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The B.E.S.T. Marriage - a new book by Anthony Delaney

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The B.E.S.T. Marriage - a new book by Anthony Delaney
Anthony Delaney speaks to Together magazine about his new book The B.E.S.T. Marriage.

Tell us a little about yourself, and the inspiration for The B.E.S.T. Marriage.

I am a former police officer turned church leader based in Manchester. Over my years of ministry, I’ve encountered people who are thinking about getting married, people loving their existing relationship – and people living to regret it! I hadn’t come across a book accessible to both men and women that could help those in all these categories, so I decided to write one.

You structure the book using the acronym B.E.S.T. – Bless, Encourage, Share and Touch. Why have you chosen each heading?

We start from the premise that your spouse is a blessing, not a curse! We’re created with differences for very good reasons. During over thirty years of marriage, I’ve come to see Zoe not as someone who must always make me happy, but as the person who most makes me a better me. The central truth at the heart of the book is that you get out what you put in – and investing in these four simple areas will pay great dividends in every area of life.

You frame the book with honesty about the imperfections of your own marriage – how important is authenticity in relationships?

The people closest to you tend to know the reality of who you are. I want to model to my own kids and grandkids that although nobody is perfect that doesn’t mean we’re not perfect for each other. There are times when Zoe and I don’t even like one other, and onlookers may look at us then and say, ‘bad marriage – unhappy – get out!’ But that’s a snapshot, not the video. Like most people, there have been various times in our marriage when we could have packed it in and walked away. Some make that hard choice for good reasons, of course, yet the statistics show that usually break-ups don’t lead to a happier life, but a lonelier one. Instead of walking out, we walked into marriage counselling, built a bridge – and walked over it.

You write about how we each have a hierarchy of needs, with everyone’s needs differing. Could you expand on that?

When you’re a child, you don’t just have physical needs, but emotional ones. When these are met in your family of origin, you’ll generally be more whole and your relationships healthier. Unfortunately, this is a broken world, all of us carrying broken pieces, and the needs that weren’t met as a child are the ones you’ll long to be filled most. If you didn’t get much affirmation, those words will matter most. If you didn’t get physical touch, you’ll long to be held. It’s important to know your own needs, but it’s vital to know your partner’s – and they’re usually quite different. Trying to meet their needs with what makes you happy will not grow a healthy relationship. The book has various exercises to help readers think about how they can more successfully meet their spouse’s needs.

What does ‘submission’ mean within the biblical context? How can we avoid the negative connotation and embrace this in our marriages?

As a kid I loved watching the wrestling, where the outcome of fights depended on ‘three falls, two submissions, or a knockout.’ Great fun, but not an ideal recipe for marital harmony. The Bible speaks of how both husband and wife must submit to one another in love, and I have realised that sub-mission can actually mean coming ‘under the mission’ of the other, being their greatest supporter, cheerleader, advocate, affirmer. If you ever get two people aiming to outdo one another in this kind of submission, everyone wins.

You refer to the love poetry in Song of Songs. How can this ancient poetry help couples in marriages today?

So much Scripture, including passages from the Old Testament and Jesus’ words, has been foundational for my own life. I aim to show that this ancient wisdom is timeless and bang up to date. The principles taught in the book have already helped – and even saved – hundreds of marriages, because God is the best lover of all, and we can learn from Him what true love is.

And finally…

Dr Gary Chapman (author of the bestselling book The Five Love Languages) encouraged me to write this book, and I’m privileged to have his endorsement of it. I am delighted that The B.E.S.T. Marriage will go out under Moody’s Northfield Publishing arm for circulation into the mainstream. I believe this material could benefit anyone in their relationships, wherever they are with regard to faith.

Together Magazine

Together is the window to the UK Christian retail and trade. Providing the very best in product information, trade news, publisher and retail store profiles and much more

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Anthony Delaney
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