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Great marriages don’t just happen—they’re made, intentionally, day by day. Yet most of us enter the covenant of marriage thinking that the role of spouse will be easy, natural, effortless. Rarely is this true. In fact, the number one cause of divorce isn’t adultery or finances or disagreements. It’s apathy—a lack of intentional emotional, physical, and mental investment in the relationship.
With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin A. Thompson explains the three critical roles of a spouse—friend, partner, and lover—and shows how to nurture those roles in order to keep a marriage healthy and strong. Using solid biblical principles, he helps couples understand how to grow their friendship, be a supportive partner through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.
Friends, Partners, and Lovers offers essential insight for couples at any stage of marriage but will be especially helpful to those who are struggling and those who are engaged or newly married and looking to start their marriage on strong footing.
I’m a pastor living in Western Arkansas. My wife owns an Advertising company and we have two children. While I love to write, I consider it a secondary venture to public speaking. The pastorate is the perfect profession for a writer. Few people are invited into the best and worst days of people’s lives. A pastor is one of those few people. Nearly every day I talk to people with what they assume to be a very unique situation. Of course, they are struggling with and saying the same thing as everyone else. This provides great insight into what are the needs of people.
When did you start writing your first book?
My first book, You Turn: when the nearest exit may be behind you, was self-published. It was a compilation of blog posts. In 2013, I began writing at kevinathompson.com. Over the previous decade, I had gotten away from consistent writing. Wanting to write a book and return to the habit of daily writing, I started the blog. It not only created a good amount of content for a book(s), it also created an audience which started asking for a book.
Can you tell us about your newest release?
Friends, Partners, and Lovers is my attempt to narrow down the job description of a spouse to the simplest forms. I regularly interact with engaged couples headed for marriage, the book helps me explain what they are vowing to do. At the same time, I spend a good amount of each week meeting with couples whose relationships are struggling. Over time, I kept seeing a pattern where most struggles could fit into one of three major categories.
Healthy marriages exist when couples are able to form strong friendships, partnerships, and a close intimacy. As friends, we promise to always be by each other’s side. As partners, we vow to always have each other’s back. As lovers, we fully see one another flaws and all while maintaining a deep affection for each other. If a couple can consistently do those three things, their marriage will be strong. When problems arise, they most often result as a breakdown of one of these characteristics.
Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
Writing is both energizing and exhausting to me. I love how writing forces me to think. I often say that I don’t truly know what I think about a topic until I write about it. Rarely do I feel as though I’ve had a successful day unless I’ve written 750-1000 words. At the same time, writing is exhausting. You expend so much energy without any physical movement. It feels like all the work of exercise without any of the benefits.
What did you (or your editors) edit out of this book?
The three elements—friendship, partnership, and intimacy—so intermingle that a problem in one area causes trouble in another area. When a man isn’t carrying his weight as a partner, he probably experiences the consequences in the bedroom. When a husband and wife struggle with intimacy, it can begin to erode their friendship. In the editing process, we worked hard on showing the interconnectedness without repeating issues.
I still live in my hometown. Apart from college and graduate school, I’ve lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas my whole life. It’s the perfect town to raise a family. It’s fascinating to pastor in my hometown. The city is big enough to have a diverse group of people, but small enough to where everyone is connected somehow.
Currently, how big (or small) is your household?
My wife and I have two children, Ella who is 11 and Silas who is 9. My mom lives next door so there is a good amount of interaction back and forth. My daughter has Down syndrome which adds a unique element to our house.
You’ve just turned in your manuscript, and your editor won’t return it with revisions for at least a week or two. Where would you go for a vacation?
I love Maui. While my phone still works, there is little I can do to help whomever is calling. Whenever we go, we rent a house that has an amazing view. I love to sit on the porch with a good book and just relax.
My wife prefers the mountains. Her favorite place is Glacier National Park.
Are you a dog or a cat person? What does that tell us about you?
I never have understood cats. I always feel as though they are judging me. Give me a dog any day. We have a German shepherd named Ruby. She’s smart, loyal, and just scary enough to keep outsiders at a distance. Not sure what they says about me.
What’s your favorite movie? Favorite TV show?
I don’t watch much TV apart from sports or news. As a family, we like Shark Tank. I love my kids watching other people develop ideas/products that can solve common problems and make money.
If you were casting yourself in a movie, which actor or actress would you pick? Why?
That depends on if my wife is playing herself or if she has an actress portraying her. Ha. If it’s an actress, I’d probably go Tom Hanks because he can play every man. If Jenny is playing herself, I’d probably go without whatever actor she prefers.
Thank you for spending time on my blog today!
Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas.