Last week I went to play tennis with my husband and son. We were playing “French Tennis” – 2 against 1.My husband and I on one side as a team against our athletic, super fit, 20 year old college student.I have been excited to get back on the tennis court as I used to play regularly when I was in my 30’s, but haven’t played in years.Last winter I noticed the tennis courts across from our complex while walking my doggy and, remembering how much I enjoyed it, set the intention to start playing again when it got warm.
I love how a fleeting thought, wrapped in a joyful feeling, can actualize it with ease and grace.My youngest son, Jason, who is home from college for the summer, gets this “bee in his bonnet” and wants to play tennis every week.Sometimes several times a week. He books the court and gets us out. Bam! Just like that my vision of us laughing and playing tennis on those courts is a reality. Without “working” at it. Without “planning or strategizing”.But, I digress, I was talking about relationship lessons.
So my husband and I are a team. He serves, I cover the front of the court. I serve, he covers the front. Or so I thought.He stands far off to the side, afraid that I will hit him when I serve, leaving a large area at the front of the court uncovered – which Jason quickly takes advantage of.We quickly realize that in order to cover the court we have to communicate with each other: “Your ball”. “I got this one”. “That’s out”.
It’s not always positive (or effective).
Me: That was yours!
Husband: There’s no way I could have reached that!
Me: That’s because you are standing too far to the right!
Another point lost.
Me: See! I told you you’re standing too far to the right. This is a pattern. Can’t you see the pattern. I serve and he puts it in the same spot because he knows you can’t reach it in time!
Husband: Well, stop serving to his forehand!
The blame game continued.
Husband: That was your ball!
Me: Why didn’t you say something? You have you let me know. I can’t read your mind!
Husband: Well wasn’t it obvious I couldn’t reach that?
Me: You are standing behind me, I can’t see where you are!
How often do we expect our partner to read our mind or predict our actions or lack thereof?
How often do we blame our partner for our own shortcomings?
How often do we make excuses for our actions or inaction?
It was fascinating to see it all show up in a simple game of tennis. Thankfully, we have 22 years together under our belt and so we were able to laugh our way through it and tease each other when our poor communication cost us a few games.We got it together eventually and showed our youngster that we are still fit and strong at our age.It required being willing to take 100% responsibility for our part, stop blaming and making excuses and stay in the game.This is the recipe for being successful and winning at the game of life too. Especially if you want to have fun while you are playing!