The Uncommon Marriage Adventure: A Daily Journey to Draw You Closer to God and Each Other

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Marriage is an adventure unlike any other. At times, you and your spouse may feel so close, connected, and in love that you’re ready to take on the world together. But other times, things grow distant, and you wonder where all the joy and excitement has gone. What is the secret to a happy, healthy, God-honoring marriage—one that will last through anything that comes your way?

Join Tony and Lauren Dungy in The Uncommon Marriage Adventure, a series of daily reflections for ...

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The Uncommon Marriage Adventure: A Daily Journey to Draw You Closer to God and Each Other

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Marriage is an adventure unlike any other. At times, you and your spouse may feel so close, connected, and in love that you’re ready to take on the world together. But other times, things grow distant, and you wonder where all the joy and excitement has gone. What is the secret to a happy, healthy, God-honoring marriage—one that will last through anything that comes your way?

Join Tony and Lauren Dungy in The Uncommon Marriage Adventure, a series of daily reflections for couples. With transparency, wisdom, and humor, the Dungys share what they’ve learned over 30 years of marriage about faith, teamwork, conflict, communication, and more. Through each day’s reading, you and your spouse will go deeper in loving, understanding, and learning to serve each other. Dare to embark on your own marriage adventure—and discover how to make your relationship truly uncommon. Tyndale House Publishers

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A series of daily reflections for couples from husband Tony, the first black head coach to bring his team to the Super Bowl, and wife Lauren, an early childhood specialist and best-selling children's book author.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414383729
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 196,961
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Dungy
Tony Dungy

Tony Dungy is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life, New York Times best-seller Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance. He led the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl victory in 2007, the first such win for an African American head coach. Dungy joined the Colts in 2002 after serving as the most successful coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. He and his wife, Lauren, are the parents of six children. They live in Tampa, Florida.
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Read an Excerpt

The Uncommon Marriage Adventure

A Daily Journey to Draw You Closer to God and Each Other


Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Tony and Lauren Dungy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-8372-9



day 1


CORE PRACTICE #1: Make Christ the center of your marriage.

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.—PHILIPPIANS 2:1-2


When Tony served as a head coach in the NFL, the coaches' wives often visited classrooms in inner-city schools to read to and talk with students. This practice continues to be one of my priorities, and now that Tony is retired, he has joined me. We have visited two third-grade classrooms in the heart of Tampa almost every Tuesday since 2009.

After we finish reading one of our books to the students, we take their questions. At first, some of the inquiries surprised us. "Are you two married? To each other?" We've learned to expect surprised looks or exclamations like, "Wow, you're kidding me!" when we tell them that, yes, we've been married for more than thirty years.

My favorite question came from a boy who eagerly raised his hand and asked, "Are you guys Christians?" I felt such joy that a third grader recognized our love for God and desire to follow His plan.

Tony and I have fulfilled many roles during our marriage: spouse, parent, coach, teacher, speaker, and broadcaster, to name just a few. Yet nothing is more important than being Christ followers. Christ is also the center of our marriage—the source of love, grace, forgiveness, and perseverance we need to make it through each day.

During most of my single life I hadn't been focused on getting married. But when my thoughts finally drifted to marriage and whom I might marry, I knew I wanted to marry a Christian—an authentic, deeply committed, passionate, and growing follower of Christ.

When I met Tony, I learned he did too.

We both felt blessed to have parents who were happily married as well—we knew that was unusual. Within our circle of family and friends, Tony and I had numerous other examples of couples with great marriages because they were following biblical principles. Those principles guided not only their decision making, but also helped them as they raised their children, developed friendships and other associations, handled their finances, and became active in churches. We had also seen how some couples with different faith walks or none at all sometimes struggled to navigate the challenges of marriage. They lacked a common source of wisdom and grace.

Striving to keep Christ at the center of our relationship has been and continues to be the key to building our marriage. He is the source of true and lasting encouragement, comfort, and love, which makes it possible for us to set aside our selfish interests and live in ever-increasing harmony. Tony and I like to remind couples that the process of two becoming one may begin on their wedding day, but that is just the beginning of a lifetime journey of commitment. We never stop growing with and learning about each other.

Maybe it's because I once taught math as a sixth-grade teacher, but one of my favorite analogies of a Christ-centered marriage is an equilateral triangle. As you may recall from geometry class, all three sides of an equilateral triangle are the same length. (See? Your teacher told you you'd be using this later!) I picture Christ at the top of the triangle. The bride and groom, respectively, form the other two corners. The only way for a married couple to grow closer to each other is for each to grow closer to Christ—shortening the sides of the triangle. And making Christ the focus of one's relationship is all part of God's inviolate plan for marriage.

While our journey hasn't been perfect every moment, Tony and I have always known that whenever we start to get off track, whenever we feel strain or tension, we can turn toward our center and draw closer to Christ—and thereby to each other.

Adventure Application: Take a moment to each draw a triangle. Be sure the sides reflect the distance you currently feel between each other and Christ. (The longer the sides, the further apart you feel.) Now compare your triangles. Discuss why you drew them the way you did, and how focusing on Christ could shorten the sides and bring you closer together.

day 2


CORE PRACTICE #2: Treat your parents and others in authority with respect.

Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.—EXODUS 20:12


I come from a talkative, expressive family, so early in our marriage, I wondered what the quiet, reserved Dungys really thought about me. Tony, on the other hand, quickly learned to accept brutally honest advice from my father and brothers—whether or not he'd asked for it. More than once, Tony and I had to sit down to discuss our families' differences as we figured out how to love and honor our in-laws.

Sometimes we even had to laugh—such as the afternoon I told Tony how I'd nearly fainted from the heat after taking his dad outside to show him our new vegetable garden. I'd asked Wilbur Dungy a simple question about how far apart to plant green beans, only to have him launch into a two-hour lecture on soil content and photosynthesis. That's the day I learned my father-in-law would open up—as long as you were talking about something he was passionate about!

Given our experiences, whenever I am at a wedding I wonder if the bride and groom fully understand that they are not only gaining a spouse, they are inheriting an extended family. Because that is what happens when a bridal couple enters into the sacred covenant of marriage. Despite adding "in-law" to each name, the truth is that every new bride and groom in essence has a new "mother" and a new "father."

All too often, brand-new married couples are unsure how to deal with their in-laws. I like how Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, frames their predicament. Couples, he says, must balance two principles: leaving their parents while still honoring them. The Bible makes it clear that "a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one" (Genesis 2:24). But while a couple's allegiance shifts from their parents to each other, they are to continue to honor their parents, to value their wisdom, and to seek their best. If the admonishment to "honor your father and mother" in Exodus 20:12 is not enough for a husband to treat his wife's parents as his own—and vice versa for his bride—then the respect due to each other should be enough to carry the day.

The way we treat our parents affects more than our own relationship with them. A speaker at our church recently pointed out that one of the biggest problems in America is that we have not been trained well in how to honor our fathers and mothers as the Bible commands. As a result, we don't have proper attitudes toward those in authority. Yet even when we don't like the behavior modeled by a leader, we have to respect the position of authority he or she holds. That's a lesson Tony and I want our kids to learn. We want to ensure they honor us and develop proper respect for other authority figures, whether or not they like everything those in charge do.

Loving your in-laws is much easier when you start with honor and respect.

Adventure Application: Is there an issue you need to discuss with your spouse about either set of your parents? Talk about how Exodus 20:12 and Genesis 2:24 speak to that issue.

day 3


CORE PRACTICE #3: Husbands: Work hard to hear your wife's heart and meet her needs.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.—JOHN 3:16-17


Bill McCartney was a longtime college football coach whom I first got to know while playing high school football in Michigan, where I grew up. Bill would later coach at the University of Colorado, where he led the Buffaloes to their only national title. In 1990, he felt called to something different and started Promise Keepers, a ministry movement that reaches out to men.

Shortly after Bill founded Promise Keepers, the organization held a men's conference at Houlihan's Stadium in Tampa. Bill was one of the speakers. I had just been hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their head football coach, and I attended the conference along with several members of my staff. Bill's message impacted me then and continues to carry weight and meaning with me today.

Bill told us that he had started Promise Keepers because of a mistake he had made in his marriage. He admitted that he'd been so shortsighted and self-centered in his drive to become a successful college football coach that he'd often disregarded his wife's needs. Lindy had never balked or failed to support him as he pursued his passion for a career in the world of sports. However, in the process, she never had the chance to pursue her individual dreams. Even worse, Bill confessed that he'd never given Lindy's desires much thought, figuring that she'd understood when they married that she needed to stand by his career.

When Bill really looked into his wife's eyes, he realized that the life had gone out of them. He resolved to begin serving her. After telling his story, he challenged us to read John 3:16—a Scripture reference familiar to many sports fans—in a new way. He said that when he replaced the words the world in that verse with Lindy's name, his attitude toward her had completely changed.

As we left the stadium that day, my fellow coaches and I talked about how Bill's message had resonated with every one of us—because we had done the very same thing with our careers and to our wives. We realized that as we had reached for our dreams, our marriages became a "one-way street," and we expected our wives to support the destination we had chosen. That night, we left the conference vowing to change that paradigm.

In today's Scripture passage, Jesus told Nicodemus, a curious religious leader, that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son as a sacrifice. That verse took on new meaning for me in the stadium that day. As I followed Bill's example, I read the passage like this: "For God loved Lauren so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that if Lauren believes in him, [she] will not perish but have eternal life." Reading it that way allowed me to see Lauren, the woman whom the King of kings had arranged for me to marry, in a new light. More than ever, I wanted my actions and attitude to give her a lift and ongoing encouragement.

When we put the names of our loved ones, friends, and others who cross our paths into this passage, they take on sacred significance. In our minds and hearts, we begin to view them as God has always seen them—as prime objects of His love and caring affection. Then we are better able to help them become all they were created to be, to follow their dreams and to use their gifts for their good and the good of others.

Adventure Application: Read John 3:16 aloud, inserting your wife's name where appropriate. How does that help you better appreciate God's love for her? How does it impact your attitude toward her?

day 4



Husbands: Be prepared to love sacrificially.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word.—EPHESIANS 5:25-26


Long airplane rides. Turbulent, stormy weather. Middle seats in a row of three.

Those are just a few of the hassles that can come with regular airline travel. Because of my coaching jobs, I have done a lot of flying over the years. Lately those trips have included going cross country from our home in Tampa to Oregon to watch our son play football. The window seat is my preference when I travel by myself. To make the trip as pleasant as possible, I see to it that I arrive and check in early, board the plane when called, and then settle into my seat and relax.

But that is only when I fly alone. When I fly with Lauren, all my personal plans and preferences, well, they end up out the window. Because we prefer to sit together, we know that whenever our plane's seat configuration has rows of three, one of us is going to have to sit in the middle seat. Lauren doesn't fly as much as I do, but I know how much she loves sitting by the window!

From this vantage point, she can see what is happening on the tarmac below, watch other flights take off and land, make sure—when possible—that our luggage has been loaded, and observe any changes in the weather. Once airborne, she tries to identify locations in the town we just took off from, view the beautiful countryside as the jet soars by, and take in all the gorgeous cloud formations. (And if she wants to sleep, she can put her pillow against the window and not worry about an awkward interaction with a stranger.)

You know what I mean when I say that the middle seat doesn't offer a lot of privacy. Sitting there can make you feel cramped and uncomfortable. Especially when the person in front of you decides to recline. Taking the middle seat is definitely a sacrifice. And between Lauren and me, it is a sacrifice of love. I think Jesus would be pleased, considering His admonition in the Sermon on the Mount that "if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles" (Matthew 5:40-41, ESV).

I realize that having to give up the window seat for Lauren doesn't rise anywhere near the examples of sacrifice that Jesus gives. But in all cases, the attitude of our heart determines whether or not we willingly set aside our wants for another. The lesson of the middle seat is simply another way to remember my responsibility to serve others, just as Christ came to serve—not to be served.

Loving sacrificially requires a willingness to surrender every need, every desire, every right, and every position and claim of our own for the good of our spouse or others without begrudging them. God calls upon me to demonstrate sacrificial love to my wife. That simply means that I recognize and put her first in everything—even when it means giving up my window seat.

Adventure Application: How do you define sacrifice ? In what ways do you sacrifice and "take the middle seat" so your spouse can feel loved?

day 5


CORE PRACTICE #5: Wives: show love and respect to your husband.

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.—1 PETER 3:1-2


I learned a long time ago that the circumstances of my day often dictate my attitude. They can determine whether my day is going to be sunny or cloudy—no matter what the weather actually is.

My personal situation may affect how I make decisions and color my perception of comments I hear others make. They frequently determine what comes out of my mouth in response to what others say or what is happening around me.

My circumstances are that powerful. The question is: Do they have to be?

In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl recounts the unspeakable horrors of his longtime imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz and Dachau. As a prisoner, he was stripped of everything. His father, mother, brother, and wife all died in similar prison camps. Though he survived, Frankl suffered from hunger, cold, and brutality. He had lost every possession and knew he could be killed at any hour, but he still found value and hope in his day. Life, he discovered, was worth preserving.

Even in our most desperate circumstances, he noted, we are never stripped of the "last of human freedoms: to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances." In other words, though we can't always choose our situation, we can always choose our attitude—which makes it possible for us to rise above those circumstances.


Excerpted from The Uncommon Marriage Adventure by TONY DUNGY, LAUREN DUNGY, NATHAN WHITAKER. Copyright © 2014 Tony and Lauren Dungy. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted December 6, 2014

    The Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony & Lauren Dungy with

    The Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony & Lauren Dungy with Nathan Whitaker Tyndale
    Marriage / Devotional
    ISBN 9781414383729
    I give The Uncommon Marriage Adventure 5 stars. It is well written with life stories from the authors Tony & Lauren Dungy. It is a great tool to help with life, marriage and family life. Each devotion starts with a core principle and a scripture. Their are 96 core principles. The book is divided into 8 key groups that have worked well for them, their life and marriage. They touch on how the Bible and Christ are living examples on how to live, teamwork, committed love, communication, support and not running from conflict. At the end of each devotion they showed you how to apply the lesson to your life. I really enjoyed this part. On page 8 was a example of how to pray for your wife with scripture from John 3:16. I change it to pray for my hubby and found this to be so humbling. All the examples and prayer ideas are easy to add to your situation, I found them to be easy to use and beneficial. Through out the book there were references to the authors coaching and football career which I am clueless about, but I found they added a humble and honest aspect to their life experiences. They made the book seem more real.
    I want to thank the author Tony & Lauren Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, the publisher Tyndale for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review. I am so grateful for their generosity.

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