I'm back at it... I would love for you to meet my friend, Dorothy. Dorothy and I are both Redbuds, and as I have gotten to know her, I am continually blessed by her honesty and commitment to follow God. Her new book, Making Marriage Beautiful, is a wonderful story of marriage filled with practical tools that will help in whatever stage of marriage you may find yourself. Also, if you comment on this post below you will be entered into a drawing to receive her new book for free! Below is a Q&A with Dorothy.
Why did you write this book?
Everyone who says “I do!” wants a great marriage but none of us really know how to make that happen. There’s no such thing as too much support or encouragement when you’re married. Creating and sustaining a great marriage requires time, intentionality, and sacrifice. Based on our experience, we all need a little help.
To clarify: I did not write this book because we have a perfect marriage or because I am a marriage expert. I wrote the book because my husband and I needed it. Due to some circumstances beyond our control, life got very difficult four years ago. As we struggled to love each other, I became clear to me that if we didn’t start making some different choices, or marriage would be in danger. Two things that differentiate a joyful, dynamic marriage from a frustrating, unhappy one are our willingness to admit we’re struggling and our desire to change.
Did your husband feel exposed? You write some mighty vulnerable things about your marriage and about him.
One of the interesting and challenging things about writing a marriage book is that your spouse comes along for the ride. He read and OK’d everything before the publisher saw it. It was very important to me that he signed off on every aspect of the book. I did not want him to feel like I was exposing him or being in any way unfair. There were only a few sections where we disagreed on whether or not to include something. (If he did not want it included, I cut it.) This book does not malign him, poke fun of him, or in any way disrespect him. As he read through the first draft, he laughed in all the places I knew he would because he’s secure and knows I love and respect him.
How is your book different from other marriage books out there?
Making Marriage Beautiful is distinct. First, it’s written by a woman to both men and women. Adding Christopher’s words and the eight other husbands ensures that men are well represented. Second, the book contains very vulnerable, real-life stories that allow readers to find themselves on the pages on my book. We chose to go for it because we wanted other couples to not feel so alone in their struggles. I think readers will easily engage and trust me because I’m choosing to trust them. Third, there are bursts of humor throughout, which is unexpected—but never inappropriate. Finally, I acknowledge that marriage and transformation are a process that cannot be “achieved” over the course of 30 days. I wanted to help men and women navigate that process well. For the long haul.
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
Making sure I had the integrity to write the book! Every fight that Christopher and I had while I was working on this caused a tsunami of doubt to wash over me. It’s one thing to write about having a good marriage and another to actually have one. I wanted to make sure, along every step of the way, that I was doing what I was writing.
Why keep working on marriage when it’s so hard?
Indeed, marriage is hard work. It’s the most difficult and the most rewarding endeavor that I have ever embarked upon. When things get hard, and especially if they stay hard, most of us find it easier to give up, resign ourselves to a mediocre marriage, or in some cases, to sever all ties and hit the restart button. Any of these choices are understandable (and in the case of abuse, it may be advisable to separate or divorce). However, choosing to stay and work gives God an opportunity to change us. To help us mature. As this happens, we learn how to love more fully. When we learn how to love others, perhaps especially when they are difficult, it allows us to become more like Christ. This is a beautiful and profound thing.
How has marriage changed you, personally?
Thankfully, I am not the same person who walked down the aisle on May 11, 1991. I was afraid, insecure, angry, not willing to fully trust anyone, and defensive. As my husband will attest, many of these things have changed. Though we still both battle fear, we make risky choices all the time. I’m far more secure in my identity as a child of God and as a powerful woman than ever before. This election cycle not-withstanding, I’m far less angry and when I do get mad, I can talk about it in real time. As a result of all these changes, I’m able to love more selflessly.
Your book focuses on our willingness to change. Can you describe what you mean by that? What is a commitment to change?
Making a commitment to follow Jesus and making a commitment to marry someone are perhaps two of the life choices that will most deeply impact or change us.
We can go kicking and screaming or we can choose to be malleable and perhaps even intentional about how we change so that we become more and more like Jesus and ultimately learn how to love better.
Christopher and I have found that it’s much more fruitful if we change intentionally and choose to remain malleable before God and before each other.
That way we’re not reacting to or not surprised by the requires changes, we’re looking forward to and embracing them.
As an example, Rather than resenting Christopher because he’s forcing me to be more patient and forbearing, I can go to God asking Him to resource me and expecting Him to help me to make the necessary changes.
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DON'T FORGET TO COMMENT TO BE ENTERED INTO A DRAWING TO WIN HER BOOK!