Confession time: I absolutely love football, and I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit that my life pretty much revolves around the NFL season. While many will tune in to the Super Bowl for the commercials, I love watching the game.

So of course with the Super Bowl only a few days away, I thought why not write a blog about how to have a Super Bowl-worthy relationship? Just like what it takes to get to the Super Bowl, having a healthy relationship requires teamwork, strategy, and a winning mindset. So, in the spirit of the upcoming event, here are nine essential plays that can help you create a championship-worthy relationship:

1. Have consistent communication huddles. In football, play calling lets every player know what’s expected of them. You want to clearly communicate in a relationship, too. Make time for regular “huddles” with your partner to check-in about your day, expectations around logistics, and managing stressors. Also make time to talk about your relationship. For example, you can talk about what went well over the past week, how you can both continue to be supportive, clarifying any recent miscommunication, and how you can work on continually being good partners.

2. Tackle challenges together. Every team faces challenges, and the same goes for relationships. Instead of withdrawing, playing the blame game, or avoiding conflict, work together to tackle issues as they arise. It’s better to keep small problems small instead of letting them get out of hand. It’s common to feel even closer with your partner after overcoming challenges together.

3. Support each other through fumbles. Just like in a football game, where even the best players occasionally drop the ball, you and your partner will make mistakes (you may drop the ball on a task, forget a commitment, take your stress out on your partner, etc.). Because fumbles are inevitable, how you handle them are important. Acknowledge the fumble, address its impact, and then focus on the repair and recovery—how you can grow and learn from the experience to strengthen your relationship.

4. Work as a team. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Patrick Mahomes isn’t Patrick Mahomes without his teammates and vice versa. You can work better together than trying to do it alone. Recognize that needing each other can make you stronger. Both of you can play to your strengths and no matter what, feel like you have each other’s backs.

5. Create a culture of appreciation. When players are interviewed throughout the football season, they sing the praises of their teammates. Whether the games were won or lost, players acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of each teammate. Develop a mindset where you scan for the positives, express gratitude and affection, and celebrate your victories. Be each other’s cheerleaders (outfits optional).

6. Game plan for quality time. Just like football players need to spend time together on and off the field to build understanding and trust, couples also benefit from quality time. In football, teammates develop an understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies through practice sessions, team meetings, and socializing outside of the game. Similarly, couples strengthen their bond and increase trust and satisfaction when they can connect through quality time. Whether it’s a weekly date night, playing a board game, or trying new experiences like travel or hobbies, prioritize time to continually get to know each other. Be conscious of the calendar and game plan on a consistent basis.

7. Manage your emotions. Just as players on the field must maintain their cool to avoid costly penalties—and potentially even the game—managing your emotions is also crucial in a relationship. Managing your emotions doesn’t mean suppressing your feelings—it means being mindful of how you react to them and act on them. Practicing emotional management will positively impact the health—and success—of your relationship.

8. Embrace innovation. In football, teams constantly create new strategies to try to win the game, and the same principle applies to relationships. If you find yourselves stuck in unproductive patterns or see that some things just aren’t working well, explore new approaches. Just as coaches and players experiment with different plays, keep an open dialogue with your partner and be willing to experiment together. And sometimes you may just need to call an audible. Try a variety of strategies to get winning results.

9. Get a good therapist. Despite having talent and skill, these pro football players still have coaches to guide them and to help them hone their skills to make them better on the field. A proactive and research-based therapist can provide you with information, skills, and tools to enhance your relationship.

So as the Super Bowl approaches and the world tunes in, remember that the real championship game is the one you play every day with your partner. And just like in football, a successful relationship requires dedication, teamwork, and a commitment to continual improvement. By incorporating these nine strategies into your playbook, you’ll have a relationship that’s truly Super Bowl-worthy. Cheers to your own touchdown celebrations!