I don’t do sports. I missed a near perfect baseball game pitched by Nolan Ryan because I was in the stands reading an amazing book (it wound up being a one-hitter). I have also been known to attend a high profile college football game and have more fun inside the “alumni club” at the buffet. I mean, a girl needs to have her priorities straight. I just don’t do sports – but for college basketball, I will put on a tee-shirt and yell for my team during the game like some kind of fanatic. I’m thinking one of the reasons I love college basketball (besides the fact that it’s indoors…that is the only way to enjoy a sport) is because it’s about teamwork and relationships and that is something that I understand. 

Recently we were at one of our local college basketball games (we have season tickets, so you know this is serious) and I began to notice something interesting. Our team was doing well but they got into an interesting groove. They would throw the ball in, make their way down the court towards their basket, and then all hang out on the three point line passing the ball back and forth until the shot clock was under ten seconds. At this point one of them would go for the glory and attempt to hit a three point basket. When they made it, the crowd would go wild and the player would usually do a sign that indicated “I am AWESOME – look what I just did!” Then the opponents would take the ball down the court, work their play, and more often than not make their two-point basket. No glory, no dunking, just a consistent steady two-point shot. Within three minutes, our team was losing. I began to see something unfold before me. When a much lower percentage three-point shot was made,  the player didn’t appear to put much effort into the shot. He was just standing back out of harm’s way and yet loved the recognition and reaction to his minimal-effort. When a two-point shot was made by the other team, work was involved as they dribbled, passed, planned, pressed into the zone and made contact with other players. Shooting percentages go up significantly for these types of shots because they typically occur at much shorter range (in the middle of the fray).To me this translates into: effort equals productive behavior. 

How often do we mimic similar behavior  in our marriages? Do we tend to stand back, stay safe and take the occasional three-point shot and look for the glory? We have the occasional made three-point shots (big dates, lavish gifts, making a “show” of our love) that don’t happen very often but they sure make us feel good (even though we provided minimal effort and personal investment). Or do we consistently and steadily do the two-point work? Pushing in, working hard, and trying over and over again to do the little things well because we are aiming at a long range goal instead of a short lived glory. That goal is to  faithfully love and serve our spouses - being predictable in our actions and commitment toward one another. The three-point shots can be fun and are necessary in marriage, but the two-point shots are where you will have the most success. Two-point shots in marriage consist of the day to day love and respect we give to one another. The “I’m sorry”, “I’m listening”, “I’m here” and “I understand.” Enjoy March Madness and watch for the two-point shots - they truly are the foundation of a good relationship and a championship team.