Mark loves to play football every Sunday night at church. Since the time I’ve known him, I’ve seen him totally serious about his play. He plans in advance, packs his shorts, shoes and socks, in the car, or gets it transported through family or friends, or whatever, but come Sunday, he is ready to play.
For the life of me, I could not understand what drives him to play, after a rough day. Earlier, he was working with the church and would stay up late on Saturdays for set up, and wake up early at 4 and leave for church by 5 a.m., then after the three services, lunch with friends, get back to church at 4 p.m., for either choir practice or any other meeting.. and normally, on such a day, he would just drop down dead on the bed. But no! On the football days, he is all set to play, even if he missed sleep for 2 nights in a row.
Earlier, I would get worried and ask him to come home and rest but he always said “No, no I can play no problem.”
After the game, when he comes home, he is so happy. For a girl, we would be that happy after coming back from spa! Then I realized, this is a stress buster for him. I love him after football – he is more happy, and more loving.
Men need to play, especially with other men – this, I read, in a book recently. Men “need” to play. For us women, it is just a game. For them, it is meeting a need.
It seems, competing is part of a man’s makeup – a man is always measuring himself against men. Men also compete against themselves all the time and they want to beat their own previous performances. Of course, this competitive streak is unhealthy, if its out of whack. The same principle applies – too much of anything is toooo bad.
For men, they love to relieve and release their stress on that small white ball, or on a big football.
So how do wives handle this?
This is what Rick Johnson says in his book Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half: “Contrary to popular opinion, men like their wives to accompany them in their activities. They like their wives to be their companion while doing things they like to do. It is their way of developing intimacy. Guys that are friends do things together. Why wouldn’t a man want his wife and companion to do things with him as well?”
Well, if not always, we can always plan an adventure trip with our spouses. Mark loves the thought of it. When I told him we must go back into the waters and scuba dive or para-sail, he himself began researching on the internet for places we can go to or drive to. And we added wildlife sanctuary trips to our list too.
Of course, when he needs his guy time, I let him go, for obvious reasons – I can’t play football with him and his gang.
Men don’t talk while playing!
Ladies, while you let the man go, a warning – he is serious about his game. Don’t expect him to SMS you during the game. I remember this one time during courtship, when Mark was supposed to pick me up from somewhere and drop me home, soon after his game. I kept waiting and waiting, and he never lifted the phone or replied to messages, and here the clock was ticking, and I was just inviting my parents’ wrath. His game was done by 11pm, and one of his friends happened to pick my call and inform him. Here’s the worst part – Mark was already on his way to drop one of his guy friends home!
When he called me back, he felt so terrible, so miserable. Since he was on his way to the other side of town, he sent his friend Renju, to drop me home. Renju told me how Mark kept cursing himself for forgetting about me “I’m such a jerk, man. I forgot about Joy. She was sitting there alone, waiting for me!” – apparently he kept saying this over and over again.
It’s funny how I did not get upset. I just laughed it off, because I knew he did not do that on purpose, he just got engrossed and lost in his game. From next time onwards, I never tied any responsibility to him before or after football hours.
Here’s another good quote from the book – ” One man told me, ‘Men must have some play in their lives. It helps if their wife is involved. Find common interests and do them often. Do not judge play as childish or immature. Support it, encourage it, participate in it!’ “
And I love this part. It was kinda eye-opening reminder:
“Men don’t always like to talk while at play. Talking is not a recreational activity for men”