As many of you know, I am a huge hockey fan. I have followed the Kings since I was a kid and they had less than a thousand fans sitting in the stands. So I starting looking a little closer to the game this week… What I realized is that hockey and marriage have much in common. Both need a coach. As Christ followers, we have God as our head coach. One note, the marriage team has no back up players, just you and your spouse. I felt I needed to point that out… Back to the game. There is icing… In marriage, that is when one partner shuts down a conversation. You know the old brush off and refusal to listen. Off sides is when one player is ahead of the other, not on the same page. How about interference? That can come from within the marriage or externally as others get involved… Here is an interesting thought, each hockey game starts with a face off. In marriage that is an argument where one partner tries to take control. Boarding is another plenty call. That… we call a cheap shot. You know when you say something to your partner that they don’t see coming. You bring up something from the past or something you know will be hurtful to throw them off balance.
There are certain situations in hockey that result in a plenty being called. The player who committed the infraction must go sit in the plenty box. In marriage that is called a cooling off period or time out. If the plenty is bad enough it may result in a plenty shot or a game misconduct. A misconduct results in the player who committed the plenty to go to the locker room. Bottom line… they are tossed out of the game. A penalty shot involves just two players. A goalie and a shooter… They have to deal with the situation alone. No help from others. In our marriages one partner is on the offense while the other takes a defensive position. In hockey that will not change… but, in our marriages it must change! We have to be like Switzerland, neutral. Learn to argue fairly, no plenty shots.
are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
My point in all this… is to get the wheels turning in you minds. Sure there might be more situations we can bring in but, for now, one more to go. When a player gets a goal with the help of another player, the one who helps get the goal that is called an assist. In marriage that is called teamwork. In hockey the ultimate is to score or get a goal. In marriage, never mind you know.
So you are probably wondering what in world am I trying to say? There is such a key element in hockey that many overlook. The players skates. If a players skates do not maintain a sharp edge not much will happen… So it got me thinking. In our marriages what kind of edge do you have? Have you lost the edge in your marriage? It is the equipment manager who keeps the edge on a hockey players skates. So in marriage, who is keeping the edge in your relationship?
I find it funny, all the discussion about the game but very seldom is there any discussion on the skates and edge that is needed. You can talk strategy and plays but if you lose your edge… it is all planned in vain. Many marriages today have lost their edge. In today’s terms they have lost their spark or passion. Like in hockey, you can have the greatest game plan but if you lose the edge on your skates you are done. In marriage, if you lose compassion for your partner… You are pretty much done as well.
My reference to the equipment manager is our God. Without Jesus Christ as the focal point of our marriages, we will not be able to execute the game plan He has for our marriage. Understand, as couples married in Christ you operate in freedom. He has shown us what love is. Scripture tells us “He first loved us.” He loved us so much, “He gave His life for us. That we may be set free.”
So as you review your game plan for marriage may I first encourage you to stop by and see the equipment manager first? It just might be time to put the edge back on your skates. But for now, it’s time to drop the puck and start a new game.
Pastor Scott & Shannon White