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 had only been dating my girlfriend for three months when I decided to ask for her father’s permission to marry her. It didn’t go well — not at first. On a sunny Saturday morning, I sat across from her dad trying to make small talk as my omelet grew cold, but I couldn’t focus. My heart was racing and I just wanted to get it over with, so I went for it.
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.
If you’ve been reading my writing for any length of time, you know that my goal is to find God in the ordinary of life — especially married life. There’s just so much material He has to work with. I spent 18 months writing my observations in a book called Confessions of a Happily Married Man: Finding God in the Messiness of Marriage. It’s being released on December 17 and you can find it anywhere books are sold — but I need to ask a favor: Can you please go ahead and pre-order it from your favorite retailer?
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 grew up in the Deep South and in my family, there was an expectation that women should always be “ladylike.” That meant, in part, that a woman should never burp in front of others (seriously, I’ve never heard my mom do it). Another thing about the South is that the secret ingredient to 93 percent of entrees is grease, so if you’re someone who avoids fried foods, that requires building up a certain intestinal fortitude to digest the lard that permeates the Southern diet.
On the night of February 7, 2003, Coco and David Treppendahl got the news that no parent ever wants to hear: their 19-year-old daughter, Laura Treppendahl, had been killed by a drunk driver as she drove home from a Bible study. The driver, one of Laura’s fellow students at the University of Mississippi, had just driven away from a bar in an SUV with eight passengers inside. Within minutes of leaving, he sideswiped one car and then ran head-on into Laura, who died at the scene of the accident.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the floor with my kids playing with all kinds of toys, including blocks, baby dolls and board games. The kids love being there with me and I love being with them too. One person they can thank for that is my mom. Mom never had a prestigious job; she didn’t feed me organic foods; and she didn’t enroll me in a Spanish immersion school. We didn’t have a lot of money, so she didn’t give me lots of toys either. But here’s what she did give me: her time, her attention, herself. And in doing so, she gave me a…
One morning when my youngest daughter was 3, she got out of bed, met me at the stairs, and with quiet sincerity said, “Daddy, I have a husband.” “Oh really? What’s his name?” “Ramón,” she said, pronouncing the name “Wah-mone.”
The sky was dark outside of Petal Middle School because of a torrential rainstorm that was bearing down on our small town. All of the students were rushing to avoid the rain – all of them except me. I stopped by the gutter where water was gushing over the edges, put my head under the waterfall, drenched my hair, and then slicked it back. I thought it was hilarious. My teacher did not. When I walked into class, my teacher saw my soaking wet hair and loudly ordered me to get out of the room. I walked across the hallway…
When I was in my early 20s, I took an etiquette class back home in Mississippi. Although I remember very few of the rules, one has always stuck with me: As a general rule, you should let people embarrass themselves.