Sharing the Love – 5 Suggestions to Get Your Significant Other Into the EPL

ITAR-TASS 109: YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA. DECEMBER 4. Young loving couple kissing in Vainer Street, Yekaterinburg, with a large video screen showing prime minister Vladimir Putin during his annual live televised question-and-answer session in the background. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Anton Butsenko) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

As the dawn of a new EPL season nears, I am preparing to spend countless hours over the next 10 months following the drama that is the Premier League.  The 2010 season also marks my first as a married man, and as a newlywed, I realize that some of those hours that I’m offering up at the Church of the Fever Pitch are not mine alone to tithe.  While I don’t profess to be a relationship expert by any stretch, I thought it might be useful to offer up 5 easy ways to convince your significant other that a few hours of soccer a week can actually be good for your relationship.  Results may vary, but if just one of these catches on, you can thank me later.

1.  Find the Common Thread –  As soccer aficionados, we were all drawn to the game for different reasons.  Some of us have played since childhood, others revel at the level of skill that is presented on pitch, some appreciate the technical aspects of the game.  For others it was the camaraderie, the pints, the enjoyment of spending an afternoon or evening at the stadium, singing until we are hoarse.  The approach to getting your significant other into the game should be as flexible as any supporter’s reason for getting into the game.  The key however, is to find a connection between what your significant other is already interested in and how that interest is present in soccer.  Is your significant other a math wiz with a keen sense for finance?  Talk up the income generated or lost by top flight clubs.  Introduce them to the inordinate salaries commanded by the best in the game.  Tie the near and actual bankruptcies, the debt, the placement on the Forbes list, the billionaire owners and how these factors bear on results on the table.  If  your significant other has a penchant for gossip, introduce them to Mr. Terry, Mr. Bridge, and Vanessa Perroncel.  History?  Well, that’s easy, talk about political unrest and the rich history of clubs that have been playing the game for over 100 years.  Whatever that angle may be, exploit it, and use it to your advantage.  Interest can grow from an aspect of the game that  doesn’t necessarily have to do with the tactics on the pitch.

2. The Beckham Effect – A slightly trickier method is to play on the star power of the top flight EPL footballers.  If you are not easily made jealous by 90 minutes of ogling, sometimes non-fans are introduced to the game via an affinity for a celebrity footballer.  It’s best not to offer this up (it’s cheap that way and likely to backfire), but if you happen to find your significant other paying special attention to a certain face on the TV screen or repeatedly perusing the World Cup Vanity Fair edition (for the articles of course), this can be an in to following the sport on a larger scale.  Maybe the suggestion to watch comes as “hey, wouldn’t you like to see what -insert famous footballer here- is up to?” instead of referencing the club that said footballer plays for.  Sometimes it’s about getting attention, however achieved.

3. Quality Time – A more straightforward approach would be to bill soccer time as quality time.  Make it known that the sport is something that you are passionate about but something that the two of you can share together.  This may be particularly effective when shared over a meal (the classic pub date), an early weekend brunch or lunch playing hooky from work (for us here in the States where matches often start in the morning or midday).  Either way, sometimes it’s the spin that matters.  Instead of presenting it as an interest you aim to keep separate from your significant other, it may prove beneficial to make your significant other feel like a valued part of your passion.  Buy them a kit, give them the basics and see where you end up from there.

4. Live Passion – One surefire way to truly appreciate the EPL is to see it live. While this isn’t a possibility for everyone, particularly if you have to buy two tickets (and airfare), there is truly no comparison to attending a match in person.  If you pick the right match, the energy and atmosphere can’t be denied.  This tactic is particularly useful if a vacation is incorporated into the trip, that way, it’s not just about the soccer, but about the great time that you had in London (for example) watching soccer.  Soccer can also be incorporated into a vacation that truly isn’t about soccer.  Maybe try to coordinate a match as part of the cultural experience during a trip.  This could serve as another way to reel your significant other in.

5. Take the Easy Route – If none of these work, there is always the easy way out.  Date a fellow supporter.  Just make sure that you both support the same team, because with all the challenges attendant in relationships, splitting support shouldn’t be added to the list.

What other suggestions would you offer to get your significant other into the EPL?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

16 thoughts on “Sharing the Love – 5 Suggestions to Get Your Significant Other Into the EPL”

  1. We have our own league here. Why not try taking your loved one out to an MLS match first? You’ll look like less of a douchebag and it will be easier on your wallet.

    1. Matt, because the MLS sucks :)

      My girlfriend will sit and watch a Spurs game with me, but laughs at me for yelling, cheering, cursing, etc… thinks i’m nutters.

  2. Michael,

    I’ve been married for going on 7 years and I have to say my wife is pretty good in allowing me all the free time I need to pursue my hobbies. I’m one of the lucky ones.

    That said, I always found it better when I would (6.) ‘set expectations’.

    More specifically, when Saturday was approaching and I knew there were 3 or 4 games I wanted to watch, I would plant that seed in her mind and let her know in advance that I needed those hours.

    This way when Saturday actually came, she knew what I had going on. Still though, it’s always going to be a compromise isn’t it?

  3. My girlfriend of 3 years didn’t watch 5 minutes of soccer before she met me. She walked into my basement and saw a US flag, a German flag and a plethora of scarves hanging on my walls. I think it was shocking to her that a non Immigrant American was so passionate about the game, none the less, she watches games with me all the time now and actually has learned quite a bit about the game. We go to Fire games at least 5-10 times a season and she even owns a womans Fire jersey. Victory!

    My method was just shock and awe, soccer is on my TV about 80 percent of the time. She had no choice but to fall in love with the beautiful game!

  4. My wife really connects with sports if she knows the story lines of the players… she likes the feeling of knowing the players, even in the smallest details. So whenever I hear something new about the players life story, I try to pass it along.

  5. “5 Suggestions to Get Your Significant Other Into the EPL”

    Pure fantasy, Michael. My wife still hasn’t gotten over the fact that they can’t pick up the ball and run with it. However, she doesn’t begrudge me my time with the beautiful game….as long as I keep it in the den. It’s my charm, see……(and Jesse’s #6).

    Come to think of it, she did seem a little inordinately interested in some of the Spanish players during the WC and will actually drop everything in the kitchen to see the Kiwis do the haka before a rugby international, so maybe I need to work that #2 thing a bit. You think Roque will start tomorrow? :-)

  6. It was the opposite with me…I kinda got my husband interested in the game. Now, we’re both fanatics, me a tad more still, though. He just goes along for the ride while I’m completely consumed for 9 months. He does love it and really gets into the matches, but he doesn’t have the sleepless nights I do before a big match or get so nervous/excited before a match that he can’t sit still like me. And the fact that he can read the newspaper WHILE watching an Arsenal match and only glance up when something happens seems slightly blasphemous to me. But, it’s something we enjoy together and I’m just happy he likes it enough to put up with my obsession :)
    Also, now that he watches football so much, he can barely sit through a whole American football game…it’s funny :)

  7. I agree with the “get them into the drama” approach.

    My wife started getting interested when I would download and watch Match of the Day every week (thanks!)

    After a few weeks of watching she knew more about all the teams in the EPL than any American woman I know. She could have meaningful conversations with random Everton fans about their position in the table, she could speak knowlegeably about whether Drogba dives too much.

    And then it happened – Portsmouth were close to relagation (a few years back) – Harry stepped in and rescued them and she has been a Portsmouth fan ever since. She has no connection to Portsmouth (and I’m a ManCity fan) she just got caught up in the drama of the relegation battle.

    When Harry moved to Spurs she learned first hand what it is like to loathe someone (and their entire team) because of something they did to your first love.

  8. For me, it was definitely the pub date. My husband took me to a local Philly pub to watch an early premier league match. When I discovered that it was not only acceptable but also encouraged to have a pint with breakfast, I was sold!

  9. Don’t be so bloody stupid, it’s the perfect excuse to get away from them. I n fact I actively encourage my missus to attend our nearest rivals (Port Vale) which she does, but only goes to the away matches!

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