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Well, it’s not really MY birthday. But a year ago my last book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, was released. So it’s sort of like my book’s birthday.

And for the last week I’ve been working really hard at something that I just finished, and I think you’re going to like it! I’ve created a FREE women’s study guide to go along with the book, complete with video and everything. You can check it out here!

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I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I’ve been getting so many emails from people saying, “that was one of the best marriage books I’ve ever read!”

Just over the weekend one reader, N.N., wrote:

I just finished your book “9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage”, and absolutely loved it. It gave me motivation to keep on trying to stay connected even though my husband is sometimes making it difficult. Thank you for making such a difference in my life.

Then, as I was giving my Girl Talk last year, I started hearing about groups who were using the book in their study, even though I didn’t have a study guide written.

So I decided to write up a group study guide for it and film a series of videos to go along with it.

And I decided to make it free–for a little while, anyway!

I posted on Instagram, and take a look at the comments:

Instagram Filming - It's My Birthday. So I've Got a Present for You!

When I first moved to the little town where I live, my girls were little–just 1 and 3. And we started going to a women’s Bible study that had childcare at a local church every Thursday morning. It was so much fun. I got to know the women, especially some of the older ones who became mentors. I got a chance to really dig into Scripture. And within a year or two I was leading studies of my own. It was a transformational time for me.

I know how powerful it can be to get together and study a book and study God’s word with other women.

So I’ve put this women’s group study together, and I’m really proud of it. I’ve got an 8-week version and a 6-week version, and each week has:

  • An opening question to get the conversation going
  • A video
  • A series of questions to take you through the material
  • Prompt for private meditation
  • Prompts for group prayer
  • Notes for leaders if there are any potential landmines in the material (like for the sex chapter or the submission chapter!)

And it’s all free! I’m going to start charging in February, I believe, but that means that you can enroll now and use the study in the fall or winter without paying anything.

If you’re a Bible study leader or MOPS group leader, or if you belong to a women’s Bible study and you’re looking for material to study this year, or even if you’d just like to get some women together and talk about a book together, it’s all laid out so easily for you. (And it’s free right now!)

So head on over and check it out!

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See 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage

(The videos for the first two thoughts are live now. The other ones are mostly filmed and edited, but my internet connection is super slow so I can only upload one overnight each night. So the others will be coming out in drips and drabs! But they’ll all be up by the end of next week. Seriously. I need a new internet connection.)

But what if you’re not part of a group?

I’ve put up an individual study plan for the book as well, with the same video to watch, but also some suggestions on questions to pray through and how to journal your thoughts. So if you’ve purchased the book but never read it, or if you

Check it out here!

I’m super proud of this book.

I wanted to write a DIFFERENT kind of book about marriage–something that was filling a gap. I didn’t want to write another version of the same thing about how to love your husband well. So I started looking at all the emails I get on a regular basis–and I get alot!–and all the comments I get, and I noticed a common theme.

People were stuck in their marriage, and they had tried what all the books had suggested, and nothing was working. Why?

So I started thinking back to the first years of my own marriage.

Often when we feel lonely in marriage, we focus on that loneliness. And we think that God is on our side! Because He is close to the brokenhearted, He must have compassion on you. And so we keep pouring out our prayers and our loneliness, and we inadvertently reinforce this distance between us and our husbands, building up more and more walls, until we end up treating each other badly without even meaning to. And we grow further and further apart.

That was the story of the first few years of our marriage, and it was only when I decided that concentrating on how lonely I felt was doing absolutely nothing for my marriage, and instead I should figure out how to actually have a good marriage that our marriage changed. My thoughts were heading me in the wrong direction. And I have found that again and again with women. Sometimes it’s the littlest changes that can make the biggest difference!

But there’s another aspect to the book that’s important. A lot of Christian books sound a little bit like they’re giving “pat answers“. Do you know what I mean by that? When you say something, like: “just pray about it!”, “just respect him more!”, or “just figure out his love language!”, or even, “just have sex more!” But the thing about pat answers is that they are sometimes, or even usually, true. They’re just not always true. And when we talk about them as if they’re always true, then they make those people in marriages where that isn’t the issue feel as if there’s no hope or that there’s something wrong with them.

I think we’re starting from the wrong premise.

Here’s the right one: God wants all of us to look more and more like Jesus, but the way we get there is going to be different for everybody. And He wants us to act like Jesus, but Jesus acted differently according to the circumstances. Sometimes He got angry, sometimes He showed mercy, sometimes He did nothing but listen. So our job is not to learn a set of actions that will make everything better. Our job is to learn to be Good, like Jesus was, not Nice, like our culture often tells us.

Does that make sense? I hope so. But I think that’s why people have found the book refreshing. Plus it’s a ton of fun because I can be awfully funny. And in this book I really open up about my own marriage, maybe more than I have anywhere else (including this blog).

I wish I had done this a year ago.

But quite frankly, I was too busy with the launch of the book. So I put this on my to-do list for this summer, and I did it! And it’s a way for me to celebrate this book again, because it really does show my heart (and I’ll be on FamilyLife Today radio talking about it on September 5 & 6, too!).

I know many of you read my blog everyday, and get a lot out of it.

That’s wonderful. I’m so glad, and that’s why I write so much and why I make it free–because I want to make a difference in people’s lives.

But let me just say that if you’ve never actually read any of my books you’re missing the bigger picture. And I put WAY more thought into the books than I do into my blog posts. 🙂

I’d say that The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex is probably the most important book that I’ve written, because it was so needed. But 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is more my heart, and it summarizes everything on this blog (even the sex stuff!). So if you love the blog, you will LOVE this book. And if you can get a few friends and read it together–even better!

Whew. It’s been a big weekend getting the finishing touches done! I hope you all really love it. And I hope it can work for your group study this fall or winter, too!

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