What San Francisco Giants fan won't miss Buster Posey? At the top of his career, the seven-time all-star who won three World Series surprised many of us by announcing his retirement at age 34 in early November.

Why? Posey cites the desire to spend more time with his family and a recognition of the physical toll of playing catcher. So he's retiring after a twelve-year major league baseball career.

Posey took a year off in 2020, forfeiting a multi-million dollar salary to stay home and keep his wife Kristen and their newly adopted, immune-compromised twins safe from COVID.


You might think, "If I had his net worth of fifty million dollars, I could put my marriage and family first." But there's more to it than that.

Maybe you're earning a more ordinary income like Jen and Bill, who saw me for couple therapy. They faced challenges that might not result in Posey-like sacrifices but were still significant.

Jen and Bill wanted to restore the passion they'd felt earlier in their marriage. Grudges that built up over time kept them emotionally and, therefore, physically distant from each other.

Both had energy-consuming jobs that took a lot out of them. Also, they were spending much of their free time planning major home remodeling projects, which led to frequent arguments. Jen resented Bill for not including her in some of the planning.


Often, Sally and Bill became annoyed about something the other was doing or not doing but stayed silent and grew resentful. Neither felt loved or loving enough to initiate sex or welcome an approach.

It takes emotional energy to focus on resolving long-standing conflicts and owning one's part in contributing to them. I encouraged them to recognize how taking on new obligations like remodeling projects would add energy-depleting stress. Doing so could perpetuate their pattern of letting grudges build instead of practicing communication skills to resolve misunderstandings, manage conflicts well, and increase emotional and physical intimacy.


Although Jena and Bill liked holding the kind of weekly marriage prescribed in my book, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love, they sometimes forgot to hold one because they were busy focusing on home projects or work. I suggested they put some projects on hold for a while.

I remembered the sound advice given to Sally when she and her husband Cliff bought a fixer-upper house consisting of two flats in San Francisco's Mission district. They spent their weekends working to restore its natural beauty.

Back then, the three of us were young social workers in San Francisco's Child Welfare Department. Chris, our supervisor, noticed that the couple's fix-up projects were taking a toll on their relationship. He advised them to reduce the restoration work to every other weekend. They took his advice and restored their relationship too!


I, too, had to learn to cut down on stress if I wanted to create a good marriage. If I'd stayed in a high-pressure job as executive director of a family service agency, I probably would have remained single instead of happily married for over 33 years. The job was a fantastic learning experience but didn't suit my sensitive nature.

That work and commute kept me too drained for much social life and distanced me from my closest friends. I had too little energy for others.

People with personality traits that fit for dealing with politics, competing interests, or other factors can thrive in that kind of job. However, introverted types like me need to keep acting beyond our natural selves to succeed in such an environment, which creates stress.


My husband David, whom I met sometime after leaving that position, would never have taken a high-stress position because

1. He wouldn't work anywhere that required a significant commute.
2. He would not take a stressful job. He stopped interviewing promptly for one on seeing a bottle of antacid pills on the interviewer's desk!

David and I talk about home-improvement projects, but they're low priority. We're happier together when we focus more on enjoyment and relaxing and less on energy-depleting obligations.


"I want to do more stuff from February to November with family," Posey said in a news conference. "Physically, it's much harder now. It's hard to enjoy it as much when there is physical pain that you're dealing with. It was getting to the point that things that I was enjoying were not as joyful anymore." He acknowledges that he'll miss the camaraderie with teammates, but he hasn't wavered from making his choice to put his marriage and family first.

Buster Posey reminds us to keep a balance between joy and obligations. Both are crucial for a happy life, as is knowing when to cut back enough on commitments to bring more joy to ourselves, our families, friends, and the world!

Author's Bio: 

Marcia Naomi Berger is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist specializing in couple and relationship counseling. She is the author of MARRIAGE MINDED: AN A TO Z DATING GUIDE FOR LASTING LOVE. www.marriagemeetings.com