NFL STAR & WIFE SHARE SECRETS TO A LOVING MARRIAGE
Eddie & Tamara George Share Stories, Faith, to Help Others
Are we relationship experts? No. Do we have degrees in psychology or counseling? No again. But we believe we have something worth saying. We each bring a lifetime of relationship experience to this book and we’ve got 13 years of togetherness that have taught us what it takes to make a relationship work. Could we have benefited from a book like this? Absolutely! That’s one of the big reasons we wanted to do it. We know how important it is to hear from real people who’ve been through good and bad and come out the other end united—and smiling! For whatever reason, most books like this don't get "real." Anyone who knows us knows that we are definitely real.
That's not something we have to work at. It's just who we are. And so we've done our best to bring that to the table. You'll get to see us, warts and all. We’ll talk about real situations and real outcomes. This is life, not fairy tales. But we’re hoping you can learn from everything we’ve been through, that you can sort through the laughter and the tears and pick up some tips you can use to build your own great relationship. We’re going to present six very “doable rules:
-Find and Polish the True YOU
-Put in the TIME
-Live by FAITH -
Handle your MONEY
-Learn the True Art of SEX
Q: You both bring a background of superstar careers to the table: Eddie, as a record-setting NFL running back, and Taj, as a singer in one of the top pop/R&B groups, SWV. What made you decide to write a marriage book together?
A: Well, first off, we are not suddenly experts on relationships! Do we have degrees in psychology or counseling? No again. But we believe we have something worth saying. We each bring a lifetime of relationship experience to this book and we’ve got 13 years of togetherness that have taught us what it takes to make a relationship work. Could we have benefited from a book like this? Absolutely! That’s one of the big reasons we wanted to do it. We know how important it is to hear from real people who’ve been through good and bad and come out the other end united—and smiling! This book grows out of the realities of the life we have shared, by the grace of God, since we found each other. Now, right up front we need to tell you that it wasn't always peaches and cream. In fact, if it had been, this might be a very dull book—and it wouldn’t be very helpful.
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.
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.