Micaiah Carter/GQ Russell Wilson and Ciara

Ciara and Russell Wilson Open Up About Love, Marriage, & Parenting in GQ

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Ciara and Russell Wilson share their love story in GQ.

The superstar couple, who got married in 2016, put their chemistry on display for the magazine’s “Modern Lovers” issue, photographed by Micaiah Carter, while opening up about the secrets to a happy marriage.

When they first met, they didn’t like to be apart for more than 10 days, but that quickly changed. “When we first met it was 14 days,” says Wilson, who met Ciara in 2015. “Then it was 10 days. And now it’s no more than seven or five. I don’t know, it may be really five days at this point.”

Ciara, who married Wilson following her relationship with Future, dreamed of one day starting the family she has now. “I feel like, if I could look back in a crystal ball when I was a little girl, and I looked at the idea of my family and what it would be for me, it’s exactly this,” she says.

While they may look like the perfect couple, Wilson admits that maintaining a relationship takes work. “People want to do it,” he says, “but it takes a lot of responsibility to do it. Winning is a habit, you know? And nothing happens by accident.”

They both play different roles. “Ciara, she’s an entertainer. She runs the show. She is the show,” says Wilson, while Ciara adds, “I really love letting him lead, as the man of the house.”

Communication is key to their marriage. “This idea of the discipline of communication. If I don’t communicate to my receiver, he doesn’t know what the play is,” says the Seattle Seahawks quarterback. “It’s like, ‘Uh, hey, what are we doing here?’ It’s probably more significant than that, even, but for us, for me and Ciara, communicating, it’s the same: ‘This week’s going to be a challenging week, babe, because I’ve got this responsibility. What about you? What do you have?’ And at the end of every week, we always go through a checklist of questions of, you know, ‘How’d I love you this week?'”

When Ciara was launching her own record label, Beauty Marks Entertainment, Wilson stayed up half the night with her, researching people who have owned labels. “I think Frank Sinatra was one of them,” says Wilson. “Some amazing lists of people, you know?”

The devoted dad also makes time for his three kids–Future, Sienna, and Win. “At least once a week, or every day sometimes…I’ll send an inspirational video just to the kids. For example: ‘Hey,’ you know, ‘Future, be a leader. Be who you are.’ And Sienna: ‘Don’t forget you’re a queen.’ ”

In the interview, Wilson opens up about being a stepdad to Future, whose biological father is the rapper Future. “When I got to meet Future, he was young,” Wilson says of Future, who was 9 months old at the time. “And the reality was that for me it was a blessing and an opportunity to really hopefully be there for him every day and try to care for him in a way that was important for me, that I always wanted someone to do for me. Like my dad did for me.”

He continues, “And so I think the greatest thing that I’ve ever learned in life is probably in that relationship with Future, because the reality of being a stepparent is that biologically they’re not necessarily yours, but the reality is that you have to love them as if they are. They’re your own blood in a way. You get to love them that way. And I think every kid deserves that and needs that and yearns for that.”

When asked if Future’s “public toxicity” took a toll on their relationship, he says, “I don’t think anybody made it hard. I think it was easy for us. I think it was about us. It wasn’t about anything else. It was about how we were going to love, and for me it was easy. It was easy to love. It’s easy to love C–every day I get to love her and take care of her and our kids is the greatest gift I have. So I cherish that every day.”

Adds Ciara, “From day one we’ve been living life for us. Russ–I mean, he did talk about, you know, how he feels and this passion from a father’s perspective, but what’s always been beautiful about Russ is just to see him from day one, excitingly jumping in and changing diapers.”

Nearly five years later, they continue to put love first. “Every day that I wake up, that’s always my priority. To show up and be there and to love,” says Wilson.