In A Couple After God's Own Heart Jim and Elizabeth George, seasoned writers and speakers unpack carefully selected couples from the Bible alongside their own experience of over 40 years of marriage.
We had the privilage of hearing from the authors themselves about the thought process behind the book and the ways in which their marriage has been shaped around the Gospel and glorifying God.
What inspired you to write A Couple After God's Own Heart?
There wasn't a lot of inspiration involved. We have written for every other member of the family, such as, A Woman After God's Own Heart, A Mom After God's Own Heart, A Man After God's Own Heart, A Young Woman After God's Own Heart, A Young Man After God's Own Heart, A Wife After God's Own Heart, and A Husband After God's Own Heart. So, we believed it was time to take what we have learned from our own marriage and what we have learned from these other books, and write to the couple.
What were the biggest challenges when writing the book? We wanted the book to have one voice rather than each of us trying to do the "he said" "she said" routine. It took some time to develop a style that included both of our thoughts written with a single voice.
How long did it take you both to finish writing it?
Normally we have about a year from when the publisher and we agree on an upcoming book. But in reality, we are also fitting other writing projects into that same year, along with media trips, book tours, and lots of radio interviews---and blogging. So, even though we had been talking and gathering materials and drafting the table of contents and possible chapter titles, when we finally cleared the calendar, we had about 4 months to write this book. We spent the last 6 weeks totally secluded, writing and editing about 20 hours daily until the book was finished.
How did you go about choosing the couples that you featured?
Since this is a book about couples, we determined that it would be about the principles and do's and don'ts from some of the couples in the Bible. God vividly shows us what we can learn from their lives and marriages. So, we had to eliminate those couples in the Bible who did not exemplify the "After God's Own Heart" mantle. Therefore, we passed over couples like Ahab and Jezebel, Ananias and Sapphira.
Having been married for many years what advice would you give for building a strong marriage?
Obviously, if Christ is the foundation of a marriage, a strong marriage can and will be built on that strong foundation. But aside from that, communications is a key to any marriage. If a couple can talk about anything, then there is nothing that can't be addressed and dealt with.
Do you find yourselves identifying with any of the couples that you talk about?
We identified with all the couples in many ways. Each couple presented issues centered around marriage and family that we could see were also issues we have had in the past or some we struggle with in the present. That's why reading about and studying the couples of the Bible is such an important project for every couple. However, Elizabeth especially identified with Sarah as she followed Abraham into unknown territories as Abraham followed God; and I sort of landed on Zacharias and Elizabeth who were both righteous and both seeking to walk in all of God's ways (Luke 1:6).
What do you think are the biggest problems facing the 21st Century couples?
Busyness the world over is a serious problem for couples. A relationship takes time not only to develop but to sustain. Before marriage, couples take great pains to insure they are together as much as possible. But it seems that with marriage comes the mistaken idea that simply living under the same roof will keep the relationship vibrant. But the truth is, two busy spouses can come and go and, at the end of the day, they have spent precious few minutes alone talking, keeping connected, and making important decisions together.
In the busyness of life what's your advice on making time for one another? [OMIT We see you already know what at least one big problem that faces marriage, and we we said earlier it's business. Now,] Knowing that busyness is a top problem is the first step to solving it. The key is in your question: You mentioned "making time" for each other, and that is the answer. A couple must see that unless they willfully set aside time for each other, and ideally daily, someone else will gladly take up that time. Elizabeth realized that having busy lives was a problem, so we carved out a time each week where we could be alone, even if it was out in public where we talked about our week and the issues we were facing as a couple and as a family. At this time in our marriage, we power walk early each morning and make a point of talking through the day, the week, and anything that needs our attention. We call our power walk our "Board Meeting." A couple who sees their ongoing relationship as vital will find time to nurture and strengthen that relationship.
At the end of the book you've created a devotional-What 3 pieces of advice would you give to married couples doing devotions together.
1. See devotions as a mutual undertaking. It doesn't have to be the husband leading or teaching and the wife following. It is simply a time for a husband and wife to share the information they are learning and seek to grow closer to God and to each other.
2. See devotions as a good springboard for talking, not only about spiritual things, but also about whatever needs to be discussed.
3. See devotions as a tool that God provides to assist in the spiritual growth process. It's not the only tool, but it can become a compliment to the Bible and the teaching the couple receives at church.
A good goal for every couple who desires to be a couple after God's own heart is to do whatever it takes to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:17).
September 4th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Anna Hockley