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Russell Wilson Shares What He Prayed For In A Wife Before Meeting Ciara

"I didn't want perfection; I wanted the perfect thing for me."

Ciara

"People always ask Ciara what was her prayer, but no one has ever asked me what I prayed for." - Russell Willson

When our managing editor, Sheriden, sent me a video that featured football great Russell Wilson and his beautiful R&B rib Ciara (they're Christians, so I'm pretty sure they don't mind me using that reference; Genesis 2:18-25) chopping it up on IG live with their friend, actor La La Anthony about marriage, as a marriage life coach, I must admit that it did pique my interest a bit. The topic of marital unions and, more importantly, how to cultivate a healthy one while trying to make it stand the test of time, always does. Plus, it's no secret that, in many ways, Russell and Ciara's love story brings new meaning to "beauty for ashes"—and that definitely inspires a sense of hope. All you have to do is Google their relationship history to know that them getting to where they are now has been quite the journey for them both. Have mercy. To look at them together now? In many ways, it really does seem like everything that happened before they became husband and wife was a billion other lifetimes ago.

Anyway, on their five-year anniversary of the day they first met (which was Thursday, 3/26), as far as them taking their fans through their romance from the very beginning (you can watch that here), that was fun to watch. But what our xoTeam found to be especially fascinating was when Russell decided to share how his list of what he desired in a wife actually complemented Ciara's prayer regarding what she longed for in a husband.

When it comes to Ciara's prayer specifically, last spring we posted the deets in the article "Ciara Finally Lets Us In On The Prayer That Led Her To Russell Wilson". Ciara made it crystal clear that it wasn't so much "the prayer" or "one prayer" that brought Russell into her life. It was actually many prayers—or as the Good Book puts it, "prayers without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:16-17)—that caused the love of her life to ultimately manifest.

Yet personally, what I found to be so awesome about their love testimony, is the fact that while Ciara was in one place, praying for her life partner to come into her world, Russell was somewhere else basically doing the same. Ladies, did you catch that? Russell wanted to be in a serious and lasting relationship. All on his own. Ciara didn't have to convince him to be in that head and heart space. At around the 5:00 mark of the video, Russell confirms this.

"I wanted a long-lasting relationship. I wanted love. I wanted kids. I wanted family. I didn't want perfection; I wanted the perfect thing for me. Anyway, so I ended up writing down five non-negotiables because, really, marriage is a partnership. It's a business deal in a way but really, it's a partnership…like, if we're gonna do this forever, how are we gonna partner up and do this?...When you go into a partnership or a business-type deal, you want to think about, what are your non-negotiables? This is what I want, this is what I have to have, and this is what I'm looking for…I had to write down what those were."

Some of y'all might remember back in the day when I wrote the piece, "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material". And what is that thing? It's a man who wants to be married. Russell was most definitely that guy. So much in fact that he comprised his own what-I-want-in-a-wife list. A non-negotiable list. And just what was on it? Some grown man stuff, I'll tell you that.

Here Are the Five Things That Russell Absolutely Required in His Future Wife

1. “My first one was, I wanted a woman of faith.”

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Because both Russell and Ciara are pretty open about their religious beliefs, I'm sure that her being like-minded about Christianity is a big part of what he was referring to here. But I do think it's important to mention that faith is also defined as being "confidence or trust in a person or thing". Christians, Muslims and Jews alike all believe that God is a part of a marital relationship. Yet also, in order for a faith-based union to thrive, two people must also have faith in their partner as well. In choosing a partner, you've got to be confident that they totally have your back, no matter what. You've got to be able to put your full trust in them—their character, their value system, their views on commitment and covenant. Faith is important in all relationships. In a marriage, it's absolutely foundational to its success.

2. “I wanted a woman who was faithful.”

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What's the first thing you thought when you read that? That Russell wanted a woman who wouldn't cheat, right? Yeah, it's certainly helpful when you're with someone who only wants to be with you. But let's go deeper than that.

By definition, a faithful person is someone who is "true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.", who is "steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant" and, who is "strict or thorough in the performance of duty". Yeah, exactly. It's a pretty low bar if all that faithful means to you is that your partner won't have sex with someone else. Faithful is also about being reliable, about being consistent. It's also about being thorough.

And let's not forget that it's also about keeping those wedding day vows. "Forsaking all others" ain't the only thing that is mentioned in traditional marital vows. So is sticking with someone in good times and in bad…until death parts you (amazing how much that part is overlooked).

3. “I wanted an independent woman…they could be doing whatever, but they have their own identity, they have their own perspective on what they wanted to do in life and how they wanted to impact people.”

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I can't tell you how many times I have sat across a married couple where one spouse's entire world is wrapped around their partner. It's not because of how "in love" they are; it's because they don't have a clue what their purpose is, outside of their relationship. That's not good. One of the blessings about having a season of singleness is you can figure out who the heck you are and what the heck you were created to do on this planet. Because I promise you, a person who knows their true purpose is going to have a much easier—and more accurate—time finding a complementary partner than someone who doesn't have the faintest idea.

Something else that was dope about what Russell said here is he wanted a woman who impacted people in a profound way. A selfish person isn't attractive to a mature one. That said, when it comes to marriage, two of my favorite Scriptures in the Bible are, "A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands" (Proverbs 14:1—NLT) and "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones." (Proverbs 12:4—NKJV) Russell was looking for a woman, not just of influence, but good influence. Most good men are.

4. “I wanted a woman who was gonna love me the way that my mom loved my dad when he was on his deathbed…my mom took care of my dad, no matter what the circumstances were and how far it got.”

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My mother has been married three times. My late fiancé came from a home where his parents are still together and he's been gone 25 years this coming November. While we were dating, our approaches to things were very different and yes, some of it had to do with the marriages that we had seen and experienced. For instance, when we would argue, oftentimes, my go-to would be to break-up while he would be like, "Why are you so extreme? Everyone fights. We'll get through this."

Yeah, I totally dig that Russell was able to see "through thick and thin" as he was growing up. Unfortunately, a lot of our Black men haven't and so it's hard for them to conceptualize staying with someone when times get hard. Peep how Russell said that his parents honored their commitment, no matter how challenging the circumstances were. Marriages that are worth their weight in gold have this kind of reputation. I have been fortunate to encounter a few.

5. “I wanted a woman who was gonna tilt the room…if she walks in a room, the whole furniture just slides to her.”

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I ain't gonna lie. This one is the one that made me be like, "Say that!" TILT. THE. ROOM. It also reminds me of a Scripture that I referenced in the article "These 8 Scriptures Are Spiritual Game-Changers For Single Women". The New Century Version of Song of Solomon 4:7 says, "My darling, everything about you is beautiful, and there is nothing at all wrong with you." One of my favorite husbands once told me that what he loved most about his wife is, "When God created her, He clearly had me in mind." DOPE.

Ciara is a physically appealing woman. No doubt about it.

But single ladies, wait for the man who believes that you also "tilt the room", even if no one else noticed but him. A man who feels like, just by you sharing his space, you alter the atmosphere.

Tilt the room. I'll be using that often, Mr. Wilson. Thank you.

Russell followed this list up with another very valid point. He wasn't going to waver on it.

"I wasn't gonna settle for three out of five or four out of five; we were gonna go five for five…we got five for five, plus some more."

A lot of us have lists. Know what else? A lot of us compromise when it comes to what's on them. It only works against us whenever we do because, as writer Maureen Dowd once said, "The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." Listen, while I do think it's relevant to say that Russell's list wasn't a mile long—there are lists and then there are lists—to be clear and concise, and then to not budge on whatever you are clear about? That's important too. It's a way of showing that you are unapologetic about whatever your deal-breakers are. It's how you can keep all of the counterfeits out of your path as you wait for who is truly best and right for you.

Again, Russell’s List and Ciara’s Prayer COMPLEMENTED Each Other

A part of the reason why I write articles like on this platform like, "He Loves You. He's Just Never Gonna Marry You. Now What?", "If Your Man Is Missing These Things, Wait Before Marrying Him" and "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife" is because, some of us are so focused on the desire to be a wife that we don't pay attention to signs if a man wants to be a husband—and then our husband—or not. Indeed, one of the best things about Russell and Ciara's story is they both wanted the same thing; not only that but it's clear that their spirits were on one accord, even before their physical beings came together.

Per Ciara (via the same video):

"Our prayers were pretty much lined up. I think that's the thing I probably hear about it when we talk about it…I think that's what stands out the most to me—we were in sync. You know, we talked about being equally yoked…when you pray, for anything in life—I don't care if it's like, love, if it's business, if it's the vision you have for yourself, like even as a single person, right?...You've gotta be intentional. I really believe you can't get anywhere in life without a compass…you've gotta have a compass…because, otherwise, you're just shooting in the dark…I feel like you make life more complicated and you make the journey more complex."

Author Paulo Coelho once said, "And, when you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." Ciara knew what she wanted. Russell knew what he wanted. Because what they wanted "fit each other"—here they are with an almost five-year marriage, two kids and another baby blessing on the way.

You know, I'm a firm believer that, where we are called by Light, dark forces will attack us; it's called spiritual warfare. I thought about Ciara's dating past as she shared what a part of her calling/being is all about.

"For me, I love being happy. Like, happiness is a big part of my identity. So, if I take that away, I'm not being who I am."

So much opposition was trying to keep her away from who she is at her core—HAPPINESS. Or, as her husband speaks of, joy. Yet because she went to the Source of joy via her prayers, she now has it. And as for Russell's list? Russell shares this final point.

"When we have a tough moment…we can always find that center place, right? And we always have joy in that. And I think that gives us the greatest peace…God is the center of it all…if we do that, we can do forever."

All because he didn't waver on his wife wish list. He wanted a woman of faith who was faithful. He didn't compromise. Now it's all good. Shoot, even better than that.

I don't know if Russell and Ciara woke up on the anniversary of when they met this past week and thought that they would be doing an impromptu marital (and marital preparation) seminar, but this was some really good stuff right here. Know what you want. Have a list of what it looks like. Don't settle. Discern once your desires have arrived. Then watch what comes your way when you do. Russell and Ciara can certainly attest to that. Happy Anniversary, you two. Here's to many, many, many more!

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

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Featured image by @ciara IG

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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