The Golfer’s Guide to Marital Bliss

1. Get out of the Sand trap

About a month ago, I was hacking away, as usual, playing golf with a dear friend. The sunset was threatening our hopeless game, and I hit my 17th hole shot into a deep sand trap. Slowly, I stepped into the sand, and next thing you know, I’m laying flat on my back. So, my not so smooth game just became worse as my foundation slid and allowed me to collapse.

 

Everything goes along smoothly for a while, then one day, out of the blue, you hit a sand trap. It can be something uncomplicated like my fall, or it can be huge, even threaten a relationship.

*wince* “But I ask him every day to pick up his socks…. He just won’t….  He can’t seem to…. I’ve asked him _______ly! (insert verb ex: nice, beg, sweet, angry).” Has any of it worked? Probably not.

First, I must ask if this is a hill on which you want to die? Is this an issue that you can change or is it something that you can let go?  Guess what? You cannot change your spouse.

So, you can choose to stay in the sand trap and continue to whack away at that ball, while sand blows in your face…OR…. You can choose to accept the situation and work with it. Maybe try a different strategy like using your sand wedge and gently pitch the ball instead of whacking it with full force.

2. Carrying A Load

Sometimes you need to let it go. Maybe you need to take the cart for a while and put the bag down. Your bag of clubs can get pretty heavy mostly when you stash old Kit Kat wrappers, broken tees and loose change in the pockets. Are you holding on to the stuff in the side pockets dealing with past hurts, issues or anger?

Apparently, A new study shows that carrying your golf clubs and walking 18 holes of golf may have a negative affect on your golf swing and performance as you play 18 holes which was presented at the 55th American College of Sports Medicine. Proof positive that all that baggage may be detrimental to your health. Not only that but another source was noted to say that carrying your clubs reduces your height by 0.2mm!  If you are carrying a load of anger and resentment, you need to place park your bag, get in the cart with your mate, and talk it out. Otherwise you’ll be a short, exhausted human being.

3. Lost Ball? The Five-Minute Rule

 

So, you have hit your ball somewhere in the parking lot. No, maybe it is in the field next door among the bristles or perhaps it is among the pile of leaves along the clubhouse. Hmmmm. You have five minutes to find it. GO…! Now, you may not find it in that five minutes, and if you don’t it’s a one stroke penalty to the score.

 

Are the conversations with your mate one-sided? Maybe she or he does ALL the talking and you sit there repeating, “Yes Dear..” Maybe you should try asking questions! Moreover, when your spouse gives you an answer, delve deeper. Give this a try for a minimum of five minutes to start. Ask your spouse how he/she feels and then listen. Listen without giving advice or reacting emotionally. Try to understand life from his/her perspective. Then demonstrate your understanding by summarizing what you’re hearing. If you spend at least five minutes a day asking questions and expressing genuine interest in his/her ideas or thoughts, you might find your missing ball.

4. “FORE!”

Look out ahead! Now there are times in the marriage when you need to just take one day at a time and enjoy the ride; however, you should plan for things to do together. Take initiative to spend time with your spouse. Don’t wait for your spouse to make a date with you or to set time to talk with you. Suggest it yourself. Do you go out on dates? Do you sit down at the beginning of the week or month and take some time to plan? Families that play together, stay together.

 

If you don’t do this and take initiative, “Fore” may be what you really hear; you are in “danger” zone of not connecting lately. Don’t let this go by. Take ACTION!

Connection has to happen daily, let alone weekly and monthly. However, you can avoid the big problems if you take care of communicating and dating as much as possible.

5. Evaluate your swing

Guess what? You have faults! Sorry to break it to you, but you aren’t perfect. People with strong character are aware of their faults and work to better themselves. Now, if I know you, and if you are like any red-blooded human being, you could probably work on something in your life. To have a good swing, for example, you need to have

  • Patience
  • Commitment
  • Practice
  • A bit of Luck

To have a good marriage, you need to have… guess what? The same four things (if not more).  Maybe it’s time to evaluate your swing. Take some time and look in the mirror to find some weakness YOU possess. If you work on that, maybe your marriage will improve. Remember, character is built from humility.

 

6. Take a Mulligan when needed

When I was a child, my favorite phrase as the “Double Dutch Champion of Pueblo Road” was “Do over!” What a relief to know I could try again and better my time. When a player messes up or “muffs” his or her first try at a tee box, he/she can take a mulligan. Who would have imagined that grown-ups have this opportunity. The idea of mulligan in marriage reminds me of GRACE. Have grace with your mate. Sometimes we need a real do over when we make a mistake. I recently read, In, The Grace Wakening, Chuck Swindoll calls grace “the oil that lessens the friction in marriage.”  But, it must be mutual. One cannot be the ball and the other the club. They both are active and part of the work.

 

7. The Spirit of the Game

Unlike many sports, golf relies on the integrity of the individual to show kindness for other players. All players should behave in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy at all times. This is the spirit of the game.  As in golf, in marriage (and any relationship!) kindness goes along ways to create warmth and positive feelings in a relationship. Every day there are opportunities for undemanding, kind gestures that show you care. The smallest thing like a compliment or a hug can make any marriage better.

Once again, the game of golf provides valuable lessons for life. Will these seven tips invite bliss into your home? Follow these rules, just like with your game, and your marriage will turn into a hole-in-one.

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