Q: You write that relationships fail because of a lack of time spent together, more than anything else.
A: Yes—because people fail to put in enough of it before committing themselves! It's almost impossible to know everything about a person in a few weeks or months, and yet every day people commit themselves to exclusive relationships after just a few dates. They move in together after a few months. And then they and their friends watch as the cracks develop, one at a time, and the walls of the relationship begin to crumble. It doesn’t have to be that way! The relationships that last have been developed to last. The couples took the time to get it right. They took the time to get to know each other. It's always important to put good, constructive, quality time into a relationship, no matter how long you've been together. One of the biggest relationship-killers we've ever seen—and we know you see it as much as we do—is impatience.
Q: One of the key building blocks for a great marriage is trust. And you say trust can only be built over time.
A: Like everything else we discuss, the basis of trust is communication. You don't have to know every detail of every prior relationship, but it's important to know your partner's attitudes, to understand what makes him or her tick. That knowledge is the foundation of trust in a relationship and you want it to be as strong as it can be. Communication brings knowledge. Knowledge brings trust. Trust helps overcome conflict—and all of that takes time. Without trust, true intimacy, true bonding, is impossible. Some of us have to re-learn trust after a bad experience or two, especially those who have grown up in difficult circumstances with people who were not always trustworthy, have to learn it for the first time.
Q: You’ve come to a place where you can’t even imagine having a relationship with anything other than faith as the foundation.
A: That’s right. A couple that builds a life and relationship on biblical foundations can work through almost any conflict. One of the great surprises in our relationship early on was realizing we could talk about the faith we had. It gave us something to use as the basis for everything else and is one of the main reasons we've been successful as a couple through the years. As individuals and as couples, all of us are going to face adversity. There will be times when we will have to rely on something or somebody bigger than we are. For us, the answer lies in our spirituality, in our relationship with God. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect or that we’re praying every hour of every day. It does mean that seeking God’s will and his guidance is built into the way we live our lives day to day. It’s what allows us to get centered.
Q: And you’ve seen how money has the power to divide a relationship…
A: The bottom line, we think, is that you should handle your money— it should not handle you. It should not rule you individually or as a couple. It should not divide you. If the basis of your relationship lies in faith, you will have a big head start in putting finances in their proper place. Money doesn't have value on its own— it's only valuable if you can use it to buy things that do have value. So it's actually a symbol of wealth rather than wealth itself. It's a tool, something you use in order to maintain a home in the ways that love doesn't. It's how you build or buy a house, keep the lights and heat on, furnish it, and purchase things like education and recreation. The family runs on love. Money just gives the love a place to happen and things to do.
Q: As people practice these six relationship rules, you hope they will ultimately enjoy and live the “Power of One.”
A: Yes. Every building begins with a vision. So does every successful marriage partnership. And just as a building can’t have two architects working separately, a successful marriage can’t have two dreamers pulling in different directions. We encourage each other to stretch, to reach, to dream. We’ve watched each other scale the heights of our professions since our first days together and we still have as much confidence and belief in each other as we do in ourselves, no matter what we’re undertaking. We also know very well that success for one is success for both. We’re encouraged by each other’s progress and we’re uplifted by each other’s accomplishments.
Married for Real: Building a Loving, Powerful Life Together By Eddie and Tamara George with Rob Simbeck Available February 1, 2012 U.S. $19.95, jacketed hardcover, 144 pages + 8-page photo insert ISBN-13: 978-1-4267-2248-6 BISAC category: Religion/Christian Life/Love & Marriage E-book also available.