Q&A with Marriage Counselor and Author Stephen Goode

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QA Stephen GoodeAmbassador International is excited to announce the launch of Marriage Triage: A Guide to Healing for the Hurting Spouse, available June 30, 2012 in stores and online at major retailers. Marriage is the norm for Christians with 84% tying the knot according to The Barna Group. But sadly, divorce rates among born again Christians are virtually indistinguishable from non-believers with about 1 in 3 going through a split. While most marriage books are designed to help marriages improve, Marriage Triage: A Guide to Healing for the Hurting Spouse is geared towards spiritual survival for couples in crisis. A former police officer, Stephen Goode tells us what prompted him to write Marriage Triage and why he believes it can save marriages.

Marriage Triage coverWhat led you to write Marriage Triage?

Stephen Goode: I don’t know that I ever really wanted to write a book on marriage. That may seem like a non-sensical way to begin an interview on a marriage book, but you have to realize that after 11 years of police work and being neck-deep in the middle of marital conflict that I was done! I wanted to put that piece of my life in the ground and bury it, but God has a way of making us miserable until we do what he says. I had written blog articles for a number of years and it seemed that the common theme in all the articles always went back to marriage relationships, and I would always interweave old police stories in as illustrations. I received such a positive response that I began to see an opportunity to publish on a bigger platform.

What separates Marriage Triage from other marriage titles?

Stephen Goode: Most marriage books try and give spouses tools to make their marriages better, but there is a window in marriage where it isn’t relevant. They don’t need cute ideas, but survival skills! Marriage Triage is different because it addresses the needs of the hurting, disillusioned spouse in the midst of their crisis with biblical principles, and application. It is a book that helps a spouse stop the bleeding, figuratively speaking, so that healing can begin.

Fighting CoupleWhat did you learn from your time as a police officer that helped you in writing this book?

Stephen Goode: I learned how to dodge frying pans, and not turn my back to an angry and emotional wife. (kidding) Being a police officer I was able to witness firsthand, the emotional devastation and violence that can occur in any marriage that never closes up the wounds of day to day issues. I witnessed everything from simple assaults and threats, to spouses who killed their mates for little more than a quick insurance policy. It was evil in its rawest form. It removed the scales from my eyes of what can occur in a marriage when God’s presence is not acknowledged.

On the other hand police work gave me skills to know how to calm, and diffuse chaotic circumstances between a husband and wife. I also was able to note all the ways couples reached these bad places so that I could begin to reverse-engineer the way to prevent couples from reaching such bad places in their relationship. I was able to take much of this and transform it into a written form, which I hope the readers pick up on as they read the book.

One of your goals is to help spouses avoid the temptation to act irresponsibly and un-Biblically in tough circumstances. Why is that so difficult?

Stephen Goode: Because the Bible clearly says that we battle more than anything against our thoughts and actions. The Apostle Paul even expounded on the fact that many times he did the things he wasn’t supposed to do, and didn’t do the things he knew to do. For a spouse in the middle of a marriage crisis the hardest human action to avoid is making emotional and irrational choices. Hurting and betrayed spouses want to hurt and blame! The problem with this is that the Bible doesn’t condone these types of reactions even though they may be perfectly justified in the eyes of the world. We always want to park on “an eye for an eye” when Jesus gave us an entirely different way to respond. I try and give both husband and wife practical ways to respond to one another.

wedding ring loveIs there a point of no return for marriages?

Stephen Goode: In Marriage Triage the goal is to teach a spouse that no matter what they have done, or whatever has been done to them, that there is a biblical response.

Why do you think divorce rates among Christians and non-Christians are virtually identical?

Stephen Goode: Primarily because spouses tend to use happiness as their measure in the marriage. A friend of mine, Gary Thomas, addresses this in many of his books when he writes “What if marriage wasn’t about our happiness but our holiness.” Spouses don’t want to hear this, but many will leave the relationship the moment pain and disappointment surfaces. This means that they are never refined through the process, but just carry additional baggage into a second marriage. Marriage Triage is the book that helps a spouse endure through the crisis, hopefully to the point they will stay, and endure the pain while learning and growing through the process.

Your book includes a “Quick Start Guide.” What is this and how will it help marriages?

Stephen Goode: The “Quick Start Guide” was added for the spouse who needs quick direction on what they should and should not be doing. When a spouse is hurting and in emotional pain it’s hard to think clearly. I wanted to provide a way for them to get some quick help before starting the journey into chapter one.

One thing to also note is that Marriage Triage was not written to be an exhaustive manual because those reading are not in the frame of mind to read epic novels.

Marriage Triage coverYour Podcast, The Biblical Counseling Moment, was downloaded more than 100,000 times last year. Can you tell us what people can expect to hear if they tune into your Podcast?

Stephen Goode: Dry humor, laughs, and encouragement on the topics of marriage, family, parenting, and responding biblically in emotional circumstances. Our podcasts have received more than 126,000 downloads since 2011, and the topics that seem to attract the most attention are ones related to being a husband and wife.

We even have a live show on blogtalkradio.com that airs on Tuesdays. More information on our podcast can be found at stephengoode.com.

Thanks Stephen! For those interested in learning more you can visit Facebook.com/MarriageTriage or buy the book now!

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