I became Mrs. Coach Fox 8 years ago. We had to hurry home from our honeymoon because Coach had to go to football camp. Two months in, my eyes would well up whenever I was asked, "How's married life?" because I HAD NO IDEA, HE WAS NEVER HOME. Other than sleeping beside him night, nothing felt different. I was married to my best friend and more lonely than ever before.
I'll never forget calling my mom one morning crying, telling her all of these things, and she said to me, "You married a coach who is gonna be busy doing football every fall. What are you going to be busy doing?" And BOOM. It hit me. I had to decide how I was going to spend my time. Where was I going to invest every fall? How was I going to fill my cup?
So here are 5 things. 5 steps that have helped me feel less lonely every season. Eight years in and this has been the least lonely season for me yet. I want you to be able to say the same, so without further ado...
5 Steps to Feeling Less Lonely this Season
1) Pick a Project
You're gonna have some time on your hands. Be it Coach being away recruiting or spending late nights at practice, you can't rely on him to keep you company much during this season. So, what needs done? What have you been needing to make time for? Does your house need a major purge? Do you need to organize your closet? Paint your hallway? Maybe you want to focus on meal planning or exercising. WHATEVER it is that's been on the backburner, season is the prime time to focus. My husband used to laugh whenever football season was done, because he'd suddenly get home during daylight hours and wonder how long ago I had painted the kitchen. Whatever project you choose to focus on, make it a priority and enjoy the process!
2) Take time for your friends
There's no need to be eating dinner alone every night. Girl, find some friends and have some fun! Whether they are old pals or new potential friends. I don't believe you have to be an extrovert to make a new friend. Talk to a mom at the library while you're out with your kids. Join a Bible Study at your church. Invite a friend over for coffee and donuts while the kids watch Daniel Tiger. Grab a drink with a friend after work. In this day and age of internet and technology, it's easy to think we are all "caught up" with our friends just because we text now and then when truly, nothing replaces face to face story telling and laughter. Do yourself a favor and find a friend and be a friend.
3) Build time each week for the two of you
Realistically, date nights during season are just out of the question for us. However, we have found that squeezing in a little time here and there have made a big difference for us. Sometimes the kids and I go to practice, and while we can't sit and chat, at least we are able to see each other, high five, and ask how each other's day was at the end of practice. We sneak in a quick lunch during his break, or even just spend the day sending each other silly GIF's or Babylon Bee articles to make each other laugh. We also chose to get involved as much as we can. We attend team meals, host dinners, go to practice, cheer them on at games, etc. I figure, if I can't get out of it I may as well get into it! Creativity is key here.
4) Remember your why
The coaching life ain't easy. We have to constantly remind ourselves why we do it anyway. It's certainly not for the fame or money. It's not for "summer's off." ;) It's not because it's an easy side job. No, it's because of our love for both the game and the players. It's because as adults, we know life can be tough, and we want to do what we can to prepare these kids for the real world. We know that being a team player and a leader and understanding that life isn't about ourselves will only make these kids better employees, better spouses, and better parents. We teach sacrifice and perseverance and commitment and dedication, all of which are ESSENTIAL characteristics in a healthy marriage. Oh, and yea, we like to compete and win too. But the game really is the afterthought compared to our desire to make an impact on the next generation. Don't lose sight of this.
5) Look to the One who satisfies
Nothing serves as a better reminder that my husband was not made to complete me than football season. Let's not put that kind of pressure on him or on ourselves. Y'all, we were created to compliment each other, to encourage each other, to help each other. God's design all along never meant for us to feel like we need to satisfy and fulfill every part of each other. That's His job. When you're feeling down, lonely, lost, forgotten, without purpose, without hope, the last thing you should do is expect your coach to change how you feel. Sure, we want his encouragement and kindness and understanding, but the only one who can truly satisfy us is Jesus Christ. No matter where you are on your journey with Him, you can take the time to pray. Read the Bible (No, Girl Wash Your Face doesn't count.) Listen to worship music and remember that He alone is the joy giver. He gives us purpose, His love is never ending and unconditional. He is always with us, He sympathizes with us, He weeps with us, He laughs with us, He wants to give us His best. When we look to Him first for all the love we need, anything our coach gives us is simply the cherry on top.
So friend, I'm gonna say to you what my mom said to me: You married a coach who is going to spend his time coaching every season. What are you going to spend your time doing?