Ten years ago today, my first child — only six days old — was sleeping soundly, as was my wife. I was exhausted too, but in the stupor of exhaustion, I decided to start a blog. My baby girl inspired my first blog post: “Six days into fatherhood, my baby teaches me a lesson about marriage.” And in the days, months, and years that followed, I continued sharing stories about discovering God in everyday life. Now, after 575 blog posts, essays, and/or online articles (plus a book!), I’m still writing.
It was a couple of days before Christmas and my wife wanted to go to the mall to do some extra Christmas shopping. I hate shopping — I’ve hated it ever since I was a kid. But that day, there was one store I wanted to go to more than any other.
Most people haven’t had the opportunity to work with the book publishing industry and they don’t know how it works. I’m going to let you in on a secret: There’s a really, really important rule that all first-time authors have to live by (if they want to write another book).
Last week marked the release of Confessions of a Happily Married Man: Finding God in the Messiness of Marriage. The first thing people say to me is, “Congratulations!” Then this question often follows: “How’s it selling?” My answer to that is, “I don’t really know and I don’t want to.”
I want you to imagine something: You know this local guy who makes high-quality coffee and sells it at a farmer’s market on the weekends. You love his coffee. Then the guy makes a huge gamble and starts his own coffee shop — right across the street from your house. You’d support that guy because you want him to keep making good coffee. I’m that guy except, instead of running a coffee shop, I’ve written a book called Confessions of a Happily Married Man: Finding God in the Messiness of Marriage.
You want to know what makes a lot of authors feel insecure and uneasy about their work? It’s selling it. You spend all of this time and energy pouring your heart into writing something that makes a positive difference in the world — then you have to take your work and try to sell it to friends and strangers like it’s a box of Girl Scout cookies.
One day, my wife and I were listening to a playlist of Disney songs with our two little girls when the sentimental love song “I See The Light” from Tangled came on. I walked over to my wife who was in the kitchen, took her in my arms and started dancing with her slowly. I could tell it caught her off-guard and embarrassed her a little — it came out of nowhere. Thank goodness she stayed in my arms and danced with me anyway.
In all of my years of writing about relationships, there’s no story that has resonated with readers like the infamous baby monitor story. Here’s what happened: Early in our marriage, my wife, Raquel, and I got into a disagreement while visiting a family member’s home. We went to the guest room to hash it out privately but we had no idea how badly we were about to embarrass ourselves.
It was 9:20 a.m. on a Monday morning and I was about to appear on Fox and Friends for an interview with Steve Doocey. The interview happened after FoxNews.com published an op-ed of mine called “What happened when my daughter saw me kiss my wife” and it went viral. Two days later, I was sitting in front of a camera listening to Steve prep me for the interview. When the conversation began, Steve and I talked about the op-ed; but eventually, I shared how my wife, Raquel, and I had struggled for control during our marriage. I talked about the…
Today, I was in the car with my wife, Raquel, and the kids when she pulled out a package that had just arrived. “Go ahead and open it,” I said, knowing what it was. Raquel tore off the top of the envelope and pulled out the hardbound copy of Confessions of a Happily Married Man: Finding God in the Messiness of Marriage, the book I’ve been working on for over a year and a half. We came to a stoplight and Raquel handed it to me. I took a deep breath and opened the book, flipping the pages and watching the words…
I have never heard God’s audible voice before, but last year, He came pretty close. On Valentine’s Day 2018, my cousin was visiting from out of town, and after a family Valentine’s dinner, he made a random suggestion: “Have you ever thought about taking your articles about marriage and making a book out of them?” The idea seemed so far-fetched. My dad had just died, I was constantly drained from working overtime and I was depressed. But my cousin insisted so we kicked around some ideas for what a book on marriage might look like.
I was lying flat on my back in the snow on the side of a Colorado mountain feeling thoroughly disoriented. I had overestimated my ability to ski down a more challenging blue slope after learning how to ski the day before. Everything went downhill from there (literally) when I unexpectedly came around a bend and plummeted down a steep slope. The next thing I knew, I was sprawled out in the snow and my skis were scattered several feet away.
When it comes to my favorite Christian quotes, most of mine are from C.S. Lewis. No other writer has had a greater impact on my imagination and view of God’s greatness.
“What is wrong with you?” my wife asked. I was cranky, snippy, and easily annoyed – by her, by my daughters, by the universe. I knew why, but I didn’t want to talk about it.
It was our second year of marriage and my wife wanted me to cook — or else — and she wanted me to do it with a good attitude. That’s asking a lot. I don’t like cooking as it is, and I sure don’t like cooking when I feel like I’m being forced to do it. Raquel was pretty sick though, so I felt obligated to do it, rather than check out like I normally did when she was ill. That’s how I ended up standing over a pot of boiling water lowering raw chicken into it with a bad…