Last Sunday I was privileged to be the guest of the day for Aled Jones on his fabulous morning show. I was able to talk about my story of faith, discuss Sunday trading and issues around stress, rest and consumerism, encourage the nation to pray AND run through the 4 points of B.E.S.T.
What a great opportunity this was! BBC Radio 2 is by far the most listened to station in the nation, with 14.5 million listeners a week – and this slot is a peak listening time. We’ve had LOADS of people since then ordering the book direct through our church website http://www.ivymanchester.org which is probably the easiest and cheapest way.
If you missed the show it’s available till the end of the week on iplayer here -
Yesterday I received a text from Dave who goes to my church – he bought a copy to pass on to a colleague at work ‘who is getting married next year and was excited that there is a book like yours that can help in building relationships’
Later that day he forwarded her text:
‘Hi we have just opened the book and it’s brilliant! We are going to read a chapter each and discuss with each other what it contains!’ Thanks again C!’
Delighted to see so many copies of my new book going at the festivals I’ve been speaking at so far this summer. My friends at St Andrew’s bookshop who run the resources areas at New Wine LSE tell me they were down to their last box the other day and it has gone very well at New Wine North & East too – and it’s not even officially launched yet!
This Sunday is the official launch, where else but at my home church – Ivy Manchester. I’ll be offering a very special deal to the Ivy family to encourage them to not only buy the book but give it away too.
The Marriage service says ‘Marriage is a gift of God in creation.’ I believe that! it says ‘it enriches society and strengthens community.’ I believe that! The stronger our marriages, the stronger our society and community.
If you believe that too, please get in touch with me to arrange to buy the book, and if you can do anything to help spread the word and promote it and its message that would be wonderful.
Just finished speaking at the wedding of a WONDERFUL Ivy couple. Before I drive down to New Wine LSE (which starts a day late by the way because they’re giving the ground a rest at the Bath & West Showground) I just wanted to let you know the book is now available on Kindle, and paperbacks will be arriving next week so will be available at New Wine and from me direct.
If you love Kindle (like me) then why not get ahead of the crowd by reading – and please review it – by following this link.
YES! It’s uploaded and should be available for download TOMORROW! Have a read of some of the content from the intro FREE below… (remember it’s beautifully laid out with great photos etc too, this is just some of the words).
Please buy it tomorrow! The more people buy it tomorrow, the more likely others will buy it because it’ll get ‘noticed’ by Amazon – so they’ll promote it!
(Content below may NOT be copied without permission)
Nobody standing in front of friends and family for the biggest day of their life, expects that it would be anything less than the very BEST – or why sign up at all? So why is it that some marriages flourish whilst others fail?
I’m meeting regularly so many people who feel their marriage is ultimately both hugely disappointing and deeply unsatisfying. I don’t want that to be the case for them. Or you, for that matter. That’s why I wrote this little book. It’s an easy read with some hard-hitting advice learned at the sharp end of life variously as a husband, dad, pastor and police officer.
I’ve sat with and counseled people with relational difficulties since my late teens when I had to pretend to be older and wiser as a ‘copper’ in order to resolve a domestic crisis. I’ve prepared hundreds of couples for marriage and led their services when they have come together in marriage. I’ve sat with them again when it all seems to be coming apart. They often say they know something is missing, but they can’t quantify it. I’ve learned something from those many hard hours in tense rooms. For more than a decade now I’ve been teaching the four easy-to- recall principles in this book that help people take responsibility to invest in their relationship – giving them the BEST possible marriage.
I have taught these principles to hundreds of couples I have prepared for marriage before they walk down the aisle; used them as a basis for talks delivered at weddings and marriage blessings. I have delivered this teaching in seminar format and some have told me it has saved their marriages. Wow. Others have sadly said it came too late and they had already walked away. I don’t want that for you.
I hope and pray that you’ll find something amongst the four simple principles to apply to your situation – whether you’re considering marriage (or remarriage), you’re happily married, or struggling in your relationship right now. I’ll remind you of some ancient wisdom, brought bang up-to-date for the 21st Century as I aim to help you reclaim and recover the best for you and your husband or wife.
At times I’ll call on you to ‘check the balance’ as you read – and from there you can move from beans to the best, where you start living on what’s actually available to you.
BEANS OR BEST The Perfect Couple
And let’s just be clear. I am not writing this as a man who has always had an idyllic marriage. I don’t write this book from the position of never having had a row, a cry or a broken heart. Whenever I read soaring divorce statistics I always think, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”
You see, when I married Zoë everyone said, “They look like the perfect couple!” But we soon learned that we were far from it. There is no such thing as the perfect couple because there is no such thing as the perfect person! Two imperfect people joining forces can be tricky! Zoë and I have had some tough times. We have had rows, disappointments and even needed to go to marriage counselling to get us through. But we have had some amazing times too! We love each other deeply and are committed to our marriage.
Soon I’ll celebrate 25 years married to the same wonderful woman! We’re headed for silver – and going for gold! Lessons have been learned and many are still to be learned. But the bottom line is that I’ve told Zoë, “If you ever walk out on me, I’m coming with you!”
I think the reality of a wedding day is better captured by a video than posed photos. A marriage is also made up of moving images rather than snapshots of good or bad moments. Don’t give up on your marriage by only looking at the still photos of the past! Imagine instead that there are some new, exciting DVDs coming!
THE B.E.S.T. MARRIAGE
Marriage is a great institution – but I’m not ready for an institution! Mae West
Many people I speak with have become quite cynical about marriage and are choosing to stay single instead. Others are deciding to get divorced. A whole generation of young people have seen the marriages their parents have got, or had, and decided they don’t want one – ‘Thanks anyway.’ Strangely, the people I meet who are most cynical about marriage are the same ones who get most excited when their sons and daughters announce they are getting married! They don’t seem aware of the apparent contradiction.
What People Want
The fact is most of us still hope for enduring love. We want passionate love, erotic love and intimate love. We ache for friendship, encouragement, compassion – a place where we can love and be loved, know and be known, understand and be understood. Recently I watched a daytime TV programme where couples had been invited to talk about how living together was best for them. They talked about marriage as ‘just a piece of paper,’ until, in a surprise move, a boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend who, in floods of tears, said, “I thought you’d never ask!”
In every study about the quality of life in which people are asked what they value most, marriage comes first. Relational quality matters ahead of job satisfaction, financial wellbeing and even other close friendships.
This isn’t Barbara Cartland writing. I know marriage doesn’t always work. There is no magic formula for relational remedy if a couple has decided on going in totally opposite directions. But, as the world spins faster and faster, people are realising that they need each other more, not less. There’s a reason life insurance companies treat married people differently – on average you’ll live a lot longer if you’re married. (What do you mean, “It feels like it!”?)
In our often disconnected society, in our crowded, rushed cities, a great marriage can provide a place of refuge from the cut-throat, impersonal world we inhabit. Marriage can provide an oasis in the desert. Marriage can promote good memories from the past and connect us to a bright future. If we’re blessed with children in our marriage, rearing the next generation can help us find purpose, identity and a deep sense of satisfaction.
When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.
~ George Bernard Shaw, Getting Married
Houses That Fall
I often think that of all the stories one could tell at a wedding, perhaps the most well known but not normally applied in that context would be the tale of the Three Little Pigs! In the story, what really matters is what the pigs build the house from. The wolf comes to every house, doesn’t he?
In the same way, the ‘wolf’ comes to every marriage. And not only does he come, but he comes with his big, bad, ugly, destructive breath.
He’s experienced. He has blown down a LOT of houses.
He’s hungry. He knows if he blows the house down, he gets a bigger dinner.
He’s ruthless. He doesn’t care who’s inside.
He’s persistent. Dwellings of sticks and straw aren’t going to last. Not for long. He knows that.
So he huffs one way, then puffs the next. Different types of breath – the same intent. Then he watches and waits to see what will happen.
You know the story? When the first little pig built the house of straw the wolf came along and blew the house down instantly. You and I know some marriages like that – it’s all over… quicker than you can say ‘Britney in Vegas!’
The second little pig’s a tad wiser. He makes a stronger house out of twigs. But that house can’t withstand the ‘huff and puff’ either. We all know marriages like that too, don’t we? They last a couple of years but then things go very wrong.
The third little pig sits safe inside his solid house of bricks. The wolf huffs and puffs but the house stays standing. When the wolf comes down the chimney, he ends up defeated, with a burnt backside – because he finds a fire burning away inside! This little pig is prepared. His house is strong on the outside, but also keeps danger at bay on the inside too.
Houses That Last
I don’t know how much of the Bible you’ve read, but let me assure you it’s not all ethereal and flowery, but rather incredibly practical. Jesus once said this:
These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
Matthew 7:24-25 (Message Version)
What are you building your life and your marriage on? Where do you go for advice? So many supposed ‘relationship experts’ and agony aunts have a trail of devastation and broken relationships as the result of their supposed life wisdom. Do they practice what they preach? No. But Jesus did. He was a carpenter and knew how to build strong. He knew how to build with the BEST. Wise people build on solid foundations, according to a plan. They continually assess, repair and keep on rebuilding. And they make sure the fire keeps burning, too.
The wolf comes early on when a couple “leave their father and mother and become one flesh.” He comes as they have to redefine themselves no longer as individuals or children but as a married couple.
The wolf extends his claws at mid-life when they begin to look at each other and see muscles turn to middle-age spread. They see faults in each other: “The person I married didn’t have nose hair!” (At least, I don’t think she did!)
The wolf blows hard when the children come along, and when they fly the nest. As retirement approaches and a couple who have allowed the fire to die down wonder as their lives move into a different phase, “Now the kids have moved on, have we even got a life together?”
That’s why it’s so important to build strong walls. Strong walls that help build a safe place to express differences. Strong walls that can handle anger and deal with disappointment and conflict.
Well that’s it for now! Tomorrow I’m doing the wedding of a wonderful couple who actually used the book for their marriage prep and will be quoting from bits of it!
PLEASE keep an eye on my Twitter feed/ Facebook/ this blog – buy it tomorrow to help me spread the word.