He wasn’t a Samurai Warrior but in a one-one-one battle, with all his flailing at the ball on the driving range with that golf club, he would have done alright! With each irregular swing, with each divot behind the ball deeper than the last, the embarrassment and frustration grew until one day 20 years ago . . .
I had to face reality: I was being totally ridiculous (not to mention downright sinful). I wasn’t headed for the PGA tour any time soon so why was I acting like I should be driving, pitching, and putting like a pro? It was completely illogical. I practiced by myself, didn’t put in the time and, consequently, I earned the results I got. There was no reason I should expect to be able to golf well.
There’s a Law of Achievement every elite golfer lives by and every husband and wife needs to reflect on . . .
You Play How You Practice – a truth that applies to every endeavor.
What life skill are you pursuing? Do you practice a little? Do you practice incorrectly, inconsistently, and with a lack of commitment? Then your future is determined. You’ll never be good at it. All too often, this reality plays out in Christian marriage. We play (live out our marriages) how we practice.
Do you want to grow in your marriage? Do you want to mature? Do you want to better understand your spouse? Do you want a richer, deeper, more solid, settled, peaceful, enjoyable marriage? The same Law that exposes every golfer on the golf course is true for all of us in marriage.
You play how you practice, which is why merely practicing is never enough. Being married without purpose, intention, and a correct understanding will never result in the excellent marriage God intends for you. How your marriage develops isn’t a result of “working at it” but of how you practice.
The elements of a great relationship are easy to spot in couples we meet, aren’t they?
Look at them, they’re always so happy and at ease with each other
They really seem to enjoy each other’s company
That couple never has an impatient or harsh word for each other
They’ve been married for 7 years but it’s obvious, they’re still madly in love
In the face of our own relationship challenges, its easy to tell ourselves that those couples with great marriages lucked out, as if the marriage they enjoy is just happening to them and not to us. Do elite golfers achieve excellence because they bought a set of expensive clubs and some golf attire? No.
The results of every marriage stem from the behavior and decisions of the two people involved – how they practiced, you might say. The relationship a couple has isn’t “happening” to them. Their marriage is the result of what and how they’ve been practicing.
For some, this is the good news but how about you? How about the marriage you are building? Are you like me with a golf club 20 years ago, expecting to show up for the game and do well without practicing correctly and consistently, or are you purposeful and intentional in building strength, depth, and mutual love and respect in your marriage?
You can’t fake skill during a golf tournament because you showed up with a set of clubs and you can’t do well in marriage just because you’re married. When we show up for game day – Life – and all the challenges, trials, and traumas it contains we will either come through stronger, richer, deeper or the weakness of our marriage will be exposed.
The Law of Achievement will never be compromised, in golf or in marriage: You Play How You Practice. If you’re struggling in marriage, or if your marriage just isn’t what you hoped it would be . . . or even if you think it’s okay but could greatly improve, are you willing to recognize that something has to change . . . with you? That you have to change how you practice?
For golf, there is a rule book to go along with all that practice. The same is true for marriage. You can “do” marriage your own way and many do. For the Christian, there is only one authority for how this most important relationship is to be understood and how it is to function. It’s the ultimate Rule Book for life, The Word of God, The Bible.
Practicing well means knowing what God has said, embracing that Truth in our hearts, and purposing to live out every day. Marriage God’s way, for repentant hearts willing to yield to His will and His way, always leads to a beautiful, secure, peaceful place in this troubled world.
Is that the marriage you want? Then be purposeful and intentional today, practicing well according to The Book, and you’ll play well, enjoying the best God intends for the most important human relationship you’ll ever have.
For those of you serious about practicing well and improving your game (marriage!), or your looking for new ways to intentionally say, “I love You!” I strongly encourage you to click this link and join over 250,000 husbands and wives who have taken “THE 100 DAY LOVE CHALLENGE” (<—Click this Link!)
The Challenge is comprised of two, simple but profound books (short and easy to read, guys!) that will transform your marriage by giving each of you powerful but practical instruction on how love each other well.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).