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Living in a House Divided

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Despite the intensity of the Egg Bowl Rivalry, it really is possible to make a House Divided work.

Justin Strawn

That’s my beautiful family at the top of this post. It was taken a few years ago before Easter, and yes, I’m on #TeamHawaiianShirt.

My son is now nine and will turn ten at the end of February. He is an avid golfer and loves basketball almost as much as he loves golf.

My daughter is four. She has me firmly wrapped around her little finger with her smiles and giggles as every little girl should when it comes to her daddy.

My wife is the beautiful red-head. She works hard as an engineer in her day-to-day tasks, but she’s been assigned to a special project at her job for the past nine months and will likely stay on it for some time. This has her working 12 to 14 hours a day plus time on the weekends. Despite this, she manages to find time to stay extremely involved in our kids’ lives. She’s an amazing woman, and she’s an Ole Miss graduate.

People often ask, “How do I do it?” The question is often asked with a heaping amount of disbelief because they could never envision themselves being in a position like I am in. I blog about the Mississippi St. Bulldogs in my spare time, so I am intensely committed to being a fan. My wife graduated from Ole Miss after living her entire life in Arkansas. It’s a huge part of who she is, and I wouldn’t want to change a thing about her. So I understand why people might find it difficult to believe people from the opposing side of the rivalry might have a hard time living together in holy matrimony on day-to-day basis.

But when you consider all that a marriage has to work through to make it successful, why shouldn’t we be able to overcome something like a football rivalry? Between raising two kids, working two full time jobs, keeping a house clean and orderly, and trying to find time to spend quality time together, not losing our minds over the Egg Bowl Rivalry is a breeze.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t times where we sometimes get cross with each other over things regarding our schools. My wife thinks I’m too over-the-top when it comes to not liking Ole Miss. I find that funny because it’s one of the most constant criticisms I get from other Bulldog fans. They don’t think I am critical enough.

When I did not meet the woman I would marry while at Mississippi State and then subsequently decided to move back to Desoto County, I knew there was a better than decent chance I would marry a fan or graduate of Ole Miss. A conservative estimate would say Rebel fans outnumber Bulldog fans 3 to 1. I wasn't about to let myself miss out on the best thing to ever come my way simply because of a rivalry.

My wife and I will occasionally discuss how it might have been nice to experience the college years together. But for us to have done so, it would mean one of us would have not been at a place so very dear to our hearts. Ultimately, Ole Miss is a big reason why she is who she is and Mississippi State is a big reason why I am who I am. And because of that, neither of us would ever want to change that part of the other. We may not always see eye-to-eye when it comes to our colleges and why we love them, but we're glad they helped shape us into the people we are today.

But in general, it is usually never an issue. It probably helps that my wife isn’t much of a sports fan. I think the last time she actually watched the game was in 2010 when we were invited to my uncle’s house to watch the game. As of right now, she's planning on going deer hunting during the game. If she were a sports enthusiast like myself, it might be a different story.

But right now it’s a pretty simple thing to do. I get up everyday and thank God Almighty for bringing this amazing woman into my life. And the simple fact that she wants to always have a Hotty Toddy and I want to wrap everything in Maroon and White won’t ever change that.