Interwoven with biblical teaching and practical application, Claire and Steve Musters honestly share their own story of rebuilding a marriage after loneliness, betrayal and separation as well as telling the stories of other couples who have faced specific challenges in their new book Grace-Filled Marriage. It will encourage you to see that God has a new portion of grace and mercy for you each day.
Claire Musters is a writer, speaker and author of several books. Together, Steve and Claire lead their local church and are passionate about facilitating open and honest conversations and helping people fulfil their potential in Christ.
Claire and Steve, why did you decide to write Grace-Filled Marriage
Authentic Media suggested that a book on marriage would be a natural follow on from Taking Off the Mask. When we thought about it, we realised it was a project that we’d like to do together and we began to get excited about what God could do with it.
Why did you choose this title?
Because we have seen God’s grace so much within our own marriage – and we all need his grace in every area of our lives – marriage is no exception. Relying on God’s grace involves us admitting that we can’t do anything in our own strength.
Who have you written this book for?
It is for anyone who is married (and anyone who wants to learn more about what marriage should be). It is for those who are about to embark on marriage, are newlyweds, have been married for years, as well as for those who may be reaching a crisis point in their relationship.
You talk about marriage being ‘a powerful gift of grace from God’. What do you mean by this?
God has made us for relationship – we crave it and thrive best in community. Having the gift of marriage is so precious, and the marriage relationship reveals God’s gracious heart towards us.
You are very honest about the struggles you faced early on in your marriage. Why do you think it is so important that people understand your back story?
We are asking people to take an honest look at their relationship and are encouraging them to be open and vulnerable with one another and those around them that they trust. We felt we needed to model that – to show them that we have faced real pressure and have come out the other side. But in recent years there has also been real pain and heartache too. Hopefully our willingness to share will help others realise that we all have struggles – they are not unique in that – and that is important that we feel able to be honest about that fact too.
You include several stories from other couples in the book that have faced specific challenges, such as Diane and Patrick Regan, and Will and Lucinda Van der Hart. Why did you want to include these, and what do you think they add to the book?
We have really valued knowing their stories and learning from them ourselves. Our own marriage has walked a very particular path – we don’t know what it is like to face infertility for example (but Sheridan Voysey writes beautifully in the book about his and Merryn’s journey of heartache with that), or how to cope when one partner struggles with a mental health issue. The couples who have also told their stories add an extra dimension to the book that hopefully means there is something that everyone reading it can relate to personally.
What do you think makes this book different to other books on marriage?
We love many of the books on marriage that are already out there and have gleaned lots of help and wisdom from them. But what we feel is unique about our book is that we are willing to say right upfront that marriage is hard. While we do celebrate how wonderful it is, we take the lid off many subjects that still don’t seem to be talked about much in churches and openly address them.
What kind of feedback have you had so far from people who have read the book?
We’ve had some wonderful comments, which has been so encouraging. People saying that they want all married couples to read it – we do too!
What was the most challenging element of writing the book?
Probably revisiting some of the most painful aspects of our past, but also realising afresh the ongoing work we need to do on our marriage! Claire would say working with Steve – we have very different approaches!
And what was the most rewarding element of writing this book?
Although challenging at times, working on this project together has been a great way of cementing the vision and purpose for our own marriage again. And hearing the way it has been helping people already, has been wonderful too.
Have you learnt anything new / been reminded afresh about God/ your faith/ marriage while writing this book?
Remembering the mercy and love of the Father has been overwhelming at times. Knowing that, while we don’t always see the big picture, he is at work all the time. Looking back and seeing where we’ve come from, and how he has held us, is incredible.
Grace-Filled Marriagewill be featured as part of the Big Church Read – how do you feel about this? And what do you hope churches will get out of this?
Yes! We are so excited about this – it’s such a privilege. We believe that people of all ages and stages of life – whether single or married – need to feel they belong and are being supported by their church. Our own experience, within a very loving and lively church, was still to feel that we were the only ones struggling – we want to encourage churches to open up conversations about marriage, and to facilitate evenings in which couples are able to share honestly together and also find other couples they trust that they can share more honestly with (and we are happy to visit – either physically or via online means) to help with that. The Big Church Read is such a great initiative because it is encouraging churches to work through books together. To learn and share with one another.
What one bit of advice would you give to anyone who is struggling in their relationship at the moment?
Pray, be honest with each other and find people who you can journey through the difficulties with and who will offer non-judgemental support. Don’t be afraid to admit you need help.
What do you hope readers will most get out of reading this book?
A reminder that they are not alone – that there is hope. Also, that it is a good thing to be open and honest, to talk – to God, each other and trusted friends, about the everyday stuff as well as the bigger issues within our marriages.
In one sentence, how would you describe Grace-Filled Marriage?
An honest look at the realities of marriage – celebrating its beauty but also recognising the very real challenges we face in our relationships.
Is there anything we can pray for you?
We will never turn down prayer! That we navigate well the things that God has entrusted us with – each other, our children, the church we help run, the writing and speaking ministries we have … and that we continue to walk in God’s grace!
Grace-Filled Marriage | Claire and Steve Musters | 9781788931380 | £9.99 | Authentic Media