TODAY   |  February 03, 2014

Tony Dungy: ‘Commitment’ comes first in marriage

Famed football coach Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, share their secrets about how to build a successful marriage and chat about their new book, “Uncommon Marriage.” Tony says, “Number one is commitment.” Lauren says communication is key: “We have to make sure we’re talking on a daily basis.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now at 8:43. a familiar face to millions, tony dungy made history with the indianapolis colts in 2007 when he became the first african-american head coach to lead his team to a super bowl victory. he's now an analyst for nbc's " football night in america ." and his wife lauren has been by his side for good times and bad for over 30 years. and they wrote a new book "uncommon marriage." tony and lauren . good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> not talking super bowl just yet here this morning. but i was struck by your story. 31 years later how you two are still together. you've raised nine kids together. the book is called "uncommon marriage." what do you think it is that keeps you two together through it all? you've had good times and bad.

>> well, two things, natalie, number one is commitment. being determined to stay together no matter what. and number two, putting christ in the center of our life. that's kind of what the book is all about.

>> yeah. there's a lot of faith in the book, as well. you've had to keep the faith many times. i know, lauren , when you first met this guy, you were introduced by your pastor. and you weren't so sure about him. here he was, football, pro footballer, thinking at the time, i think, kind of not your kind of guy, right?

>> i wasn't excited about a jock and raising a family with three brothers that were definitely jocks. i thought, i'll pass on this guy. and, you know, see what else there is out there.

>> you did have your differences in the beginning. what were some of those differences? and having to sort of bring you together? lauren , you first.

>> just different personalities. i'm more energetic and outgoing and laid back. but we found over time that spending time together, we actually complemented each other.

>> and that's what we found over the years, god does put you together. and when you have those differences, it's not like, oh, well, this is terrible. ends up making the marriage better because you get the best of both worlds .

>> you really get kind of both sides of this. and lauren , i know, for you, the years that tony spent as a football coach were not easy years. you're talking about moves, pittsburgh, kansas city , minnesota, tampa, indianapolis, you struggled with this lifestyle and you write about that. tell me about those years.

>> it definitely was challenging. i was raising the children on my own. and i felt i had all the responsibilities of taking care of the households. so it can be challenging. but we learned to work together on that. and we've stressed communicating and so it was important that we talked on the phone. and he knew what was going on at home. and i also knew what was going on at work. i was involved in his life, as well, to be supportive and understanding.

>> and tony, also, a difficult time in your lives when you experienced the loss of your son jamie who committed suicide in 2005 . and you wrote about this. you both write about it in this book very candidly and it's very emotional, obviously, experience you had. i know you wanted to help other people by talking about the grief you felt.

>> and grief is one of the things that can split couples. and you do grieve differently. but i think the lord allowed us to go through it so we could help other people. and part of the process was learning that you can make it through if you draw closer together.

>> and i know, lauren , you both feel that writing this book that you have -- you really feel that you have a story to tell. that you hope will help others. what is the message you wanted to share?

>> definitely the message is that we have to communicate with one another. we need to make sure that we're talking on a daily basis. and otherwise, you can grow apart. he can get involved in his career and i can get involved in the children and whatever i'm doing. and before you know, it, we're leading separate lives . it's very important to stay in touch.

>> what did you think of that game last night? i've got to ask you on that note.

>> well, i should have known because i was a defensive coach and defense does win championships, but i was hoping for our man peyton, but seattle played great.

>> it was a good game all around. tough loss for the broncos.

>> that's for sure. great to meet you again. thank you so much. again, the book is called "uncommon marriage." and thanks again.