To order a copy of Madison’s new devotion, click on the image!Hannah: Madison, thank you so much for joining us today to talk about your new book! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Madison: Thank you so much for having me, Hannah! I’m a 19-year-old southern girl who loves Jesus with all my heart. I have been a wife for almost two years to my sweet and handsome husband Steven. We met each other (in Disney World of all places!) when we were 13 and 14 years old and dated for five years before tying the knot in our home church. We also have a sweet fur baby, Bentley, who is an 8-month-old Yorkie Pomeranian. He is definitely our spoiled little baby!
Hannah: As this is a devotional* for wives, talk about your own journey as a wife so far. What surprised you? What has been hard, easy? What lessons have you learned?
Madison: Getting married was one of the best things I’ve ever done! Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few hard times. But overall, it has been great. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons since becoming a wife! The one that stands out to me the most is to always make sure you are constantly pursuing God and your spouse. Read your bible and pray on a daily basis together. Date your spouse and be their best friend. Make sure you are showing love to them in the way they need it!
Hannah: Where did you get the inspiration for this devotional*?
Madison: When I got married, there was not a lot of helpful, biblical resources, specifically devotions, out there for young or newly-married wives! I began to notice in real life and on social media that a lot of wives in their first few years of marriage were really struggling. They needed practical advice on what to do about certain situations such as finance problems, who does household chores, what to do about extended family issues, etc. None of those topics were covered in a standard devotional*.
I felt that my husband and I had learned a lot in our years of dating (we had a different situation than most couples) and our first year of marriage. I thought about how I could give advice from our experiences and what God has shown us over the years. My goal for this devotional* is to help wives truly become one with their husbands and help them get past the issues that are keeping them from being able to do so.
Hannah: “The purpose of marriage is not for our glory or happiness, but for God’s” (Day 1, The Purpose of Marriage) As much as I agree with this statement, it is quite counter-cultural! We are taught that happiness in marriage is not only our right but the end goal. How did you come to a place where this was your view of marriage? Did someone, a passage of Scripture, or a book challenge you to embrace this point of view?
Madison: You are so right! It definitely is countercultural! Before we got married, we were given two books to read by our pastor: Sacred Marriage, by Gary L. Thomas, and Reforming Marriage, by Douglas Wilson. These books were a huge eye opener for me! They really challenged me to think outside of the box and view my marriage the way Christ does. The authors brought up extremely great points of view about how to handle conflict as well, and it really had an impact on how I communicate with my husband. I realized that if I view my marriage as something that is supposed to make only me happy, I will fight and argue to get my way. If I view my marriage as a way to serve God and give Him glory, I will put away my selfish desires and only want what He wants for me and my husband.
Hannah: (Speaking to the last question.) How has applying this approach to your own marriage been challenging? How has it been good?
Madison: Sometimes it’s really hard to put away my selfish desires in order for my marriage to reflect God’s love. We, as humans, are selfish beings. So, it is our nature to always fight for our own way.
This new viewpoint has also been great though because when my husband and I are going through a tough situation, we see our problems through God’s eyes. We think about whether or not God is trying to refine us or teach us something. We think about how we can grow in our faith in this certain situation and how we can grow as a couple. It has given us a greater understanding of marriage and how God designed it to work.
Hannah: “The way you describe your husband to others is the way they will view him forever.” (Day 19, The Dangers of Speaking Negatively About Your Husband to Others) Wow! That’s a really powerful statement and so true! How did you come to this conclusion? Was it learned from personal experience or simply watching others?
Madison: This was really learned by watching others! It’s crazy how one conversation can change someone’s view of another person forever. Even if you are just letting your anger or irritations out with a family member or friend, it can still cause problems between them and your spouse. When I’m having a problem with my husband and need to vent, I make sure I let him know exactly how I feel in a loving way. I never try to hide my feelings from him or make him look bad in front of other people. I am supposed to be there to lift him up and encourage him in front of others, not belittle him!
Hannah: In Day 29, you mention losing your Father at a young age. First of all, I am so sorry that you had to go through that! But to the young women who also lost their father early on, what encouragement would you give them as they go through milestones that a father would typically be part of? (i.e. Walking down the aisle, first dance, bonding with her husband…)
Madison: Thank you so much! This is
actually something I have been struggling with a lot lately. As I grow older I think about my daddy a lot more. I didn’t get a chance to know him all that well, but the pain is still deep because of the “what ifs.” What if he was here to see me now? Would he be proud of me? Would we be close? What if he would have been here on my wedding day or when our children are being born?
Those special times are when it really hits me that he isn’t here. The best advice I can give to any woman struggling with this is to fully lean on God. He will comfort you and help you make it through the hard times. God is also our Father and He can fill any void that is in your heart! Your husband should also be your shoulder to cry on. Talk to him about how you feel. He is there to comfort you too!
Hannah: You mentioned doing regular devotions with your husband. What devotionals have been especially impacting to you?
Madison: The Love Dare Day by Day Devotional, by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, had such an amazing impact on us! It really helped us improve our communication and grow closer to one another. The challenges gave us practical, creative ideas to help us show love to each other on a daily basis, as well. I would recommend it to any couple at any stage in marriage!
Hannah: Is there anything else you’d like to share or say to our readers?
Madison: My prayer is that each wife who reads this book will know how much they are loved by God and that they will be able to strengthen and nurture their relationship with their husband. I pray that this book gives them the help and encouragement they need to be the wife they are called to be!