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Archive for the 'The Beautiful Game' Category

Soccer, Marriage, and the Incarnation

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I am married to a man who loves soccer.


I myself have always preferred soccer to the ridiculously torpid pace of baseball, the erratic momentum of American football, and the braggadocio of professional basketball, but I never quite imagined living a life that would include:

Now, lest anyone be either too impressed or appalled, I tend to do these things in the company of said soccer fanatic, a state of affairs which makes it all a little less sad and, perhaps, a little more theologically sound.

Marriage is a relationship that can only exist — much less thrive — on a foundation of continual and mutual self-sacrifice. Jesus’ example is clear: by taking on flesh to live and die, He became like those He loved. In ministry, particularly overseas, Christians widely embrace the idea of living among those whom they serve; by eating the food, wearing the clothes, and singing the songs of the people who surround them, they live out Christ’s love. Yet, particularly in my early college years, I worried about ‘losing’ myself when I got married. I saw my identity as something I needed to protect, something that should never really be compromised by a man. I would have, of course, told you that marriage should be a selfless relationship, but I imagined such sacrifice taking place on the more grand and dramatic stage of, say, ‘life goals’ or ‘caring for an ailing spouse.’


What I’ve been learning for the past two and a half years, though, is that the Incarnation is realized most truly in the mundane. It is echoed when I ask Noel to teach me how to punt a soccer ball. It’s knowing — and caring — where Samuel Eto’o plays next year. For Noel, it means asking for rice with dinner or going to a slew of gallery openings.

Pursuing an incarnational marriage means that I’m watching the Copa America tonight — US versus Argentina — and that I can’t wait.