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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

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On Our Way to Uganda and Rwanda…

janice and ed back cover photoBy Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

On May 5th to 22nd, my wife Janice and I spent three weeks in Uganda and Rwanda speaking on marriage and renewal. We first spoke, by invitation of Canon Medad Birungi, at the Healing for the Nations Conference in Rwentobo, Ntungamo, the site of the East Africa Revival. Last year there was 30,000 people attend this annual renewal conference.  We met Canon Medad through our good friends Pastors Giulio and Lina Gabeli of Westwood Church in Coquitlam. He came to visit our St. Simon’s people at a midweek gathering held at one of our congregant’s houses. After our time in Uganda, which will involve a brief safari, we went 100 miles south to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda where we were invited by Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini to lead some marriage conferences.

We brought our new marriage book with us. The title for our new book is ‘For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship.” The book is a popular reworking of my doctoral thesis produced five years ago.


Here is an excerpt from our new book to whet your interest:

Kneeling at the communion rail with her ex-husband, Linda said to her priest, Ed, “Someday I would like to marry Lloyd again.” As Linda had said this several times before in previous sessions—and Lloyd had said the same—Ed said “Why not now?” She replied, “Sure, why not?” Everyone was thrilled that the communion unexpectedly concluded with a romantic marriage service. Linda and Lloyd had been divorced for six years before remarrying that day.[1] We will never forget that wedding celebration.  Linda and Lloyd later took part in our Strengthening Marriage Workshop, and discovered new ways to improve their relationship.

What if we told you that this book, if you put its principles into practice, would send you on a romantic adventure with your beloved? What if we told you that, by reading and applying this book, you would discover the keys to a lasting satisfying relationship?  Marriage is very important to Ed and Janice (authors of this book and organizers of the Strengthening Marriage Workshop).  We have learned much in forty years of marriage, for better and for worse at times, and want to help other couples benefit from our discoveries about how to have a lasting, fulfilling marriage.  We have made many painful mistakes in our marriage. In For Better, for Worse, we pull back the veil on our imperfect marriage and share some of our embarrassing and often humorous moments.  Authentic, non-judgmental story-telling is one of the keys to healing of relationships, especially in marriage. Too many marriages nowadays crash and burn. It doesn’t have to be that way.  Are you willing to try an experiment on how to do relationships in a whole new way?  Would you like to end the cycle of broken relationships and marriages among your family and friends? Healing can start with you. You may remember how Jesus asked the probing question “Do you want to be well?”[2] Do you want your present or future marriage to be whole and healthy?

This book is written for married couples, engaged couples, and those interested in being married one day.  Ed and Janice learned extensively about Family Systems Theory while Ed was doing his doctorate. This book integrates family and biblical wisdom about how to strengthen one’s marriage and relationships. Each of the seventeen chapters unpacks key elements of what a healthy marriage can look like. The first four chapters cover the four weeks of the Strengthening Marriage Workshop, developed during the doctoral studies.  The four-fold focus of these four weeks is on strengths, differences, conflict, and intimacy. Even if you read and apply just the first four chapters, you will gain new eyes to understand your marriage relationship in a brand new way.  Are you tired of seeing your partner with the same old eyes?  Would you like to discover who they really are, beyond the mask?

To say “for better, for worse” sounds very romantic on the wedding day. To live it out ’til death do us part is much more challenging. Many couples naively think that because of their loving feelings toward each other, they won’t face the “for worse” part. Do we have the courage to radically embrace the gift and challenge of the marriage vows “for better, for worse”? Marital joy is a deep joy that spills over into every corner of a family. Marital pain, likewise, is a deep family pain. We know of few families who have not experienced both joy and deep pain in their primary relationships. Has this been the case for your family? This book is about coming alongside people who long for more stable and satisfying marriages. Throughout the book, questions are asked that you can work on, perhaps through journalling and, at the right time, through sharing with your partner.  Thoughtful questions can take your relationship to a whole new level of intimacy.  If you even half-embrace the principles in this book, your marriage will never be the same.

[1] Names have been changed. It was not a coincidence that our St. Simon’s North Vancouver congregation had just the day before taken a bold and costly stance for marriage. We believe that this wedding was a token of the Lord’s favour on our new adventure in which we as a congregation took a stand for biblical marriage. To learn more about this journey, you are invited to read Ed’s earlier book Battle for the Soul of Canada.

Dancing Photo of Clines

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

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Secrets to a Healthy Marriage

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Reflecting on what makes a marriage work, I was struck by how vital is the gift of forgiveness.  My wife, by the way, is very gifted at forgiving, probably because I have given her so much practice.  My wife is also very patient and persevering, as I have noticed that often in our marriage, it has taken me a while to really grow and change.  The fact that she never gives up on me, and that she keeps on believing the best for me, is a wonderful gift indeed.

I recently read a fascinating book entitled ‘Men & Women: Enjoying the Differences’ by the best-selling author Dr. Larry Crabb.  He commented that ‘self-centered living is the real culprit in marriages with problems.  Other-centered living is the answer.’  Many of us enter marriage thinking that our spouse will meet our deepest needs.  We then feel cheated when they don’t, and begin to close our hearts.  How many of us enter marriage with the view that we are there to serve our spouse?  How many of us see marriage as a way of serving God?  A marriage where both partners are committed to serving one another, to ‘washing one another’s feet’ is a marriage in which self-centeredness gets sidelined.  What will it take, says Dr. Crabb, to realize that our selfishness is without excuse and that our first job, in our friendships and marriages, is to recognize our selfishness and learn how we can change?

One thing that men and women have equally in common is that we are all equally self-centered and selfish.  Little growth in marriages take place, says Dr. Crabb, until we realize that the disease of self-centeredness is fatal to our souls and marriages.  Nothing exposes our self-centeredness more clearly than anger.  Because our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), we have an amazing ability to justify our own anger and bitterness towards our spouse, while simultaneously excusing our own bad attitudes.  Being angry at our spouses can be very attractive, because it makes us feel both powerful and self-righteous.  Having counseled dozens of couples over the years, I am continually amazed at the self-deception of many who convince themselves that the problem is their spouse, and that their personal faults are far more minor and merely reactive.  Self-centeredness is a cancer that blinds us from seeing that the problem is not merely our spouse; the problem is ourselves.

Our culture is saturated with excuses for everything.  It is not my fault.  It’s my spouse’s, my parent’s, my government’s, or my boss’ fault.  A.A. calls that ‘stinking thinking’.   Few of us are willing to do a thorough moral inventory of our own personal faults.  The bible uses a short, unpopular word for self-centeredness.  It calls it ‘sin’.  Sin doesn’t mean that we are axe-murderers or child molesters.  The heart of the word ‘sin’ is the ‘I’ at the middle.  The heart of most marriage problems is self-centered sin.

Dr. E. Stanley Jones, founder of the Christian Ashram, once said that ‘there can be no love between a husband and wife unless there is mutual self-surrender.  Love simply cannot spring up without that self-surrender to each other.  If either withholds the self, love cannot exist.’  A man and his wife were having painful marriage difficulties. The wife went away to a Christian Ashram, and surrendered her marriage to the Lord.  When she returned home, her husband said to her: ‘Well, Miss High and Mighty, what did you learn at the Ashram?’  She replied: ‘I’ve learned that I’ve been the cause of all our troubles.’  She got up from her chair, came around beside him and knelt, folded her hands and said: ‘Please forgive me. I’m the cause of all our troubles.’  At that moment, her husband nearly upset the kitchen table, while getting down on his knees beside her.  He blurted out, ‘You’re not the cause of all our troubles — I am.’  There they met each other — and God.  Each surrendered to Jesus, then they surrendered to each other and were free.  Now this couple, instead of continually criticizing each other, are one in love and forgiveness.

My prayer for those reading this article is that many may find victory through surrender.


The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.


-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca