I’m a baseball fan.
I grew up in the self-proclaimed best baseball town in America.St. Louisans take special pride in their fandom. And we have an unwritten, almost sacred code of conduct.I love being a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.
But even more important to me (if you can imagine) is being my wife’s biggest fan. Here’s what that means.
1. Be knowledgeable about her. I want to know my wife even better than I knew the stats on my baseball cards growing up. Study your wife so that you know her better than anyone else. Understand her strengths and weaknesses. Get to know her tendencies. Learn when she most needs your support. There’s so much to learn, you can spend a lifetime doing it.
2. Cheer for her—sometimes publicly and loudly. Pay attention to the contributions she makes—not only to you and your family, but in the lives of friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Let her know that she makes a difference. And sometimes cheer for her publicly. Don’t be obnoxious about it. Just make sure others know you’re her fan.
3. Appreciate effort as much as results. Only in St. Louis will you still find people wearing jerseys with names like Joe McEwing and Bo Hart. These players were loved and appreciated because they always played hard and their head was always in the game. Even when things are not going as well as you would like, being a fan means appreciating the effort as much as the results.
4. Never boo. I’m afraid this unspoken rule has gone by the wayside, but when I was growing up, a Cardinal fan would never boo a Cardinal player. Make it a practice to never speak ill of your wife. In public. At home. Even in private.
5. Assume the best about her. Practice generosity of spirittoward your wife. Think the best of her. Give her the benefit of the doubt. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. When she messes up, don’t be critical; support and encourage her.
6. Always be ready to stand up for her. Not that she necessarily needs you to do that. But it’s always nice to know that someone has your back.
7. Be there for her no matter what. No one appreciates a “fair weather fan.” A marriage is not one long winning streak; you and your wife will each face your fair share of slumps. Make sure your wife knows you’ll be there for her no matter what may come.
By the way, even though I’ve written this from the husband’s point of view, it makes a big difference when a wife is her husband’s biggest fan too.
Just as your “love” for a sports team can endure many heartbreaks (especially for Cubs fans), your marriage can be sustained through many peaks and valleys when you remain loyal fans of one another.