This past year, we as a team didn’t want to only focus on our players’ Bible study, we also wanted to invest in our marriages. When the busyness of the season kicks in, we can get locked into football and forget that our marriage comes before the game. We didn’t want that to happen, so we looked to implement a way in which we can grow in our marriages and hold each other accountable throughout the season.
Having a regular couples’ Bible study with my teammates and their wives has been so beneficial for all of us. One of the biggest things Tamela and I have been gleaning from the study is the importance of constant communication. One thing we’ve realized is that even though we come into marriage a certain way, with specific needs and styles of communication, we change over time, and we need to be OK with the changes our spouse goes through. And the ways in which we communicate with and understand one another also need to change.
Having been married now for six years, I am a different man than I was when I said my vows. Then, I was a young man, just coming out of college, but now I’m a father of three with a busy career in the NFL. Likewise, my wife is a different person. I can’t talk to my wife like I’m talking to the old her; I need to understand who she is today so I can communicate with her effectively. When I married Tamela, she wasn’t a mother of three children, so how she now views life and reacts to different things has changed. Her priority list is different. We need to continually learn how to respond to each other in light of who we are today. As we do so, our marriage becomes more and more enhanced and we are given fresh dialogue to partake in.
But there are tough times and disagreements in marriage too. These are the moments we’re able to grow the most as a couple. It’s not about making the other person change as much as it’s about you changing the way you respond to them. There have been times when I feel really strongly about something in one way and my wife feels really strongly about it in a different way. But sometimes I just have to give in because I love her and I don’t want the tension. There are times when we need to revisit the subject at another time, and then there are times when I need to let go and say, “I feel really strongly about this, but I feel even more strongly about you.”
Adopting this attitude, though hard, takes an area of selfishness in my life and transforms it to be more like Jesus. The more we have to compromise with our spouse, the more we look like Christ because it costs us something every time. The fact of the matter is, with two sinful people, neither one of us is right 100 percent of the time. Neither of us is right most of the time. But these tough times make us better people and push us closer to God. Coming out of it, we can both appreciate the work God is doing in our lives and in our marriage through it.
Tamela is a strong woman of God. She challenges and encourages me in my walk with God daily. She has a true fear of God and reverence for who He is; she doesn’t want to displease Him. The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10), and I see that in her life. She reveres God and seeks to please Him instead of man, which is a beautiful thing to see. The way she parents, fulfills her role as a wife, and serves her friends and family is evidence to this.
In a world where everyone wants to please man, she truly stands out. This year, when I found out I did not make the Pro Bowl, the first thing she said was, “That’s man’s Pro Bowl. You made God’s Pro Bowl and that’s all that matters.” She always reshifts my mindset and reminds me that we are living for eternity. We are not living for accomplishments in this world.
She’s an amazing woman and I’m so thankful for the way she pursues the Lord and encourages me to do the same.
— Demario Davis, New York Jets linebacker
Demario Davis is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Demario’s Increase profile: https://theincrease.com/author/demario-davis/
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