“Are you having an affair” he asked.
That question is the beginning of a road that Darlene Schacht never dreamed she would travel. When she nodded her head to tell him she was, his response floored me.
Loving his wife with the love of Christ for his church, he reached out in grace. Thus began Darlene and her husband’s journey through the darkest of times to find the beautiful marriage that God intended waiting for them.
Although we have not had to deal with an affair, my husband and I have also had our share of messes. We have been through adoption, depression, raising children with special needs, family strife, moving, addictions, and more. It is during those times that a marriage is tested. It is what we do with the mess that determines the future of our marriage.
In her book, Messy Beautiful Love, launching Tuesday, September 16, Darlene shares with incredible authenticity the story of how she and her husband have navigated difficult times in their marriage. She challenges us, with a strong biblical basis, to tune out the voices of the world that seem intent to destroy marriages and instead, obediently follow the will of God who wants to bless our marriages – even those that seem unsalvageable.
Recently, Darlene answered interview questions for us about the new book. After reading her answers, I know you will want to dive into this book.
* Why did you write Messy Beautiful Love and what do you hope it accomplishes?
I wrote it to encourage women in their marriages, and to remind them that they’re not alone on this journey. We all struggle in this life, and if we haven’t yet it’s inevitable that we will. That’s why it’s imperative that we equip ourselves by studying the gospel and keeping our marriage in prayer. Love is a beautiful thing, but the reality is that life is messy at times. When we live out our roles in marriage as God ordained them to be we discover joy and peace unlike anything else.
* How is Messy Beautiful Love different from other books on marriage and relationships?
Because I’ve been through a lot in my own marriage, I understand the importance of grace and forgiveness. I offer hope to women where hope would be otherwise lost. Can a broken marriage be repaired? Can a stale relationship be revived? Messy Beautiful Love answers those questions with a resounding “Yes!”
* Why is this book important and relevant in today’s culture?
What we’re seeing too often is a society that’s tossing marriage aside. This world is cynical when it comes to marriage, believing most won’t last. And those that do last? Well, surely one spouse or the other must be a miserable soul. That’s what we tend to see when we look at the standard this world has to offer.
God’s standard, on the other hand, is rich. He offers abundant life to those who are exercised by faith. We serve a God who’s the same yesterday, today and forever. The beauty of the marriage covenant hasn’t changed over time—our view of it has. Those who give up too soon are missing out on the blessings that come with staying the course.
* What do you believe is the largest contributor to today’s increasing divorce rates?
People often say that they’re unhappy because they’ve grown apart. I believe that couples will grow apart if they do not love each other daily and deliberately. True love doesn’t happen by accident. It’s deliberate, it’s intentional, it’s purposeful, and in the end it’s always worth it. Some days love is messy and all we want to do is give up, but those who work through love together reap the benefits of beautiful long-lasting love.
* Why do you think it’s important for women and men to “remove the idea of divorce” from their minds?
First and foremost, we’re told in Malachi 2:16 that God hates divorce. It’s no surprise when we see the ripple effect that this division can bring. Families are deeply affected by the choices we make.
In some cases it’s necessary (and biblically acceptable) for a woman to leave her husband, but in many cases it’s not. It’s a choice to take the easiest road and the one most travelled.
The difficult road is paved with forgiveness and grace. It’s exercising patience with a difficult husband. It’s being kind to the unkind. It’s walking in humility for the good of your marriage.
A self-centered life offers a temporal high, but those who walk in humility discover a sense of joy and peace unlike anything else.
* What is the main piece of advice you would give women in today’s world, who want to approach their marriage differently?
Women in today’s world are exposed to temptation on a constant basis. The Internet is a way of life for most people.
Our ancestors never experienced anything remotely close to what we are living with today. The outside world—along with its opinions, temptations, and distractions—has made its way into our homes.
I can’t tell you the number of times that women have confided in me about the struggles they’re facing online. It can mess with your mind when a seemingly perfect man (and I do mean seemingly) is paying attention to you, or waiting to chat.
We need to be on guard more than ever before, protecting our thoughts, our children, our faith, and our marriages.
* Who do you think will benefit most from Messy Beautiful Love, and why?
Women who are seeking more for their marriage will benefit most from my book. More than a story or simply feel-good information, Messy Beautiful Love challenges women to grow in love by putting Christ at the center of marriage.
I’m a cracked vessel held together by grace, whose deepest desire is to encourage you in your marriage. I don’t have it all figured out, and I doubt that I ever will, but I’m learning to lean on the One who does. I’m learning that when I follow His wisdom in lieu of my own, I’m walking in peace, and that peace floods into my marriage.
* Your book is called, Messy Beautiful Love. Can you tell us why you chose that name?
We all have expectations when we’re stepping into marriage. And if you’re like most women, those expectations are high, but the reality is that life gets messy. Whether it’s financial problems, sickness, aging parents, or an unhappy spouse, sooner or later we’ll have a mess to clean up.
But when we surrender our relationship to God in obedience to His will, we experience the blessings of marriage as He intended. That’s a beautiful thing.
Messy Beautiful Love is available here. However, Darlene has been generous enough to give us a copy to give away to one of our readers. See the rafflecopter entry form below to enter. We will announce the winner on this Friday’s blog post.
We are excited to see marriages be dramatically changed in exciting ways because of the incredible message of this book!
* We were provided with a free digital copy of the book for review purposes. However, our opinions are entirely our own.