“Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Mary Ruth come over!” we screamed across the elementary school yard.

The remaining girls in the line sighed relief. They were glad it wasn’t their name being invoked because our brutal reputation was solidly intact. This was long before sanitary rules regarding playground politics and everyone-gets-a-trophy. We were in it for blood. So much so that it didn’t matter if it was wimpy Mary Ruth or two-ton tessy Stephanie that we asked for. No one was busting through the strong arms of us tough girls. We would sling them back so far, they’d hit the Tennessee state line. That’s how confident we were in our team. We held hands. We stuck together.

This decades-old memory came to mind the other day as I listened to a heavy-hearted couple. The bad news was that they were experiencing an inordinate amount of external stress in their relationship – work, family, illness. The good news was that they had each other’s back. They strong-armed their relationship. Outside shit stayed outside. It was the two of them against the world. Solid, sealed and protected. As every marriage should be.

Unlike the game of Red Rover, we don’t have to ask for stress to barrel its way toward us. That happens all on its own. But, if our teamwork is secure, our footing stable and our arms locked, our relationship will stand. Me and you against the world.