Marriage Maven's News & Views

   Marcia Naomi Berger, LCSW   December 2016
                  Chicago Cubs rejoice on winning 2016 World Series 
        World Champion Cubs Toss Marriage Tips

So why's a marriage maven writing about baseball? Actually, the same fine traits we admire in sportsmanship exist in good marriages.

Spouses who want to keep their relationship growing nicely can pick up a few ideas from Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward and manager Joe Maddon.

Many give Heyward’s inspiring World Series weight room speech credit for restoring his team’s spirits up after their several run lead against the Cleveland Indians had dwindled to a 6-6 tie in the eighth inning.  

Staying Hopeful When Faced with Obstacles
This happened on November 2, 2016, when the Cubs hoped to win game number seven and earn their first World Series title since 1908. Chicago had lost three out of the first four games to the Cleveland Indians this year. So they needed to win three in a row to gain the title. No team had come from being behind 3-1 in a World Series since 1985, when the Kansas City Royals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.  

In this last game of this year’s seven-game Series, Cubs fans were on pins and needles as they watched their team’s early lead fizzle into a 6-6 tie during the eighth inning. The light drizzle then turned into a downpour that forced a seventeen minute game delay. 

Who knew how things would turn out? Would someone mess up a key play by slipping on the wet turf? How would the delay affect Cleveland’s batter’s momentum or Chicago’s closing pitcher Aroldis Chapman’s stamina?

Lesson for Marriage 
As it turned out, Cleveland’s offense fell short of the Cubs. The Cubs third basemen, Kris Bryant did slip, but only after fielding a slow roller, which he fired across the diamond to first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the final out of the Cubs’ thrilling 8-7 win in 10 innings.  

What does all this have to do with marriage?

All marriages have ups and downs, and during the trying times we may feel tempted to give up. What happened during that seventeen minute break that helped the Cubs finally triumph can also inspire couples to keep their relationship fulfilling.

Regrouping Saves Game 
Many give credit to outfielder Jason Heyward, who called a team meeting in a weight room at Progressive Field, for reviving the Cubs spirits and securing the win. He said, “I just wanted them to remember how good they were, how good we are.” He wanted them to “know how proud of them I was and that I loved them. That I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”

Looking around the room, Heyward said that every single one of them had played a part in bringing the Cubs to this point. He reminded them that they had gotten this far as a team. “Lift each other up,” support one another, and play for one another. "I told them everyone has to look in the mirror, and know everyone contributed to this season and to where we are at this point. I said, 'I don't know how it's going to happen, how we're going to do it, but let's go out and try to get a W.'"

After the win, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said it’s really great for the entire team “to get beyond that moment and continue to move forward, because now…we have an opportunity to be good for a long time, and without any constraints, without any of the negative dialogue."

Getting Beyond the Moment in Marriage
Even in the best marriages, we all have our moments, times when we’re tempted to give up on staying together. The Cubs mood could have sunk to despair and caused them to give less than their best efforts after Cleveland’s strong offense had erased their early lead.

Coach Maddon stresses the need to move past negative dialogue when it occurs, and Heyward helped the team do just that.

Cognitive behavior theory explains how our thoughts influence our actions. In marriage and in other relationships, by noticing when negative self-talk is occurring, we can change it to supportive messages by recognizing our invalid thoughts and looking at the big picture, remembering all of each other’s fine qualities that initially attracted each other, which we still value.  We are, in effect, regrouping—similarly to what the Cubs did, inspired by Heyward’s speech in the weight room.

Regrouping Restores Optimism, Breeds Winning Team
Heyward reminded players that each of them is a valued contributor to their team’s success; that each one had helped the Cubs get to this point.

Like good teammates, spouses should remind each other how wonderful they are, which helps keep them feeling good about themselves and each other. At least one heartfelt compliment a day can go a long way.

In marriage, as in baseball and other sports, if you think of yourselves as a winning team, you will believe in and support each other, accept the ups and downs of life and marriage, regroup as needed, and keep moving forward.
Great Holiday Gift!
Bestseller Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always Wanted, a warm, practical guide for engaged, newly wed, long married couples--and marriage minded singles. Now available in bookstores, through New World Library, and online through Amazon  and Barnes and Noble.

"With a little tweak, I transformed my marriage into the coolest relationship I ever had," writes E.G. Sebastian. "In my 3rd year of marriage I ran out of things to say to my wife... We were mostly silent, and that bothered me. I like passionate discussions... debates... laughter... But we 'just were' - we were going through the motions of parenting, mostly... 

"Then I came up with the idea to treat her AS IF she was the love of my life... I asked her out on dates, I courted her, I smiled, flirted (and invested in about a dozen books on how to bring back romance into your relationship).

"My marriage turned around completely. She became my best friend, and now 20-years into our marriage, we still can't keep our hands off each other...And, yes, one of the biggest secrets is to be '100-100.'  I support her to be the best version of who she was meant to be; and she does the same. We don't compromise much - we support and embrace... and Love."


Therapy and Counseling for individuals and couples. More information here.

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Professional Education and Training Center offers this one-hour online class you can take any time: The Marriage Meeting Program: A Strength-Based Approach for Successful 21st Century Relationships. Professionals earn one continuing education unit. All welcome!

Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, is the author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted.  You can see her on Mosaic TV show talking about her inspiration for and process of writing this book                                                                     

  Marcia Naomi Berger, LCSW   

For more information, email mnaomiberger(at)gmail(dot) com or phone 415-491-4801.  

We Value Your Comments 

Many thanks to Linda Bloom, Lynn Frayley, Arlyn Serber, Jim Levine, Phyllis Levy, Arlyn Serber, and Ruth Shuler for commenting on the November  2016 issue of this newsletter, with featured article, "Marriage Meetings--Right for Everyone?"

Your suggestions and comments are welcome. Anonymous ones are fine too. You can see past issues of Marriage Maven's News & Views and subscribe here

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Happy Holidays! 
Copyright © 2016 Marcia Naomi Berger, All rights reserved.

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