Life lessons about marriage and pro sports

It’s not often that we go into our private closet to discuss issues and conversations one might have with our closest friends. But the tragic death of Steve McNair has brought to mind to a conversation I had with my 20-year-plus friend, Deion Sanders. We are both married, and one day, we were discussing the incredibly high divorce rate among celebrities and athletes. (FYI, the catalyst for the conversation was Michael Jordan coughing up $150 million in his divorce settlement.)

I told Deion that I had an epiphany on this issue and upon reflection since that conversation, I realized it not only pertains to celebs and athletes — it pertains to all men. Now I realize each relationship has its unique dynamics, but I do believe there is some merit in the argument. I also recognize I’ll be stripped of my Man Card after posting this blog.

Anyway, it is my belief a marriage will be successful if the “man” in the relationship dies. I understand this is a poor choice of words given the tragic circumstances surrounding Steve’s death, but I am talking about the “inner man”. It’s my opinion the desires and wishes of the man have to become secondary to the family needs.

When you marry, hanging with the fellas should be way down on the list. A weaning process has to take place whereby you begin gravitating away from spending time with your buddies and focusing on building a better relationship at home. If we are honest with ourselves, in most cases, you really don’t know your wife when you first get married. Yes, you have things in common. You like spending time with each other. But it takes years to know someone.

Fortune and fame make it particularly tough because fortune and fame bring great temptation. One of Deion’s great lines is “Fortune or fame make you more of what you are.” Translated, the bar of morality gets lowered because with fortune and fame comes power and influence. I know this is a little deep but think about the folks you see in the news.

This is why so many marriages end up in divorce. Getting back to my premise, the “man” on the inside has to die. That man has to be kept in check. It has to stay grounded in reality. That man has to be aware of corrupting influences, which includes frenemies. At some point, that man has to realize hanging out with his buddies at a strip joint is not conducive to a positive situation at home.

Let me state that it’s not my goal to preach, but given recent events, I thought you might enjoy being a fly on the wall of a conversation I had with a friend.

What say you?

– Jamie Dukes

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