A few months before my wife and I met, I had just gotten back from a missions trip to Haiti with the University of Oklahoma football team and the girls’ basketball team, and the Oklahoma softball girls were playing in the College World Series on ESPN. My dad and I watched the College World Series every year and as we were, suddenly this girl, Brianna Turang, flashes up as one of the featured players. She was having an incredible postseason, not to mention she was just a smoke show! I thought, “Oh my word!” My dad said, “T, who is that?!” I said, “Dad, I don’t know but I’m going to find out!”
I got back to school and it turns out she had not been going to FCA in the spring because of her softball season, but all of a sudden she showed up. My FCA leader heard that she was an incredible girl with a strong faith in Christ and he asked her to be on a leadership team. Well, at the time, I was the president of FCA so I think he did me a real solid!
At the time I was dating one of her soccer teammates (she was also on the OU soccer team) and she was dating one of my teammates. I came up and shook her hand and said, “Hi Bri, my name is Tress. I just wanted to let you know that I’m down to give this a shot here. You are absolutely gorgeous, I’ve heard nothing but great things about you, and I’d love to get to know you.” As I was saying this with a smile, I was nervous out of my mind, and she was so caught off guard. We sat there and talked for a couple hours. Knowing what I wanted, I broke up with my girlfriend a few days later. She, being a little nicer, took a little more time but broke up with her boyfriend a few months later. We quickly became best friends, hanging out to get ice cream. Eventually I asked her out on a date while at an FCA camp and the rest is history.
We never really had that “marriage talk.” Looking back, we did a lot of cute hints — the, “Man, you’re really the type of person that I want to marry,” but I think we didn’t want to freak each other out. Just in passing, she would mention things like, “When I get engaged, I want to get my nails done … I’d love for it to be videotaped so I always have it.” I had a note in my phone where I took down anything she mentioned that she liked, whether it’s a shirt or something she’d like to do, and I would try to surprise her.
I knew she wanted the proposal recorded so I reached out to the videographer for FCA and he said he’d help us out. I chose four spots — the first place I ever danced with her, the first place I kissed her, the first place I told her I loved her and the first place we met. I had all these spots and chose very important people in our lives — my family, her family (who flew in from California), the guy who married us and her softball FCA chaplain — and honestly I said, “Hey guys, I just want you to love on her, tell her how amazing she is, pray for her, and then send her on her way.” Some of my best friends drove her around while she had no idea what was going on.
The reason that day was so special was because of the time and effort all those people took to tell Bri how special she is — that’s all I wanted. Now, we can always go back and watch it.
I love coming up with really cool dates, so she didn’t think initially that “this was it.” None of the shopping for rings, or wedding planning talk had happened. Everyone did an awesome job.
When you have a relationship with Christ, there’s always something to be excited about. I’m not saying that life isn’t going to suck sometimes, you’re going to go through some tough stuff, but you have some stuff to also be excited about — to see what God’s going to do.
I had an incredible dad to give me an example of how to treat your wife and kids. The coolest thing for me is when I wake up and I do my quiet time and I drive into the facility, I’m praying for us — our friends and family — and I realize, with marriage and kids, there’s that excitement.
When I look at my baby boy, Bo, and our baby girl, Harper, and I just hold them and pray over them, I just can’t wait to see what God has for their lives. A lot of people say, “Tress, you’re in the NFL, Bri was a two-sport athlete in college and played professional fastpitch softball, we can’t wait to see these professional athletes!” And that’s awesome, if they want to do sports, I’d love to play catch and wiffleball with my kids. But if they don’t, I can’t wait to see what God does in their lives!
My parents come to every single event I speak at if it’s in the Tulsa area. They may have heard my story a million times but no matter what I’m speaking about, they sit there with tears in their eyes, smiling from ear to ear. As a parent now myself, I can’t wait to see what God does in my own kids’ lives.
I also can’t wait to see what God’s going to do in Bri’s and my marriage. I’m excited to see what God’s going to do in and through us in the next 5-10 years! Like I said, when you do life with Jesus Christ, there’s just so much to be excited about and that’s how we live our lives. That’s how we want our family to be. Marrying Bri changed my life and having twins definitely changed our lives. We are just getting started!
At this point in my life, now going into my fifth season of the NFL, a father of twins, having just celebrated my four-year anniversary with my wife, I need God more than ever. That is what has been revealed to me this offseason. Now, I don’t want you to view this football life as a stress, or my marriage, or my life as a father of twins. But I know the man I need to be daily for Bri and the father I need to daily be for the twins.
I have a deep, driving desire each day where I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and read my Bible. I need God! The first prayer I pray before I start my quiet time is, “God, teach me to be the man, the husband, the father You want me to be,” in that order. If I can be the man God wants me to be, I can then be husband God wants me to be, and the father I need to be to my children. Yes, I’ve been walking with God now for 10 years but at 28 years old, I know I need God now more than I have ever have. And not only do I need Him more, I want Him more. I want my life to look the way He wants it to look.
That is my greatest desire, what I pray for, and ultimately, what I can’t wait to see unfold.
— Tress Way, Washington Redskins punter
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.