It’s Sunday afternoon and you and a half-dozen friends are crowded around the TV in your buddy’s basement, watching the game, and drinking beers. Just you and the guys, like it always is. Your wife or girlfriend? She’s at home alone, probably watching reruns of Downton Abbey.
If this sounds familiar, then you can expect the “We never do anything together” talk very soon, if you haven’t already had it. But what if you could kill two birds with one… football? What if you could get her to watch sports with you—and actually have it serve as a bonding experience? This may not be as hard as it seems, and your girl might just wind up caring about the outcome as much as you do.
Leah Jantzen, a life coach and sports relationship expert, says you can enjoy this ultimate have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too scenario. For years, she has seen the major benefits that come from sharing sports fandom—in both the couples that she coaches and in her own relationship with her husband. Here, Jantzen shares seven steps to building a stronger relationship—with a little help from your favorite team.
Photograph: Matt Hawthorne