Agency client Cindy Beall is our guest interview on the blog today. Cindy is a writer, speaker and mentor to leaders. She has been married to her husband, Chris, since 1993, and they currently minister at Life.Church in Oklahoma. Cindy also serves on the Leading & Loving It team that ministers to pastors' wives and women in ministry around the world. Her first book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, chronicled the devastating infidelity and subsequent restoration of her marriage over 14 years ago.
Cindy, your second book, Rebuilding A Marriage Better Than New, released today. It’s been more than 14 years since your marriage suffered a devastating blow, which must feel like a lifetime ago, but you still have a heart and passion to minister to others in this area. Tell us a little about why you wanted to write Rebuilding a Marriage Better Than New.
For many years, I’ve received emails from couples who are on a healing journey in their marriage. After reading my first book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, they have found hope and healing because of our experience. But a few years into their journey, they are asking me for more guidance and insight about how to stay on the healing path that Chris and I are still on today. That is part of the reason I wrote this book. The other part is to address the condition of many marriages today – often loveless, living like roommates, kind of marriages. My hope is that writing this book will help couples who have not only walked through betrayal, but also those who have just neglected their marriage for way too long.
How is your new book different from your first book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust is Broken, and why would every married couple benefit from reading it?
I describe my first book as more of a trauma situation. A betrayal occurs in your marriage and you are thrown into immediate devastation. You need quick attention to your wounds to stop the bleeding. I believe that Healing Your Marriage When Trust is Broken does just that. It offers hope and help to those who have found themselves in an unlikely and unwanted circumstance. My second book, Rebuilding A Marriage Better Than New, is for a broader marriage audience. Yes, it will help those who have had to rebuild after betrayal, but it will also help all other married couples. Why? Because our marriages can always be improved. My hope is that every married couple, healthy or not–so-healthy, will read Rebuilding A Marriage Better Than New so that they can grow healthier with each year.
In the book you lay out a four-phase process: healing deeply, building wisely, living fully, and investing generously. Can you walk us briefly through what those four phases look like practically in a marriage?
When something devastating happens in our lives, our first thought is often that we want to get back to normal. To go back to the old life before the devastation occurred. Even if that means an unhealthy marriage. Because of that, we often try to skip through the first two phases and go straight to the third which is live fully. However, we must heal deeply and build wisely before we can even think about living fully.
To heal deeply in our lives, we must grieve the pain. This is not fun. Period. But it is necessary. People often try to sidestep their pain and go around it. No matter how hard we try to get around the pain, it will still be there. We must go through the pain and as we do, as we grieve the pain of the loss, we will simultaneously heal deeply. Healing deeply means that we feel the pain, live honestly and learn how to handle the reminders of our devastation. This phase of healing deeply will continue for years to come as God’s Spirit continues to comfort us.
Building wisely happens as we’ve found some deep healing in our lives. To be able to begin to build wisely doesn’t mean we are totally healed. It just means that we have begun to heal in order to start the next phase. Building wisely entails restoring trust when betrayal has occurred. It also means that we learn how to manage our expectations with our spouse as well as learn how to live victoriously instead of having a victim mentality.
Living fully is the part everyone wants to get to. During this phase, we learn and own who we are in Christ. This is so vital in dealing with shame. We also learn that to get what we’ve always wanted, a healthy, strong marriage, we must do things that aren’t always easy. And to finish off this phase, we must learn to connect with each other as a couple or “find our porch.”
The invest generously phase is often never reached by many couples. Scripture teaches us in 2 Corinthian 1:3-4 that we are to comfort others with the comfort we have received from God. This is our spiritual “pay it forward” obligation. When we minister from a place where great pain once resided, a new level of healing occurs in our lives. And by far, this is the most rewarding and redeeming phase to walk through.
You’ve been living out the principles shared in this book for quite a while and you and your husband are enjoying the benefits of a better than new marriage. What words of encouragement would you give to couples that might just be at the beginning of the process of rebuilding or repairing their marriage?
Stay the course. If you are on the verge of giving up and throwing in the towel, don’t. Commit to make some changes – both of you. Neither of you is perfect or without fault. It takes two to make a marriage work and two to make a marriage fail. Marriage is hard work even when you like each other. Keep pressing on, honoring the covenant you made with God. It is not always easy to be married and stay married but it is worth it. And it is possible by the power of our great God.