Many basketball coaches say basketball is a simple game. You just need to put the ball in the basket. The key to basketball is figuring out how your guys can score more points than their guys. Teams run a number of different plays in order to get a player open for a good shot.
Another strategy in basketball is isolation or “iso” play. The team’s best player (or one of the best players) keeps the ball and tries to out-maneuver the opposite team’s player that is defending him. Sometimes it works well but too much isolation play is not a good idea. If only one player keeps, dribbles, and shoots the ball, it is no longer a team sport.
What works sometimes in basketball, never works in marriage. A marriage is a team 24/7/365. Isolation in marriage is really not a marriage. It becomes two people doing life separately but still having a marriage license. “Iso marriage” usually happens gradually. A couple that used to spend time talking daily skips a day or two, then over time they find that they aren’t talking much at all. A couple that had a weekly date skips a week. Then they skip another week and finally in the counseling room when I ask when their their last date was, they cannot remember. A couple whose sex life was great and a regular part of their marriage begins to not make sex a priority and over time the frequency is less and less. Then sex actually feels awkward and they don’t know how to jump start it again. Iso marriage. Two people who once shared hopes and dreams for their marriage are now doing their own thing. Needs that were being met in marriage are either going unmet, or being met elsewhere. Neither is good. Neither result in an awesome marriage. Neither is God’s plan.
Some of us are in an iso-marriage. Some of us are like the basketball team that runs plays sometimes and plays iso-ball other times. We are not completely isolated all the time but definitely sometimes. Where is your marriage? Isolated, sometimes isolated or awesome?
If you are in the first two categories, it’s time to do something about it. It’s time to stop iso-marriage. It’s time to take the first step towards building the marriage God designed for you. Your first step is to make the decision together to do something different. The next step is to begin praying for God to knit your hearts together with His. Then get help. It could be Christian counseling, finding a couple to mentor you, joining a small group in your church, or finding a good church for the two of you. An iso-marriage will not get better on its own. You have to take step one but if you do, the possibilities for your marriage are never ending!