I vaguely remember the first time I mentioned taking Jiu Jitsu classes to my spouse. If I remember correctly, and I think I do, her initial response was, “Don’t hurt yourself.”
Since then, my spouse’s reaction to Jiu Jitsu has been different. It is important to her because it is important to me.
Now, I’m new at this so I haven’t competed yet, I haven’t advanced in belt rank, and I haven’t had any (major) injuries. However, she has been supportive of me going to classes a couple times a week, and has encouraged me to keep going. She’s encouraged me even when I have felt like giving up, or have been impatient with my progress. She hasn’t said too much about me buying gear either other than the occasional “a gi is how much?”
The point is, your Jiu Jitsu’s importance to your significant other may vary. From what I have heard from others, and what I’ve encountered online, here are a few degrees of importance your spouse might feel towards your Jiu Jitsu journey:
Much like my spouse, yours might have the same first reaction: don’t get hurt. This may be due to the fact that your importance as a Husband/Wife/Father/Mother trumps your being a Jiu Jitsu practitioner (as it probably should) in their eyes. Your physical presence is needed. You might be the sole breadwinner of the family, or have a significant income that might be hampered by an injury layoff.
There might be an inherent busyness that comes with life that they fear may be impeded if you are stuck lying on the couch with a torn ACL, MCL, rotator cuff, or what have you. Or, it might just be that they care about your well-being and don’t want to see you get hurt… which is probably the most likely case.
If you are like me and have started and stopped any number of ventures in your life, your spouse’s “level of importance” towards Jiu Jitsu might simply be one of indifference. “Do it if you want, I don’t care.” It might take some convincing for your spouse to see that Jiu Jitsu is different – something to stick with for the long haul.
Hopefully your spouse will enthusiastically support your decision to embark on the Jiu Jitsu journey. Maybe they will see the changes BJJ can make in you physically and emotionally – the confidence it can breed – and throw their wholehearted support behind you.
If you play your cards just right they might even put up with damp kimonos and rash-guards hanging up all over the place drying.
The best outcome we can hope for is that our spouses will see the awesomeness that Jiu Jitsu is, see it as something important for themselves as well, and desire for it to be a part of their own lives. Nothing beats having your spouse on board with something that you love. When what is important to you is important to them it is a huge win!
What do you think? Have you encountered any of these areas in your relationship?