance, marriage counseling, and really hard work has enabled us to wrestle through it and stay together.
Just like wrestling, there is protocol that must be followed in marriage. You can only wrestle within the confines of the mat and there are rules that should be followed to make the match (or the marriage) safe for each participant.
- Illegal Holds: Each marriage is different. Only you can decide what is an “illegal hold” for you. Have fun! Life it up! Make love! But you should both mutually agree on what the “illegal holds” are and agree to keep them out of your relationship.
- Fleeing the mat: When things are heated and you’re mad as hell, there is nothing wrong with leaving the house, but always make it clear that you will be back.
- Locked or overlapped hands: Don’t kick them when they’re down. We all go through seasons and have tough times. Choose your battles and your timing wisely.
- Flagrant Misconduct: Ejection, the match is over. Again, only you and your partner can decide what counts as “flagrant misconduct”. No one else can tell you to leave him or leave her. You have to make that decision on your own after a whole lot of wrestling with God.
Is relationship coaching right for you? Click here to take the quiz! My wife and I have been through some really tough times in the past ten years, but learning the art of wrestling has made us stronger than ever.
Photos courtesy of the author.