THE INCREASE: Leaving Baseball at the Field – Matthew Boyd

Until I met my wife, Ashley, I didn’t realize the only way anyone can truly flourish in their marriage is by letting Christ be at the center of it. We both love each other so much, but we love God more. And it’s because of our love for God that we are able to love each other as deeply as we do. As we grow closer to God and to each other daily, our love grows to levels beyond expectation.

The love Christ has for His Bride — the Church — is even greater. That is what we aim to reflect in our marriage.

Our marriage is a constant work in progress. Now in our fourth year, we’ve discovered helpful ways to stay connected and in communication both during the baseball season and in the offseason. One thing we’ve found extremely helpful is keeping a marriage journal. This journal is a weekly strategy we keep in place whether I’m home or on the road, and one night a week we open the journal to go over our weeks. We talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives and ask the questions: What was hard for you this week? What brought you joy? What’s one thing I can do to help you? Do you have any unconfessed sin, hurt or conflict we need to talk about? How can I pray for you this week?

These questions have been crucial in our strategy of staying connected and consistent amidst the craziness of our lives. No matter what our schedules look like, we always set aside time to share with each other what is on our hearts.

Ashley is someone who both challenges and encourages me in all areas of life, particularly in the areas she’s really good at, which I’m not. She excels at being able to be present in the moment. This is extremely important to me and I am working on being better about this, especially with my family.

When I put on my baseball uniform, I’m a baseball player. But I try to leave baseball at the field. When I walk off the threshold of the locker room, my job is to be a father and husband. When I’m at home, I am my wife’s and daughter’s honored guest. When I’m with them, I want give them 100 percent of my attention, instead of spending my time distracted by my phone or job. Whether I just had a great game or a bad game, I leave it there. I don’t always do a great job of this. When I take baseball home from the field, I find myself unable to listen fully to Ashley. I’m not hearing her needs. Thankfully, Ashley gives me grace.

When I first met Ashley in college, I could see Christ in her. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but I knew she inspired me. She spent so much time with the Lord, not only praying and reading the Bible, but really listening to Him. Today, I treasure my daily quiet time with the Lord; she showed me how to do that. Ashley is a woman who walks with such grace and wisdom. Instead of letting certain challenging situations consume her, she handles them with such patience. I know this is the Lord within her. I’m so thankful for the ways she truly exemplifies the woman described in Proverbs 31:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity … She speaks wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household…”

Whether we are in our living room together or cities apart, we make strategies to stay in constant communication so we can grow closer to Christ and to each other. Every day at noon, I have a reminder to pray for Ashley, and she for me. My role as a husband is to love Ashley as Christ loves the Church, and I aim to do that on a deeper level every day.

Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers pitcher

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.