Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together
They might appear to be living a fairy-tale life—he’s a superstar NFL running back and broadcaster; she sings in a successful pop/R&B group. But success on the outside doesn’t always equate to success on the inside—or happiness under the same roof.
Q: So through describing your journey, sharing honest stories about your relationship, you want to give hope that a great relationship is possible, no matter what your baggage or obstacles?
A: Absolutely! One of the things we like about doing this book is it’s our chance to show people that perfect is unrealistic. But while we’re not perfect, we do have a great relationship, and you can have one too, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the moment. We’re just two people with very hectic lives who are in love and want to make our love work, day by day. If we can find time to use the rules in our book and keep it together, you can too. Yes, it’ll take a little work, but a great relationship is worth so much more than any effort you put into it.
Q: You offer a set of “doable” rules for building a loving marriage—with the first being “finding and polishing the real you.” Explain how important this first rule is within a relationship.
A: None of us gets through childhood and adolescence without some baggage—some bumps and bruises to our psyches. Life is a contact sport. Preparing ourselves for a great relationship doesn't require that we eliminate every bit of baggage. It does mean dealing with it and learning to handle the situations and emotions that could turn into new baggage. And it was a learning process for us. As we have grown and matured, in our faith especially, we see that our premarital sex had a cost. Once sex enters the equation, there is no going back. It is a game changer and it could have easily turned into new baggage. But finding the best you doesn't mean dwelling on the mistakes or misdeeds of other people. It means facing yours so you can change your own actions and attitudes.
Q: Do you believe that placing an overemphasis on the physical side of a relationship early on simply invites trouble?
A: Unquestionably. Sex is a pleasurable activity, but if you're not careful with it, it can hurt you. It can be distracting. It can cloud your judgment. It can be addictive. And when it's not treated as the serious element of a relationship that it is, it can lead to all kinds of misconstrued emotions and complications. That's why we've stressed the importance of self-discovery and of communication. People need to be knowledgeable about themselves and about their partner before sex becomes part of the equation. There must be a mutual understanding of what it means to be committed to each other, and, the Bible is right in saying that an intimate relationship is best expressed within marriage. We know that now, but now we are also older and wiser. Sex is, in a very real sense, a point of no return. There's no regaining that pre-sexual status. The element of surprise is gone. Your innocence has been taken. If you're not ready for it, you're in new territory without a useful map.