Q&A with Adam Hamilton, author of Love to Stay

August 1st, 2013

There are a number of relationship books in the market, what makes Love to Stay unique?

As a pastor, I draw from the wisdom of the Scriptures. But I also cite advice from experts in the field of relationships; wisdom gleamed from the real life experiences of hundreds of couples who have met with me to talk about their marriages over the years; and the often humorous experience of my wife LaVon and I during our thirty years of marriage.

However, what makes this book truly unique is the discoveries reaped from the Love, Sex, and Marriage online survey I developed to allow us to get a deeper look at what couples and singles think about relationships. The book reflects the collective viewpoints of 5,184 people single and married persons from across the country who shared what they appreciated, and what frustrated them, in the areas of love, sex, and marriage.

What would you say to someone who asks if marriage is work?

One of the most important things about love, marriage, and sexual intimacy is that it’s hard work. When we fall in love, it seems so easy. But maintaining love over decades—that’s another story. Most couples have seasons when they fall out of love. Most report that their sex life seems boring at times. Most think about calling it quits. Most fight fairly regularly. But those who don’t give up, who work on their marriage, who endure “until they are parted by death” find profound rewards. I wrote Love to Stay to help people find or rediscover a love that not only stays but deepens over the years.

Sex has been trivialized in our culture today. What kind of impact do you think that has on relationships?

Sex is meant to have real impact in our lives. If we trivialize it, if it becomes only about pleasure and release, as wonderful as those are it no longer functions the way sex was intended to function, as something that cements us together. We have defeated one of its most important purposes.

What did your survey find were the top three things that spouses fought about?

The top three things that men and women cited as things that they fight about were the same for both genders.

  1. Communication / failure to listen
  2. Money / finances
  3. Feeling unappreciated

Is there an area that sticks out to you in which you’ve frequently noticed Christians not understanding the Scriptures’ directive about marriage?

In Ephesians 4 Paul describes the Christian ideal for how we are to treat people. But in that same letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes that women are to submit to their husbands. Paul lived in a patriarchal society in which women were considered to be the property of their fathers or husbands. His epistle, therefore, actually elevated the status of women relative to the broader society, but the church sometimes has interpreted this passage to mean that the man is the boss, the overlord of the woman, and that he can do with her what he likes. We forget Paul has just said that evil words should not come out of our mouths. We forget he has said we are to submit mutually to each other, that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.

What do you see as being devastating threats in a marriage?

Adultery, addiction, and abuse—as devastating as these threats to marriage can be, it is possible to work through them and survive. I have heard those stories as well. God can heal. God can deliver. God will show grace and mercy.

We are human. We make mistakes. We do things we shouldn’t. But for those of us who are believers, the gospel brings good news. God offers second chances. God changes hearts and lives. God heals, mends, and resurrects broken things.

What is the most important thing you hope to convey within Love to Stay?

Nothing is more important than this: In order to love selflessly, to be able to clothe yourself in those virtues Paul describes, to be the husband or wife you need to be, you must have God’s help.

Having a relationship with God before you have a relationship with your mate gives you the capacity to love.

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