Tim Tebow Opens Up About Married Life: 'I've Had So Many Opportunities to Learn and to Grow'

The former athlete, who tied the knot in 2020, opens up to PEOPLE about being a newlywed during the pandemic

tim Tebow and wife
Tim and Demi-Leigh Tebow. Photo: tim Tebow/ instagram

Just over two years ago, Tim Tebow tied the knot with Demi-Leigh Tebow — and the couple is still enjoying every moment of getting to know each other.

Tim, 34, writes about the beginnings of their relationship in his new book, Mission Possible: Go Create a Life that Counts, out now. The book, which is intended to help readers create a more fulfilling life, details the couple's 2019 engagement.

Now, sitting on the back patio of his home outside Jacksonville, Florida, Tim opens up to PEOPLE about the couple's life together post-nuptials — and how the pandemic affected the first two years of their marriage.

"Dating Demi was great," Tim tells PEOPLE. "Engagement was better. And being married is even better than that."

"There have been so many opportunities to learn and grow, which has been so cool," Tim continues. "There have been so many things we've gotten to do together. We've gotten to find the things we have in common, but also to find where we're different. We've served together, which is the most fulfilling thing. A lot of that has been through my foundation."

Of course, as it did for most couples, Tim notes, "The pandemic changed a lot."

"We couldn't travel as much. I had to stop, sit and look internally," he explains. "That was good for me. I learned a lot of patience, which is something I struggle with a lot in my life. I think being more patient with Demi has been good. We have three puppies, so we're forced to be patient. Potty training and everything else. It's been a lot."

Tim Tebow and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
Tim Tebow and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. Tim Tebow and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

So what has Tim learned about Demi-Leigh?

"It can be a challenge because you're learning about someone so deeply who is so different than you," he says. "I'm the baby of five, and I've always been in a big family and around people all the time. I'm always 'go, go, go.' But Demi had just one sister who was nonverbal and has passed away. So she's not as busy."

While Tim says he doesn't need downtime, Demi-Leigh, 26, likes to have those moments to relax. Compromising on those behaviors, Tim says, has helped him remember to reflect, like, " ' 'Gosh, I was just being not so sensitive, not understanding.' "

demi Leigh Tebow and tim Tebow
demi Leigh Tebow / Instagram

But the former NFL quarterback says that there's a solution to every problem that arises — and they've learned to compromise on areas they differ.

"We fight over the thermostat," Tim laughs. "I want it drastically colder. I have a ChiliSleep on my side of the bed. It's an invention that has all these wires that go through it, and it makes my side of the bed 59 degrees. And she has like 42 pillows and blankets. I can't sleep with heat."

"Also, I'm not a good cook," he admits. "But that's actually something that is important in Afrikaans culture. It's called braai, and it's like barbecuing. All her family can braai and it's so good. And they give me such a hard time about it — it's almost like I'm not really a real man because I can't braai. So I've learned a little bit about how to cook — but it's mostly to surprise her with breakfast in bed."

As for the future, Tim says that he hopes he and Demi-Leigh will be able to find more opportunities for charitable work and ministry.

"It's great to have someone by my side and we can be making an impact together. It's sort of like I say in the book: that we have to make the right choices to fulfill our responsibilities and really make a difference in the world."

Mission Possible: Go Create a Life that Counts is available for purchase now.

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