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The Four Secrets of Happily Married NFL Couples

Have you ever noticed that we don’t hear much in press about NFL marriages until something goes wrong? Happily married couples don’t make headlines.

When people learn that I study “love in the NFL,” they tend look surprised and ask questions like, Isn’t that an oxymoron? “NO!” I want to shout!  I’ve interviewed hundreds of NFL players and NFL wives about their relationships. I’ve watched NFL couples interact over years of marriage. I’ve been an NFL wife and I count other NFL wives among my closest friends. As a friend and a researcher I’ve talked with hundreds of fellow NFL wives about their most meaningful moments and their deepest secrets.  The truth is, most married NFL couples report being very happily married.

Life in the NFL comes with a unique set of challenges. Fans feel entitled to know everything about every aspect of players’ lives, which makes privacy hard to find. The hyper-visibility of NFL players can leave their wives in their shadows, feeling isolated and alone. Many NF…
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A Moment in Time

As the clock ticked down to "0" at Super Bowl XLIX and confetti shot from the cannons, I couldn't help but notice this player on his knees, alone in the endzone. I do not know him, but I could not help but notice how he separated himself from the crowd. Alone, he breathed in the surreal moment on the biggest stage in America.
Streamers fell, music played, fireworks lit up the sky. It was likely the very moment about which he spent his whole life dreaming. But tomorrow, he will wake up and see that the world is not as different as he thought it might be. Winning the biggest game in the world did not change him like he thought it would... Like he dreamed it could. Imagine, working your whole life for one moment... The moment where you believe that you will have it all. But in the chaos, emptiness. As the sun sets and rises, the moment is but a memory and the race begins again.

Time to Celebrate

This picture was taken after the Seahawks beat the Saints in the unlikely playoff victory (and night of the Beast Quake) in 2011, but I just saw it for the first time last night. I love everything that it communicates: trust, happiness, victory, a Seahawks win, that moment in our lives, love, our focus on marriage/each other while 60,000 fans cheer for the win, celebrating each other's victories... It doesn't have to be on a national stage - if we choose to be married, shouldn't we find a reason to celebrate our spouse every day?

Love Lessons: For Our Daughters

Craig and I have three daughters. It is easy to think of them as our little princesses - but the reality of how quickly they will grow into young ladies is ever present. 
Journey, our eldest, is just five years old.Last Halloween, she came home from preschool and said, “Daddy, I think that you should choose my classmate, Oliver, for me to marry.”“Why do you think that you should marry Oliver,” Craig asked her.“He was a knight for Halloween and I was a princess,” she explained.“He can protect me like you protect Mommy”, she said.
I wanted to sit Journey down to explain that choosing a husband is more complex than finding someone who knows how to make himself look like a knight in shining armor.  Likewise, I imagine Oliver’s parents might want to sit him down to explain that choosing a wife is more complex than finding someone who dresses as a princess.  
Journey is always on the lookout for the boy she will marry.  Right now, the idea of marriage blends easily into the magic of a playful…

Faith in Football

Throughout the NFL, zealous fans approach NFL players, hands shaking and voices cracking in excitement to be near them.  For as long as sports have been around, fans have always worshipped athletes.  For me, growing up, it was The Minnesota Twins who were my heroes.  I remember the thrill I felt when my favorite players signed the baseball that I proudly displayed in my room.

When Craig and I started dating, I began to think about sports heroes in a new way.   I knew him as the cute boy from college with only a dream of playing in the NFL.  I knew that I liked him, but I wasn’t sure if I was up for spending time with a man who, if he made it to the NFL, might be worshipped by strangers.  I feared the hero worship might change him.  I worried that the boy I knew in college would grow into a man ruined by money, status, and fame.  

During the time when we dated, and eventually married, I worked on my Ph.D. studying Love in the NFL.  For the seven seasons that he played in the NFL, I studi…

Super Bowl XLVIII: Bring Home a Healthy Marriage

Super Bowl XLVIII is just around the corner.  It is sure to be a fabulous weekend where stars will walk red carpets past real and imaginary seas of adoring fans.  Cameras will click both to boost the egos of those in attendance and to give the media outlets a chance to score pictures of some of the hottest names in sports and entertainment.  Fans will pour in from all over the world to celebrate their favorite teams competing for the Lombardi trophy.  

Invite-only parties will commence all over the city.  Inside, those on corporate expense accounts mingled with recognizable sports faces and others who were lucky enough to slip in as a part of a star’s entourage.  Last year, my husband and I were in the latter category, his NFC championship ring holding no power to get our names on the invite-only lists to which his more high-profile friends were invited.  

Free-flowing drinks,  tray-passed foods, and fashionable young people filled the rooms.  But even among the the facade of fame, I co…

Establishing Home Field Advantage for the Holidays

It was our first Christmas morning together.  We were in Seattle, where my husband, Craig, was a rookie for the Seattle Seahawks, thousands of miles away from both of our families.  There had always been something magical for me about Christmas mornings.  The smells of bacon sizzling, and cinnamon rolls right out of the oven.  The bows and bright wrapping on the presents peaking out from under the Christmas tree.  So on our first Christmas morning together, he and I awoke early to the memories of our individual Christmas pasts.  As we held hands and headed to the living room of our rented apartment, the reality of our Christmas morning together seemed to hit us at the same time:  No breakfast was cooking.  No stockings were stuffed with surprises nor were presents peaking out from under the tree.  We didn’t even have a tree.  

We resorted to finding a 24-hour diner and ordered something akin to moons-over-my-Christmas-hammy for our first Christmas dinner together.

That day we learned th…