Winning On and Off the Field
by Colt McCoy & Matt Carter
A quarterback is under a lot of pressure during the season. I (Colt) live in a glass box where the media know exactly what I’m doing. I’m the leader of my team, and every day I spend a lot of time trying to perfect what I do. Each day I’m in an environment where I’m driven to succeed no matter what. So when I go home, it takes me awhile to get out of work mode—you know, that feeling of being so focused on work I can’t leave it behind.
All that first year after my wife and I were married, I’d come home and sit on the couch, expecting some alone time like I had before I was married. I needed some space to breathe and relax. For the first thirty or forty minutes after walking through the front door, I hardly engaged with my wife at all. I’d come home expecting to be served dinner. After dinner, I’d sit on the couch again and maybe watch a TV show or some of the film I didn’t get a chance to see during the day, and then go to bed. My wife was too kind to me and didn’t confront me about my behavior.
But I could sense something was wrong. Finally I got to the point of being convicted about how I was acting toward her. One day she came to me, as sweet as she is and as nice as she is, and admitted she couldn’t take it anymore. She shared her feelings, saying I wasn’t living up to the expectations she had for me as a husband. “With the amount of time you spend on football, it’s like I don’t even have a husband,” she said. That hurt.
So with God’s help, I’ve begun to get wiser in my marriage. Playing football has not gotten any easier. In fact, in some ways I’m going through a harder season now than I ever have before. I probably spend more time at work today than ever. But there’s been a shift. Now when I come home, I purposely choose to love my wife the way I need to and express that love. I’ve learned a lot about how to engage with my wife. One of her love languages is time spent together. So today I make a greater effort to spend time with her and talk with her.
A Love That Works Well
Now, both of us (Colt and Matt) realize there are allowances. It’s okay for a man to want to decompress at the end of a day. Work does require an awful lot for a man, and it’s difficult to be totally at work, then flip a switch and be totally at home.
When my wife and I (Colt) figured this out, we prayed about it, talked about it, and I realized I needed to change the way I loved and served my wife. She said, “Colt, I truly know that this is a hard thing for you to do. You’re consumed by your work and the pressures of your work. Just take a few minutes when you get home to decompress.”
So that’s what I do now. I go into my room, maybe look at a newspaper or magazine or just sit on the couch and take a fifteen-minute nap. That gives me time to take a deep breath, flip the switch, and make the transition. But when those fifteen minutes are over, I’ve prepared myself to come in and be a husband.
I (Matt) do a similar thing. It used to be that when I came home, Jenn gave me thirty minutes to myself. That changed when we had kids. Jenn is a stay-at-home mom, so she has the kids from the time I leave in the morning until the time I get home at night. She’s hard at it all day long, changing diapers, cooking, cleaning, and feeding kids. So these days I come home and give her a thirty- to forty-five-minute break. I take the kids and let her get some decompression time. And then we start engaging as a family.
It’s difficult, because like Colt, I want that down time after work too. So one solution we’ve worked out is that I purposely and strategically decompress in the car on the way home. That’s when I consciously let go of the stuff at the office. There’s a bridge I cross over on the drive home, and I made a commitment that when I get to that bridge, I shift my mind-set from pastor of Austin Stone to pastor of my family: Jennifer, Annie, J. D., and Sammy Carter. When I walk in the front door, I can start serving them.
Excerpted from The Real Win by Colt McCoy and Matt Carter Copyright © 2013 by Colt McCoy and Matt Carter. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.