Most of us have either observed or played in various sports. Soccer, football, baseball, softball or volleyball (and others) are team sports. There are players who cover different positions that require certain tasks to be completed. They also have a coach who can see the team as a whole, from the outside. The coach can see what is working well and what needs improvement.

Such it is with marriage. Though marriage is not a sport, it functions much like a sports team.

Team work

A successful marriage requires both husband and wife to work together as a team. They need to have the same goal and both do their best to work toward it. There will be fumbles, blocked goals and failed passes. This doesn't mean it's the end of the "game." Just like sports teams, marriage partners must regroup and keep working, make a new plan and never give up.

Husband and wife have different roles

Sports teams have each player assigned to a different position. Each position has various duties they must perform for the benefit of the team. In a marriage, husband and wife must decide who does what to keep their family running smoothly. Someone has to work, someone needs to cook. They also must consider childcare, housework, paying the bills and balancing the schedules for both children and parents. Though spouses work together as a team toward the same goal, they still have individual tasks they must do.

Sometimes, you gotta listen to the coach

When the plays on the field aren't working, the coach, who has a clear view of what's going on, can give helpful advice and realign the strategy to achieve success.

Similarly, couples may occasionally, or often, need to seek outside help. A friend, family member, marriage counselor, religious leader or praying to God may help you find the answers and help you need. Just like in sports, someone—a "coach"—can help you and your spouse see a clearer picture of what is not working in your marriage and how to improve it.

Not all "coaches" are equal, however. For serious problems, make sure you seek a professional. Also, make sure if you confide in a person, they are trustworthy and won't hold grudges or pass judgment on you, your spouse, or your marriage.

Celebrate victories

When a team wins, they celebrate! It should be the same in a marriage. Rejoice over the hurdles you have gotten over and the progress you are making along the way. Celebrate your anniversaries—a major success with each passing year. Cheer each other on and be happy for individual victories as well. Along with being on the same team, you are also each other's cheerleaders.

A recent article that related marriage to sports stated, "...winning results are less about star power and more about team-building through sound coaching. Or, perhaps it's as simple as refusing to give up." That sums it up exactly. Don't compete with your spouse; you're on the same team. Work together, and seek coaching when necessary. Above all, don't give up on your marriage, or each other.

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