One of the biggest problems in marriages occurs when each spouse tries to change or fix the other. This was certainly true early on in my marriage.
My husband Charlie is wise, full of common sense, self-confident, laid-back, and capable of doing whatever he sets his mind to do. His calm manner, optimistic outlook, and independent spirit are admirable qualities.
I, on the other hand, struggled most of my life with low self-esteem. I constantly doubted myself and my abilities while trying to measure up to the standards that others set. I grew up being a glass-half-empty girl.
Charlie and I are, in most ways, complete opposites. And while it might be true opposites attract, it’s also true they spend most of their time trying to make the other person into a mirror image of themselves. If this behavior continues throughout the life of a relationship, it can chip away, break down, and cause an otherwise stable marriage to disintegrate.
The key lies in recognizing and embracing the differences. Let me illustrate by having you try an exercise I observed many years ago. Hold your hands in front of you, palms facing, fingers pointed up. Imagine your fingers are your strengths and the spaces between them, your weaknesses. One hand represents the husband and the other, the wife. Place your fingertips together and push. This is what happens when each spouse tries to be the strong one and won’t allow the other person to use his or her strengths. Nothing is accomplished. Instead, the marriage partners find themselves continually butting heads.
Move your fingers enough to fill in the gaps, and clasp your hands. Now you have a strong and stable foundation. This is a good example of allowing the strengths of your spouse to fill in where you’re weak and vice versa. Instead of butting heads and trying to change each other, you can now work as a team, each spouse drawing strength from the other.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us two are better than one (NIV). The Message puts it this way:
It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. But if there's no one to help, tough!
The truth is we can’t fix or change anyone; only God can. But we can create and foster an environment where change can occur, no matter how long it takes. When we take a good, hard look at ourselves and deal with our own issues, our spouse will be more prone to deal with his or her issues. My former pastor once said, “There are no marriage problems, only people problems. Fix the people and you fix the marriage.”
Work on yourself and let God change your spouse.
Marriage—a good marriage—is a process, not an event. **
** Excerpt taken from Marriage: Make It or Break It by Andrea Merrell published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Used by permission.
Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.
She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It.
For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.
DRAWING FOR LARRY TIMM'S BOOK HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO:
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23. LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN.
Welcome, Larry, to my website. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Jesus-following husband, dad, preacher, and writer who is hopelessly addicted to bacon…and Dr. Pepper…and Hershey bars with almonds…and Pizza Buffets…umm, what was the question?
How and when did you begin to write?
I wrote for my first stories in grade school. Those hand-scrawled manuscripts have not survived until the present day, which is most likely God’s grace and mercy in action. It seems I’ve always been writing something, whether it be daily devotions, newspaper articles, short stories, ministry-related articles, poems, or snarky—and often regrettable—comments in other people’s yearbooks. But It really wasn’t until the last 7 or 8 years that I buckled down and started chasing my dream of writing novels.
How did you first become a published writer?
MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE is my debut suspense novel. I pitched the book to agents and editors at a few writers’ conferences, eventually got an agent, then signed a contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. It was a process that took a few years.
Can you give our readers a short description of MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE?
A tormented father makes a chilling vow to avenge the tragic death of is daughter, Emily. He swears he will get his hands on the three women he holds responsible for her death, and, when he does, he will bury them alive. The three women, who have worked together to speak up for the lives of the unborn, must now fight for their own lives.
What led you to write MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE?
I wanted to write a story that illustrated that Life is a gift from God that must be defended and honored from the moment of conception to its natural end. I wanted to show how fragile and sacred the gift of Life is, not just while in the womb, but through every day of our lives, and tell a story that would show the various forces that can endanger that fragile gift. Whether its abortion, sickness, disease, alcoholism or some other self-destructive behavior, or deadly actions, the sanctity of human life is under attack. The concept for the story popped into my mind and so I sat down and started writing.
What are you working on now?
I have a finished manuscript for another suspense novel that I’m on getting ready to read through and revise. I’ve also finished a few chapters of another story, and am excited to see how the story unfolds. The completed manuscript is called INFIDEL and is about the persecuted church, and the courage of those believers who convert from Islam to Christianity, both here in the States and over in Pakistan. The story that I’ve just started is about a couple of private investigators who are getting into a murder case that will be more complex than what they bargained for. On the non-fiction side of things, I’m developing a series of devotionals, some of which I’ve already “tested” here at the Morton Christian Church. The feedback has been very encouraging.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
I’m not sure I know enough to give a lot of advice. However, one thing that comes to my mind is this: be yourself. Don’t try to be a carbon copy of someone else. Certainly, it is wise to learn from others, but, at some point only you can write your stories. Oh, and here’s another bit of advice that is related: in the process of watching, listening, and learning from other writers and industry professionals, studying books on the craft and business of writing, and attending conferences, be sure to KEEP WRITING. Never stop writing. Write. Write. Write.
Do you have a Bible verse that is especially dear to you?
My experience has been that there are certain verses that become especially dear to me depending on where I am in my faith journey, but those verse change over time. Psalm 139: 13-16 were theme verses for me during the writing of MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE. Psalm 42 also became of great personal importance, both related to this book and to events in the life of my family. Over the last decade or so, one reference that has captured the essence of how I approach my ministry life (of which writing is just one part) is I Timothy 1: 12-17.
Where is your favorite writing space? If you could design the perfect place, what would it look like & where would it be located? What time of day are you most productive?
I do a lot of my writing on my Neo, so I can take it about anywhere. Parts of MURDER FOR EMILY’S SAKE were written in my recliner, sitting at a desk, at Starbucks, at a library, and other places. I think my perfect place would be on a beach somewhere…or in a cabin in the mountains…or in my RV (We have a pop-up camper now, but plan to upgrade eventually). So, I guess the perfect spot would be a beach with mountains where I could park my RV…or would it be a mountain with a beach where I could park my RV? I think I find mornings to be most productive.
How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
The best place to learn about my books (of which there is currently one) is to go to my website at www.booksbylarrywtimm.com. Readers or other curious folk can contact me through the site, as well as find links should they want to order the book.
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LARRY TIMM'S BOOK MURDER FOR EMILY'S SAKE.
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Learning that her name is Katelyn Eubanks is only the first surprise. Second, she had an identical twin sister who drowned at the age of nine. Since Katelyn can’t remember anything prior to that age, it seems more than mere coincidence. The biggest surprise is that her father, a man she never knew existed, left his entire estate to her, enraging other would-be heirs.
With her unremembered, but closest childhood friend, Levi, as well as help from the estate’s deaf-mute gardener, and the outspoken cook, Katelyn searches for answers to questions that have plagued her all her life, but doing so, opens the proverbial Pandora’s box. As her memories return, so does the terrible danger she escaped fifteen years earlier.
North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of western NC with her husband. Her “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. Sain’s fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover.
Her Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all her own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want her books.
She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit: www.LeannaSain.com
Twitter: Leanna Sain@Leannasbooks
Website and blog: http://leannasain.com
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