A House Divided


Yes, my dear friends, it is that time of year! Welcome, welcome, welcome super fans, tailgating, and thousands of my closest friends cheering on our favorite football team! During this time of year, an Alabamian must make an extremely tough decision that could affect family relationships. Are you an Auburn or Alabama fan? Do you cheer Roll Tide or War Eagle?

It all started in 1893 at Lakeview Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This first game was won by Auburn 32-22. The crowd was estimated at around 2,000. Today thousands upon thousands of Alabamians gather to support their favorite team. As I walked around Auburn’s campus this past Saturday, I couldn’t help but smile. There were families everywhere eating their favorite foods, throwing the football, children with precious game day clothes on, and laughter/cheering coming from every corner of campus. Families combined were cheering for multiple teams and enjoying the competitive spirit of the day. One of the sweetest and most precious aspects of life is to watch a family come together and experience a bond with one another.

The National Extension Relationship and Marriage Educational Network, NERMEN, lists seven key patterns of thinking and behaviors associated with healthy, stable couple relationships and marriage. These have become known as the NERMEN Core Components of a Healthy Relationship and Marriage. Share and Connect are two of these concepts. Share is defined as developing and maintaining friendship and sense of “we”; spending meaningful time together. One example of this is to find and cultivate common interests and activities.  Tailgating (no matter what campus you are on) with friends and family is a great way to do this. Connect is defined as engaging in social support, community ties, and sources of meaning. Spending time with your community while being with your family is a great way to connect to others and find this social support. This is an event that can engage all family members no matter age.

Who would have thought?  Cheering on your team AND working to maintain a healthy family relationship!  Now, that is a WIN!

So, during this football season remember…It doesn’t matter which football team you support, it just matters how you support your family connectedness. Even if your car holds “A House Divided” tag, I challenge you to put your “football competitiveness” aside and enjoy any and all games with your family and friends.

Rachel Dawkins


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