If you haven’t already stumbled across Lori Lowe, you should definitely check her out. She writes a marriage blog, Marriage Gems, and is now launching her first book, First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for your Marriage.
The book is out tomorrow – available at Amazon and in various e-reader formats – and each of its twelve chapters is the story of a couple that Lori interviewed, who faced major challenges in their marriage and were able to overcome them. Which is like what we do, only in written rather than visual form. The challenges faced by the couples include near fatal biking accidents, infidelity, drug addiction and much more.
Lori kindly agreed to a Q&A about the book, so without further ado:
In ‘First Kiss to Lasting Bliss’ you (like us) interview other married couples to try to understand the secrets of successful marriage. Why ask real couples rather than experts who study marriage and relationships for a living?
I think real couples who have lived through challenges are the experts. I’m not saying that marital therapists and psychologists don’t add real value—they do. But if you want to know how to do something, it’s very helpful to talk to someone who has done it well. I also think we feel more emotionally bonded with people who have struggled like we all do. Stories are powerful. We all have our story, and we all want a happy ending. I think readers want to connect with others who have found a happy ending.
You spoke with twelve couples, each of whom gave you an overarching lesson about marriage. Aside from each couple’s unique insights, were there any common threads that ran through all of the couples?
Some common threads are that they used the pressures of life to turn toward one another and crystallize their commitment. Some couples early on turned away from one another during painful times, but then realized they had to share feelings and communicate honestly with one another if they were to survive. Another common thread is that many couples had either a strong faith or a strong support network of family/friends to help them. Most importantly, all of them work at their relationships and continue to learn and grow. They don’t take their marriages for granted.
Marriage is a hot topic right now – on one hand we have the struggle for gay marriage, on the other we have throwaway celebrity marriages like Kim Kardashian. What is it about marriage that makes it
such an interesting talking point for people?
We all have a deep desire to love and to be loved. Many of us don’t have great role models for how to make that work. (I’m a child of divorce myself.) It’s sad that people enjoy watching others fail, and clearly not everyone takes marriage seriously. I guess it’s interesting because we want to be inside other people’s business, but I don’t enjoy that kind of gossip. The subjects in my book were very generous in inviting the reader to learn all their private mistakes—from affairs to abusing drugs to almost giving up on their spouse. However, they open up only to allow others to learn. Some of them did all the right things, but life didn’t go as planned and illness, violence and other factors caused an upheaval. We really don’t know what the future will hold for us, but I think it helps to consider how you might handle various scenarios.
What’s the biggest thing you learned from your interviews that you’ve successfully applied to your own marriage?
Probably to focus on gratitude and to put daily effort into my relationship.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your own marriage and how did the process of writing the book affect the way you approach that challenge?
My husband and I both have strong personalities: He’s a perfectionist and I’m sensitive, yet outspoken. In addition, we are human and not always positive rays of sunlight to be around. I have learned that holding even a minor grudge is harmful to my marriage. We work to communicate our feelings fairly, to apologize and to forgive—and then to move on. It helped me to see the effects of negativity and positivity on other marriages so that I could tweak my own.
When we interview couples we always ask for one thing that a successful marriage boils down to. Each couple has given a different answer. What’s your ‘one thing’?
My one piece of advice would be: “Love is a daily decision.” Of course, once you make that decision each day, effort has to be put behind it. Our priorities show in how our time is spent.
Thanks to Lori for answering our questions – check out the book on Facebook and pick up your copy tomorrow.