This post was inspired by my good friend, Andrea, who played tennis back in high school and, just recently, provided for me the picture of committing oneself to the game.
There is a Phil Collins song, “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” that has stuck with me over the years. Phil is singing to his love. He’s made a terrible mistake but wants to make amends. He doesn't want to lose her. In it, he sings, “We've had our problems but I'm on your side”. It’s one of those lines that is unexpectedly profound yet the meaning is so simple. So simple, in fact, that I think most people miss it.
I’m preaching to myself here, by the way.
I think, those of us in marriages, when conflict comes between us, we tend to get caught up in the “His side/Her side” of it. I know I do. I forget that Paul and I are on the same team. We are fighting the same opponent and we have the same goal: a happy, successful marriage. It’s kind of like playing tennis, really.
Yeah, that’s right - tennis. Here’s where insomnia comes in handy. This little gem was handed to me around 4:30 the other morning when I couldn't sleep:
Here, we have a tennis court:
You and your spouse team up on one side - this half of the court represents your marriage. Everything that will try to penetrate the inside court of your marriage: dishonesty, financial difficulties, temptation, infidelity, disrespect, resentment, inattention, ingratitude, etc., take up camp on the other side. Each team member guards his/her side of the court, sometimes alternating front to back. When the enemy lobs a threat over the net, sometimes the husband rushes forward to smack it back, declaring ,“This one’s mine. I’ll make it right”. Sometimes, it’s the wife who returns the fire, shouting, “I’ll handle this one“! And, just as in any successful, well-matched team, the two players never cross each other. They work in unison, united together in one common goal: never let the other side win.
The threats may come hard and fast, but when the team is adequately suited up with the proper equipment - trust, respect, kindness, commitment, loyalty and, above all, God as their captain - those threats are returned with a full swing. It’s difficult, sometimes to remember, when caught up in the day-to-day struggles and our own desires, that we are on the same team.
"Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand". ~ Matthew 12:25
And, don’t forget, in tennis, as in marriage, when the other side scores zero - that’s LOVE!