Read Jennifer’s interview with The Northeast Texan:
NT: Can you summarize your reasons for writing your book, Love Your Husband/ Love Yourself?
JF: You are probably familiar with the adage, “One of the best things you can do for your children is to love their father.” Well, it turns out that loving your husband is also one of the best things you can do for yourself. Experience has taught me this, Scripture backs it up, and scientific studies confirm it. The evidence is so exciting and so compelling that I decided to write a book to share it with as many people as possible.
NT: Are there any particular people or incidents that inspired you?
JF: I began working on my book in earnest the year our oldest son married our daughter-in-law. I think part of me wanted to spare them the mistakes my husband and I made when we first wed.
NT: Any one story that seems especially compelling, that you’d like retold in the article?
JF: A central theme in my book is the importance of putting your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. No marriage can thrive when both parties involved are only “looking out for number one.” Unfortunately, even coupes who understand the value of sacrificial love will sometimes have a hard time exercising it. This was certainly the case in the early years of my own marriage . Although neither of us would have admitted nor even recognized it at the time, my husband and I were both stubbornly selfish back then. The turning point for us came when our first child was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes shortly before his second birthday. We suddenly found ourselves plunged into a world of constant blood testing, insulin injecting, carbohydrate counting, and ketone monitoring. The regimen was relentless, but it forced us to shift our focus off ourselves and onto somebody else. During the seven days our son spent at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, my husband never left his side. The entire experience allowed me to see with new eyes, and my heart overflowed with compassion and deep gratitude, not only for my child, but also for the man I married. I wish there were a way for all couples to experience such a transformation without having to endure the trauma. Again, that’s why they should read this book!
NT: You claim that putting passion back into your marriage through physical intimacy can divorce-proof your marriage, reduce your risk of heart disease, and take ten years off your appearance. I know you address this in the book, but for the sake of an abbreviated article, could you qualify this statement in summary?
JF: A wife who chooses to put her husband’s needs ahead of her own will, almost by definition, be making physical intimacy a bigger priority than it might otherwise have been. That such a commitment would make most husbands extremely happy is no surprise. What is surprising, though, is the long list of benefits a wife reaps as a result of this decision, due primarily to the fact that our bodies release hormones during sex that serve to significantly reduce stress, boost immunity, fight depression, lower blood pressure, and decrease our risk of cancer, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve devoted eleven chapters to detailing not only these, but dozens of other advantages that come from enjoying an active sex life within the confines of marriage. Of course, it takes more than physical intimacy to build a strong marriage — it also takes a lot of prayer and commitment, as well as a sense of humor and a willingness to extend forgiveness. These concepts are addressed in the second half of the book. Perhaps the most poignant statistic I cite is the fact that couples who pray together regularly have less than a 1% risk of divorce. When the findings of these studies are examined in light of Scripture, we see that God’s plan and purpose for marriage is far and away the best for everyone involved — for the husband, for his wife, for their children, and for society as a whole.
NT: Do you plan to teach these principles to your children when they’re ready to hear them? How many children do you have?
JF: Absolutely! We have twelve children, ranging in age from two months to twenty-two years, and have already begun discussing many of these concepts with them. Of course, even more important than the words that parents say to their kids is the life that they lead in front of them. Have you ever considered that your example may be the only “marriage book” your child ever reads? Children whose parents stick together through thick or thin, in sickness and health, and for better or worse are doubly blessed — not only do they enjoy a stable home life today, but they are better equipped to weather what storms may assault their own marriages tomorrow.
NT: What hope can you offer to someone who may be struggling with these issues in their marriage right now?
JF: Don’t give up! There IS hope. Studies show that among couples who rate their marriages as “very unhappy,” yet stay together anyway, eight out of ten consider themselves “happily married” just five years later. Our own attitudes and actions have much more to do with our inner sense of contentment and wellbeing than our outward circumstances do. Marriage is a marathon: you may have tripped up at the start, but you can still finish strong.
NT: Where can people go to find a copy of your book?
JF: Local readers can find it at The Scroll Christian Bookstore here in Tyler. It is also available on Amazon.com and through our family website, www.flandersfamily.info, where you’ll find lots of other great tips on getting organized, raising kids, saving money, home schooling, and making memories.
NT: What type of doctor is your husband? Does he practice in Tyler or the North East Texas area?
JF: Doug is an anesthesiologist. We moved to Tyler in 1997, as soon as he finished his residency, and have been here ever since. We love living in North East Texas. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family.
NT: Do you have any specific credentials you’d like to list?
JF: I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Dallas Baptist University in 1986, just a couple of weeks after meeting my husband, then went on to do two years of graduate work at SMU in the same field. Doug and I married in 1987, had our first baby in 1988, and I’ve been a stay-at-home wife and home-schooling mother ever since — a job I absolutely LOVE!
NT: Anything else you’d like to add?
JF: While my book can benefit marriages of any age, it is an especially good resource for couples just starting out. I hope readers will keep that in mind as we roll into wedding season — LOVE YOUR HUSBAND/ LOVE YOURSELF would make a great gift for all those June brides!