What is a Hero? And what is a Coach? How can a man be sure he’s found a woman he can trust to coach him in the direction that is right for him?
And how does he take advantage of her special abilities to help him achieve his dreams?
In sports, an athlete needs a coach because athletes don’t see how they do what they are doing, when they are doing it. They need feedback from someone who really knows them, who can see their strengths and weaknesses.
Heroes also may not see the relationship between, say, their nutrition and sleep habits, and their achievement. Or they may overdo their exercises, and hurt themselves.
The coach is a caring observer who provides feedback from a small physical and emotional distance. Then the athlete can achieve his or her goals.
A Hero is on a quest, a search, an effort, a long-term project to do Something, to become Someone. (The Coach has a quest, too, but it is usually fulfilled, or fulfillable, within the context of her marriage partnership, as it develops over time. It often happens later in the marriage, because her now-heroic Hero truly loves and appreciates her, and wants to do all he can to encourage and support her personal fulfillment)
Who do you, the Hero, become? The true and unique you! There is no one like you in the world; only you can be the complete you.
And if you don’t do what it takes to fulfill your quest to do or be Something or Someone, then you, your marriage, and the world will be poorer for your cowardice-for that’s really what it is.
Each Hero must come to that Something themselves, finding its resonance in their heart of hearts. The Coach can help, but it is the Hero’s quest.
Always remember: Your wife is meant to be your Coach-not your contender, competitor, or critic. Encourage her to be your Coach by listening and repeating back to her what she is telling you. She is part of you, and you are responsible for keeping her in good working order. In fact, in a larger, deeper sense, your wife is you.
A Hero is not a Hero because he has achieved his quest, but because his thoughts and actions are heroic; they are:
• Faithful and true
If you do not already exhibit all these qualities all the time-welcome to the club! This is why we need coaching. Remember that you are still a Hero-in-Training.
The most important thing for every Hero to remember is that his life is his movie. He is the director, and determines what will and will not happen. So one of the most important things to do is learn how to take responsibility, and learn how to take blame. Why?
Taking blame for everything empowers you to stop acting like a bystander or a victim. You can take charge and change things once you make them your responsibility. I’ll talk about this from time to time from different points of view as we go along.
Here are seven pitfalls every Hero must watch out for:
Victimhood: It’s easy to forget that everything is your fault, Mr. Hero. But remember: It’s your movie. The Coach is just your mirror. If you look at her and don’t like what you see, don’t try to clean the mirror; clean what it is reflecting. The good news is that since it is your fault, you have the power to make it better.
Rivalry: Your wife/Coach is not in competition with you. She is you. Are you in competition with your hand? Or your ear? No? Then don’t compete with your Coach. She is equipped to help, but not to compete with you. You can’t do what she can do, and she can’t do what you can do. You’re a matching set, not identical twins.
Idolatry: Just because she has intuitions and insights that you lack doesn’t make her your god. She is your Coach; but the decision to act on her suggestions, and all the consequences of those actions, are entirely up to you. You alone are responsible before God and man for your actions. Setting someone up as an idol is usually just preparation for gleefully knocking them off their pedestal. Don’t do it!
Self-pity: Growth is difficult. In fact, overcoming difficulties is the main way we grow. Are you sad? Exasperated? Discouraged? Don’t have a pity party! Ask your Coach to encourage you, to tell you your favorite joke. N’omi and I save a particular knock-knock joke for just such occasions:
“The interrupting cow.”
“The interrupting… ”
“Moo!” (The “moo” has to interrupt.)
Pride: My grandmother used to say, “Don’t pat yourself on the back; you might break your arm.” N’omi’s grandmother used to say, “Pride was the sin of the fallen angels.” It’s good to experience a sense of progress, and of accomplishment. But don’t allow yourself to get puffed up about it. That just makes it that much harder to accept the Coach’s next suggestion.
Negativity: You know enough to avoid general negativity. If you don’t, let me remind you: The surest way to stop any progress toward your goals is to start being negative and cynical, not just about yourself, but about anything.
But I want to warn you once more against an even more insidious variety of negativity: Saying “no” to your Coach (see Chapter 27, “Shutting Her Out”).
Make it a policy simply never to do it. If she says something that sounds outrageously weird, thank her, and tell her you’ll think about it. If it still seems strange, open a discussion with her about it. Not everything she tells you is right; she may be lacking a vital fact or experiencing hormonal challenges.
It’s your job to protect her and cherish her, while taking what she says under consideration.
But if you cut off the flow of her help with any variety of “no,” you are in trouble. And if you make it a habit, you will do real damage to the relationship, and to your entire life.
Your relationship with your Coach, in some ways, is like caring for a plant: The plant may not complain loudly if you forget to water it; it may just quietly dry up and die.
GIVING UP: Don’t even think about it! There is always something better to do than give up. And giving up never makes anything better.
If you’re really thinking about doing it, read the next chapter of this book on Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
Then get the book-or just read it standing or sitting in your local bookstore if you can’t afford to buy it. (Sorry, Gary, but it’s that important.) That book, or the next chapter of this book, may save your life and the life of your marriage. No kidding. You are a Hero. Don’t quit.
http://AwesomeMarriage.com – Dr. Joel Orr, “The Marriage Fixer,” has counseled married couples for over 25 years. Joel’s most recent book is “Every Man a Hero, Every Woman a Coach” (http://www.everymanahero.com). More at http://www.joelorr.com.