Former NFL quarterback-turned-MLB minor league prospect Tim Tebow delighted fans on Thursday with the announcement of his engagement to South African native Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the winner of the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant.
The high-profile couple broke the news on Instagram, sharing a photo of the proposal that featured the 31-year-old Tebow, framed by framed by flowers and on one knee, looking up expectantly at his emotionally overwhelmed fiancé.
In a world full of headlines that can haunt even the most optimistic person, news of a pending wedding brings a collective smile. Romantic love is one of life’s most enjoyable things, and we’re drawn to new beginnings and the adventure that is marriage.
As a Christian counselor, I’ve spent years helping couples prepare not just for the big day – but for a lifetime together. Many people often think engagements are akin to a signed check – an ironclad commitment to get married. In reality, engagements should be used to not just plan a wedding, but also take time to make sure you’re compatible.
As an athlete, Tim Tebow is well familiar with the necessity of preparation. Over the years, the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL wonder kid has spent countless hours in the gym, on the field and watching videos and analyzing opponents.
Although different in many ways, a concentrated preparation for marriage with a similar tenacity will be necessary if Tim and his fiancée want to be sure they’re ready to step into a marriage that will last a lifetime.
And so, whenever I’m meeting with engaged couples, I pose a version of the following six questions to them, and would similarly hope that Tim and Demi-Leigh can answer in the affirmative to the following points of discussion:
1. Are they ready to make a lifelong commitment to God and one another?
Tim and Demi-Leigh are making a decision to cut off all other options that would compete with their marriage. Fittingly, the word “decide” stems from a root word meaning “to cut.”
2. Do they understand the purpose of marriage?
As a Christian, I believe God uses marriage to help us become more like Christ. It can be a humbling and challenging process, but a good marriage will strengthen your faith.
3. Do they understand their job is to love their spouse – not get their spouse to love them?
We’re selfish creatures, and concentrating on the “other” person can be difficult. But if each person would spend less time worrying about themselves and more time serving the other person, they’ll be amazed at how strong and fulfilling their marriage can be.
4. Are they ready to leave their past behind?
I regularly see couples who struggle with transitioning from their single lifestyle to marriage. It’s also common to encounter men and women who are still emotionally entwined with their parents. Your spouse shouldn’t have to compete with your mother or father for attention.
5. Do they know how to manage conflict?
It’s one of the greatest myths that the absence of conflict is a sign of a healthy marriage. Differences of opinion over money, sex and household issues, to name just a few topics, are inevitable. Conflict is actually an opportunity to learn something about yourself, your spouse and your marriage. But you need to fight fairly.
6. Are they part of a community?
It’s not uncommon for a couple to put some distance between themselves and friends and their community after falling in love. They’re so enraptured with one another that it’s easy to lose connections. But every couple needs a strong network of support, including relatives, friends and a church body.
The union of a man and woman in the sacred institution of marriage is a glorious event and something that not only adds to personal fulfillment but also the betterment of society. If Tim Tebow and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters approach the marriage altar with the same degree of planning and tenacity that they’ve done in their respective professional pursuits, I am confident they’ll be on their way to a lifetime of marital fulfillment.