How to Make Marriage Beautiful

I have been deeply thankful for the gift of marriage in my own life–and also deeply challenged by it, as well. If you’ve walked with me for very long, you know that I have a lot to say (and write!) about marriage. This is why I am so thankful to have the privilege of interviewing a fellow author, Dorothy Greco, in this space! I was able to get an advance copy of her recent book release, Making Marriage Beautiful, and it is a thoughtful, balanced, helpful book about the ins and outs of marriage–and how to navigate the ups and downs from a healthy, Biblical, hopeful perspective. I definitely recommend it!

I’m grateful to welcome Dorothy to my blog!

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Ann: Dorothy, why did you write this book?

Dorothy: Everyone who says “I do!” wants a great marriage. I truly believe that this book will help husbands and wives achieve that goal. There’s no such thing as too much support or encouragement when you’re married. We all know, creating and sustaining a great marriage requires time, intentionality, and sacrifice. After doing more than twenty years of pastoral care and being married for twenty-five years, it was obvious to me that married couples are hungry for help, hope, and wisdom. I addressed these needs as I wrote Making Marriage Beautiful.

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 started thinking about what differentiates a joyful, dynamic marriage from a frustrating, unhappy one. Ideas started flowing and I broached the topic with Christopher. It would have been awesome to write the book together but he works two jobs and is finishing his graduate degree so that was not going to happen. Instead, I brought his voice in for most chapters.

Ann: So, how is your book different from other marriage books out there?

Dorothy: I’m so glad you asked this question! Making Marriage Beautiful is truly unlike many other marriage books. First, it’s written by a woman to both men and women. This is almost unheard of. Adding Christopher’s words and the eight other husbands ensures that men are well represented. Second, the book contains very vulnerable, real-life stories. Most authors who write about marriage tend not to be as honest as Christopher and I chose to be. I think readers will easily engage and trust me because I’m choosing to trust them. Finally, I refuse to depend upon cliches or formulas. There’s no chapter titled, Ten Steps to a Perfect Marriage! Marriage and transformation is a process and my goal in writing this book is to help men and women navigate that process well. For the long haul.

Ann: What hopes do you have for the book?

Dorothy: I believe that the healthy marriages are important for so many other aspects of life: raising children, stabilizing communities, helping us to mature, etc. Though the divorce rates continues to drop (contrary to cultural narratives that tend to decry the ever-rising divorce rate), many of us struggle to deeply, consistently enjoy our marriages. It might be hubris, or it might be faith, but I hope that this books helps couples all over the globe who are hungry for guidance, encouragement, and hope.

Ann: One last question, Dorothy. Why, in your opinion, should couples keep working on marriage when it’s so hard at times?

Dorothy: 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 and truly, and this is a beautiful and profound thing. When we learn how to love others, perhaps especially when they are difficult, it allows us to become more like Christ.

Please do yourself–and your marriage–a favor and pick up a copy of Making Marriage Beautiful, available now everywhere!

17 Ways You Can Pray for Your Husband

17 Ways to Pray for Your Husband in 2017 at www.annswindell.comI had the honor of getting to write for Way-FM recently about one of the topics I love the most: marriage! The start of the article is below; you can read it in its entirety here!

As wives, perhaps one of the most important things we have the opportunity to do in 2017 is to pray for our husband. No one knows him as closely as you do, and this offers a unique chance to come before the Lord and ask him to guide and protect your husband in a powerful way.

Still, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start or how to focus our prayers, and so, below, you’ll find 17 ways to pray for your husband this year. You can pray through the whole list at once, or pray for specific aspects on different days of the week or month. Even if your husband does not yet know the Lord, you can pray these prayers for him, trusting that the Lord hears you and he loves your husband even more than you do.

1. Pray for your husband’s relationship with Christ.

No other relationship in your husband’s life is as important as his relationship with God—not even his relationship with you! The good news is that as your husband grows in closeness with the Lord, his love for Christ will start to spill over into every other relationship in his life, including his marriage. So, pray that your husband will be motivated and excited to spend time with the Lord, praying and reading the Bible.

2. Pray that the Lord will give your husband godly friends.

We become like the people we spend time with, and so your husband’s friends have a huge influence on his life. Ask God to give your husband close friends who are also pursuing Christ, and that they would “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

3. Pray for favor on your husband’s life.

Your husband has already received favor in having you as his wife, for “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22)! Now, pray that God will increase your husband’s favor with bosses, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances!

4. Pray that your husband will thrive in his job.

Few things matter more to a man than knowing he is making significant contributions in his work. Pray that God will give your husband joy in his work and breakthrough in any difficult situations at his place of employment.

Read the rest of the article here, at WAY-FM!

Looking for more marriage encouragement? 
Read 10 Ways to Grow Spiritually with your Spouse!
Read Cultivating a Joy-Filled Relationship with your Spouse.

 
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The 2016 Writer’s Gift Guide

Writer business cards in the Writers Gift Guide 2016 at www.annswindell.com

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I'm starting to see "gift guides" pop up online, and I wanted to join in the fun! I offered a Writer's Gift Guide in 2015, and it was really well received--I think almost all of us know people in our lives … [Continue reading]

Goal Setting for the Non-Goal Setter

PowerSheets by Lara Casey

I'm married to a man who LOVES to set goals--he has entire systems for goal-setting that help him live intentionally and thoughtfully throughout each year, month, and day. I deeply appreciate this about Michael; it makes him focused and purposeful in … [Continue reading]

Easy Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

Easy Ways to Encourage your Pastor! www.annswindell.com

This is the start of my most recent article for the Deeply Rooted Magazine blog. You can read the entire article here! I love church. I really do. I love the Church with a capital C—the church universal that Jesus died and rose for, filled with … [Continue reading]

Come and Write Your Story

Come and Write Your Story at www.annswindell.com

This is the start of my newest article for The Gospel Coalition. You can read the article in its entirety here! I’m not gifted at comprehending my own spiritual growth while still in the midst of it. I don’t typically live through trials and … [Continue reading]