When I was younger my dad taught me that almost any situation in life can be analogized to baseball. Although it seemed silly at the time, I’ve grown to understand that there’s much wisdom in those words. Time and time again whether at work, in ministry or in family, I’ve used the game of baseball to either illustrate something I’m teaching or better understand something that God is teaching me.
One of the many lessons that I learned as a young baseball player is the importance of “covering the base.” If you are unfamiliar with baseball you at least probably know that different individuals are assigned specific spots on the field. You have a “first baseman,” a “second baseman” and so on and so forth. However, there are moments when a player has to leave their assigned position. For example, if an errant ball is thrown to the third, the third baseman may need to move into foul territory to get it. It’s easy to see that this leaves the base exposed. Therefore, it’s another player’s job to cover the spot. When the third baseman can’t be there to make the play, someone else on the team has to do it for them.
When a baseball team does this well, it is a thing of beauty. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about it is watching each player sacrifice so that the team overall benefits. If the third baseman said “It’s not my job to get that ball. I wasn’t the one who threw it poorly.” then the whole team would suffer. Similarly, if no other player was willing to leave their spot in order to cover third base, it’s likely that other team would win the game.
You may be wondering why I’ve spent so much time explaining baseball strategy – but hang with me. What’s true in baseball – is also true in our relationships. Whether it’s with our spouse, our ministry partners, our co-workers or our friends – we must be willing to sacrifice what is “ours” so that the good of the team takes precedence.
I find that this can be especially difficult to do in marriage. After a certain time of being married, chores tend to fall into “his” or “her” categories. Different families handle the assignments differently, but either deliberately or by habit, the categorization occurs. However, there are times when someone may falter in completing their “assignments.” Perhaps it’s one spouse’s busy season at work, and they are able to fold the laundry as quickly as they usually do. Or perhaps, one spouse isn’t feeling well, and the car maintenance falls to the bottom of the priority list. Whatever the reason, we all have times where we don’t get things done. Sometimes it is just for one day, but it could last for weeks, months or even years.
The challenge is in how the other spouse responds. By no means am I excusing laziness – but if there’s a legitimate reason for why your spouse can’t complete the items on their “to do” list – what do you do? Do you silently judge them while remembering all the times you’ve completed your list even when you weren’t feeling well? Do you constantly remind them of what they need to do in a way that other people may consider it nagging? Or do you pitch in and “cover the base” – recognizing that there are all times when we need help – and in all likelihood – there are probably times when your spouse helped you?
In short, are you a “team player” or are you only concerned about yourself?
Because when it comes to marriage, Christ desires that the husband and wife act as a team. In fact, they are to be so much a team that it is like they are one person. And if you think of all that you are willing to do for yourself – it may be convicting to think if you are willing to do the same things for your spouse. Not just to bless them, but so that the “team,” – the marriage – can be stronger.
Because in baseball, individuals don’t win games, teams do. And in marriage, it should be about the good of the team as well.