Packers-Bears: Game Will Test 'Mixed Marriages'

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Next game: NFC Championship on Sunday at Chicago
Packers Gameday at 12:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ with coverage on Live at 5 and 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4

MILWAUKEE - Up here, we call them "mixed marriages."

But does one Bears fan and one Packers fan equal one happy marriage? 

For thousands of couples across Wisconsin, nothing tests that bond quite like the Bears-Packers rivalry.

"Chicago's going to win, but it's going to be a very close game," claims George.

"No, they're not!" retorts Bea.  "The Packers are gonna win."

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George and Bea have been married for decades, and even though they live in Glendale, he's a Bears fan.

"I lived in Chicago for many years."

But so did Bea, but she's seen the light of the Green and Gold.

"Since we moved to Milwaukee about 50 years ago, and had kids here and they all grew up being Packers fans, I sort of leaned over to the Packers, but George sticks to his old loyalties."

"I'm also a Cubs fan," George informs us.

So how does George feel about being outnumbered by his wife and kids?

"They're adults.  They are certainly entitled to make their own mistakes," he quipped.  "Only during gamedays is there a little bit of dissension."

But no matter where their loyalties lie, George and Bea can't wait to watch Sunday's game together.

"I think it's going to be absolutely phenomenal," says George.

"I think it's going to be great," said Bea, "and I hope the Packers make it."

"There are even times when my wife is wrong," joked George.

Packers fans hope she's right.

Marriage Counselor Gives Advice for Packers-Bears 'Mixed Marriages'

In a football crazy area like Wisconsin and Illinois, such disagreement can bring higher-stress in a relationship or marriage than normal, especially in preparation for the biggest contest in Packers-Bears rivalry history.

"It definitely can, because come Sunday night, somebody's going to be on the losing side and somebody's going to be on the winning side.  That can lead to a little bit of bitterness," said licensed clinical counselor Kate Ferguson on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

"Sports is very competitive.  People love their sports up here, especially the Packers.  It's almost like a religious following.  It can lead to a bit of marital strife."

Kate suggested giving some boundaries for how far you can go with the ribbing and gamesmanship within a family.

"That's why I think before the game starts,  you have to go into it with your partner, your spouse, and say 'Let's just have some fun.'  As long as you go into it knowing this is just a game - yes, it's a big game - but definitely set some boundaries."

She said that with the emotions connected to such a rivalry, it's easy to overstep good taste in post-game commentary.

"You need to know when you've gone too far and you need to say, 'OK, once the game's done, we're going to leave it all here in the living room.  We're definitely not going to take it with us the rest of the week.  Don't poke any more fun on Wednesday to the one who lost.  Definitely, you need to keep it in perspective. 

"You can't control the outcome of the game, but you definitely can control the outcome of the relationship.  What a silly thing to put a bad taste in your mouth about a relationship than a football game."

One idea: split the room halfway.

"Put the room down the middle, maybe have a Bears side, have a Packers side.  Get the kids involved, but know at the end of the day, it's a game, and your marriage is going to last a lot longer than the game," suggested Kate.

"Especially if you have kids around, because this could be a good example to show what sportsmanship is like."