Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? by Michelle Stimpson

I've featured books by Michelle Stimpson before.  I've enjoyed her adult and YA fiction.  But this time Stimpson plunges into the nonfiction realm to explore a topic that will speak to many a wife, particularly Christian wives who may feel conflicted about their feelings based on their faith.  After the thrill of getting married wears off and the reality of being married sets in, women all over may second guess themselves and their mate.  In this nonfiction spin-off from her last novel, The Good Stuff, Stimpson offers encouragement and laughter for women wondering whether they indeed married the wrong guy.

I can certainly confess to wondering from time to time, and I'm also certain my husband would admit to the same, especially when we're at odds over something and in the heat of the moment, those harsh, inflated, uncontrollable emotions cause us to feel doomed.  But thank God, through 20 years, we've been able to withstand the emotion rollercoasters, to dig deep in prayer, to listen to wise counsel and to step back and ultimately appreciate each other and the marriage God blessed us with. As Stimpson so aptly points out "every marriage is a foreign land."  A more true statement has never been posited.  You have to learn the culture, language and nuances of your marriage, the rules and regulations, the penalties and consequences for your actions, before you can begin to feel welcome, much less at home.  In a breezy, conversational style, in a book you can read in under an hour (although you'll come back to reflect and consider the wise counsel therein), Stimpson will help you do this with laughter and love.

CreateSpace (May 23, 2011)
List Price: $6.99
Paperback: 84 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (May 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1461186528
ISBN-13: 978-1461186526

***Special thanks to Michelle Stimpson  for sending me a review copy.***


Michelle Stimpson is an author, a speaker, and an educator who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Jarvis Christian College in 1994.  She earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2002.  She has had the pleasure of teaching elementary, middle, and high school as well as training adults.

In addition to her work in the field of education, Michelle ministers through writing and public speaking.  Her works include the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, Divas of Damascus Road (National Bestseller), and Last Temptation.  She has published several short stories for high school students through her educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services, at www.wegottaread.com.

Michelle serves in the Discerning Hearts women's ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. She also ministers to women through her online newsletter:  www.womengrowinginchrist.com.

Michelle tours annually with the Anointed Authors on Tour.  She regularly speaks at special events and writing workshops sponsored churches, schools, book clubs and other great organizations.

Michelle lives near Dallas with her husband, their two teenage children, and one crazy dog.

Visit the author's website.


What wife hasn’t second-guessed herself after a heated discussion or yet another curious incident of the missing remote control? In addition to the title’s question, this book discusses those unspoken thoughts lurking in the back of even Christian women’s minds, such as:

* We’ve Grown Apart

* I’m Just Not That Into Sex

* I Miss the Thrill of Being Single

* I Love My Husband, but I’m Not In Love

* Watching My Parents Probably Messed Me Up

While these silent ponderings might seem harmless, they have the potential to create a negative undercurrent of resentment if not specifically addressed in prayer. Through this spinoff of her popular Christian fiction novel, The Good Stuff, Stimpson tackles tough questions about wifehood through this short, humorous book of wisdom for the not-so-in-love-with-my-husband days.


We Started Off Wrong

     I’m sure our wedding picture could appear on posters warning romantic kids about what not to do.  For starters, I was four months pregnant when we married. Stevie and I were in love, but I’d be lying if I said our unborn baby wasn’t a major factor in our decision to marry after our thirteen-month long-distance courtship.

     Stevie was twenty-three, I was twenty-one. He had a child from a previous relationship, and I was still secretly reeling from a past heartbreak. We both came from so-called “broken homes.” His parents divorced when he was in middle school, mine when I was only a child, though my mother re-married when I was four. She and my step-father later divorced. Neither Stevie nor I had any kind of model for a successful marriage.

     Stevie had said that he was raised in the church, but (as is turns out) we had two different working definitions of what it meant to be church-reared. He was a CME member (Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter), while I was the child of the church musician (attending services every Sunday, many weeknights, too). Nonetheless, we were equally yoked because we were both spiritual infants. Probably more like spiritual embryos.

     But we were in love. And Stevie had super-hot legs.

     The one good thing was our financial situation. I had just finished college and begun making decent money as a teacher, while Stevie worked at a plastic manufacturing company. We had very little debt. Stevie was good with money, and we both really liked seventy-nine cent burritos.

     As the “bad years” came upon our marriage, a slew of regrets constantly nagged me:

I wished I’d known him better before I’d gone and gotten myself pregnant.
I wished I hadn’t gotten myself pregnant in the first place.
We shouldn’t have married just because of the baby.
We were too young—I barely even knew myself.
We didn’t have time to settle into our marriage before the baby got here.
We should have had more than thirty minutes of pre-marital counseling.
I should have checked his church attendance record.

     I imagined myself writing any or all of these statements on papers requesting a divorce. Who could expect us to overcome those feats? Why didn’t anyone tell me how hard marriage could be?

     To make my personal pity-party even worse, I was the first of my college friends to get married. Watching them move ahead and do all the things I wanted to do but couldn’t, thanks to my brand-spankin’-new family, didn’t help at all.

     I didn’t want a divorce. I didn’t want to stay married. I just wished the whole thing had never happened.

* * * * *

     Granted, I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry under these circumstances. But if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change anything for Stevie and me because the truth is: every marriage is a foreign land. Over these years that my husband and I have been together, I’ve seen young and old, rich and poor, pregnant and non-pregnant, Christian and non-believer, childhood friends and internet-matched couples rise and fall. Sometimes the people who think they’ve got it all together don’t. Sometimes the ones who don’t have a clue figure it out together and overcome all their previous folly, by the grace of God.

     Whatever shoulda, woulda, couldas you have about marrying your husband when you did, let them go. Maybe you could have done better. You definitely could have done worse. You made a decision with the information you had at the time, and that’s all anyone can do.

     The beauty of a life surrendered to God is His willingness to intervene where His people fall short. If you recognize that your marriage began in a less-than-desirable state, talk to God about it. Admit your shortcomings and ask Him to make sense of your tangled mess. He has a way of un-raveling knots without breaking the string!

* * * * *

Father, I repent of my willful disobedience, and I thank You for Your watchful eye where I was simply ignorant. You have preserved me and this marriage for Your purposes, and I want the testimony of Your ability to deliver us beyond our faults. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Peace & Blessings,


1 comment:

Michelle Stimpson said...

Thanks for the review, Patricia!