Ten years ago, “Friday Night Lights” debuted on NBC and proved to people across the world that high school football is way more compelling when it’s scripted—and also, Texas forever.
Unfortunately for me, I missed the boat. Late adapter that I am, I didn’t watch the show for the first time until last year. But even though it ended in 2010 (two years before I got married), watching Coach and Tami Taylor navigate their relationship gave me a lot of insight into my own. Here’s what the Taylors taught me about marriage, love and life.
You Can Fight For Each Other, But You Can’t Fight Each Other’s Battles
Both Tami and Coach went through some shit during their five seasons on the show. Independently and collectively, they battled various school administrations, opposing teams, their community, the media, racism, pro-lifers and their teenage daughter.
But regardless of who was fighting what, both Taylors implicitly trusted each other to be able to handle their own business. Tami never showed up to practices to yell at the Panthers and Eric never showed up in the guidance office to tell apathetic students to care more. They cheered each other on from the sidelines and gave advice and support when needed.
Embrace The Romance In The Mundane
The sexiest scenes between Tami and Coach don’t happen in bed. They happen while the couple is washing the dishes or setting the table. They happen when they’re figuring out who will pick Gracie up from daycare or deciding who will talk to Julie about her terrible life choices. These are the moments when everything is stripped away and all you see are two people happily existing. Because that’s what a marriage is — choosing to intentionally exist together and enjoying the work that makes that possible.
You Can Choose Not To Be Jealous
The best part about the Taylor’s relationship is that it doesn’t fall victim to the usual TV tropes. Nobody has an affair or accidentally meets an illegitimate child (“Gilmore Girls,” why???) There is an entire storyline about a co-worker kissing Tami Taylor on the lips and Coach’s response is to do nothing. Because he trusts his wife and their relationship and Coach Taylor doesn’t have time for petty bullshit.
Careers Are Temporary, But Teamwork Is Forever
Both Tami and Coach are ambitious and highly skilled at their respective careers. And with that kind of career aptitude comes success and sometimes, failure. There are seasons when Eric’s work is going great and Tami’s career has reached a plateau. There are also seasons where Tami is killing it professionally and Eric is having — as they say in football — a rebuilding year. Oftentimes, their professional goals are in direct conflict and they’re forced to compromise and adapt. And they do—sometimes willingly, other times less so. But always with the knowledge that they’re working for a common goal and that goal is continuing to love on each other, forever and ever.
Clear Eyes, Full Stomachs, Can’t Lose
My own bastardized marriage mantra. If I’m snapping at someone, 99.9% of the time it’s because I’m hungry or sleepy or cold.
In the spirit of strengthening my marriage and continuing to build communication, I asked my husband what he learned from watching the Taylors. He said, “I learned that if your wife doesn’t want to have sex with you more than six weeks after she has a baby, then you just need to do the dishes and give her some wine.”
We might need to re-watch the series again.