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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Personal anecdotes inform insights in South Surrey authors’ new book – Peace Arch News

Couple shares 40 years of experience in making marriage work
— Read on www.peacearchnews.com/entertainment/personal-anecdotes-inform-insights-in-south-surrey-authors-new-book/

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.

-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 

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 


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Brian C Stiller’s Endorsement of ‘For Better, For Worse’

Brian C. Stiller: “I suspect that most of us in a marriage simply need encouragement, stories and insights that help us see how it can work. Yes, more detailed understanding of when to do what and the whys are helpful. Although we always knew that “12 Easy Lessons” was never a book for marriage. That’s why Ed and Janice Hird’s use of “Keys” is critical. Indeed, there are important keys each of us have that unlock moments and relationships that bring vitality and loving presence into our walk together. This wonderful manuscript flows with joy, humor and candor, opening our minds to unused passage ways of our own lives. Lily and I have been married for over 55 years, yet this practical and insightful journey so helpfully described, brings encouragement, regardless if this is your first or fiftieth year of marriage. And as you do, you will learn so much more about yourself, your partner and this joyful creation into which God calls us.”

Brian C Stiller

Global Ambassador, the World Evangelical Alliance

President emeritus, Tyndale University College & Seminary

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.

-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 

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


Leave a comment

Strengthening Marriage: Bridging Emotional Cutoff

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Edward A. Hird, DMin

In this article, I will discuss emotional cutoff as it relates to marriage through the perspective of Bowen theory, how use of theory can help bridge cutoff and how, in a Judeo-Christian setting, the biblical understanding of covenant can offer a complementary perspective in this task.

At the communion rail with her ex-husband one Sunday, Linda said to the priest, “Someday I would like to marry Lloyd again.” As Linda had said this several times in coaching sessions—and Lloyd had said the same—, the priest asked, “Why not now?” “Sure, why not?” asked Linda. The congregational atmosphere was electric as communion unexpectedly concluded with a marriage service. Linda and Lloyd Lindsay (names changed) had been divorced for six years. The wedding sixteen years ago was followed by pastoral marriage coaching and the church’s Strengthening Marriage Workshop, based on Bowen theory. The couple’s step back into marriage, which may have seemed sudden from the outside, followed years of building trust with the pastor and congregation through adult baptisms, family funerals and other rituals.

Churches often struggle to find programs that support marriage. Some adults cite their parents’ emotional cutoff and divorce as part of their hesitation to marry. Couples who are high functioning at work may be far less functional in their marriages. The skills that make a successful entrepreneur, for example, often backfire in the bedroom and the living room, where people may be less capable of dealing with intimate relationships. Bowen observed, “In another group, a section of the intellect functions well on impersonal subjects; they can be brilliant academically, while their emotionally-directed personal lives are chaotic.” These difficulties may involve emotional cutoff, a major challenge in marriage. Bowen theory presents pastors with a different model for premarital and marital work.

What is Emotional Cutoff?

Bowen called emotional cutoff the process of separation, isolation, withdrawal, running away or denying the importance of the parental family or any significant relationship. (1978) One emotionally disconnects from earlier generations to attach in the present one. In 1975, Bowen added the concept of emotional cutoff to six previously identified Bowen concepts. As Bowen described cutoff, distancing was used to avoid anxiety aroused in intimacy. (Kerr and Bowen, Family Evaluation, p. 75)

The backdrop for Bowen’s concept of emotional cutoff was his observation of many young people running away from home during the 1960s. Parents were seen as the problem and getting away as the quick-fix solution. The one who cuts off, however, brings the unresolved attachment issues with parents to relationships with people to new settings. It has temporary benefits but long-range deficits, solving nothing. Bowen wrote:

One of the most important functional patterns in a family has to do with the intensity of the unresolved emotional attachment to parents, most frequently to the mother, for both men and women, and the way the individual handles the attachment. All people have an emotional attachment to their parents that is more intense than most people permit themselves to believe. (p. 433)

The more intense the cutoff, the more he is vulnerable to duplicating the pattern with the parents with the first available other person . . . When problems develop in the marriage, he tends also to run away from that.  (p. 85)

Cutoffs are either 1) primary when directly related to one’s parents, or 2) secondary, indirect and inherited, when they based on the multigenerational emotional process and can be traced back to the primary parental cutoff. (Titelman 2003) Bowen’s use of the phrase “separation of people from each other” to describe cutoff indicates it can occur in other emotionally important “secondary” relationships. In this article, I apply the term emotional cutoff to both parent-child relationships and “secondary” ones, including marriage.

Emotional cutoff is the universal mechanism for dealing with unresolved emotional attachment. Richardson comments, “Cutoff and having nothing to do with the previous generation betrays an intense attachment that is denied but is equally powerful.”

Anxiety that is unresolved in one relationship is plays out in others. Emotional cutoff therefore is systemic and multi-layered. Cutoff from parents in one’s past shapes the degree and intensity of one’s emotional cutoff in such present and future relationships as marriage. (Titelman, Emotional Cutoff, p. 24) Without chronic anxiety, emotional distance often does not develop into emotional cutoff. Chronic anxiety is sometimes called emotional pain. Bowen theory distinguishes between chronic, ongoing anxiety and acute, intermittent anxiety. While acute anxiety is a reaction to what is happening, chronic anxiety is a reaction to what is not happening and might not ever happen. How we observe and manage anxiety is key to strengthening marriages and reducing cutoff.

Emotional cutoff from previous generations causes spouses to overestimate the importance of the other partner. Overdependence on the present generation raises one’s anxiety level, making a person more likely to cut off emotionally from her spouse. The high divorce rate in North America appears closely linked to multigenerational emotional cutoff from families of origin. Multigenerational connectedness is the healthy alternative.

Where there has been violence by parents to each other or their children, emotional cutoff can function to increase violence in the present generation. Michael Walker’s 2007 research with 290 people in substance abuse treatment centers showed that those describing greater emotional cutoff were more likely to report at least one instance of relational violence in the previous year. When emotional cutoff in instances of marital violence is not addressed, it may end up fostering the very violence it is seeks to escape.

Cutoff for the Lindsays occurred during a work dispute. The reconciliation with the Lindsays has surprised many, and given others hope for similar marital breakthrough.

Changing the Focus

Couples having difficulties often come to a pastor with a sense of failure and sometimes fear. When a marriage is facing challenges, it is very easy to focus only on the problems, and lose sight of the forgotten strengths that brought them together in the first place. Focusing on strengths helps couples become more objective. Bowen theory helps marital objectivity through distinguishing between facts and feelings. By focusing on what is right with the couple rather than pathological symptoms, the couple’s anxious reactivity and emotional cutoff can be reduced. The focus on strengths lowers anxiety – making the couple more open to each other and thus reducing cutoff. The first week of the Strengthening Marriage Workshop focuses on “Discovering Strengths.” Both Lloyd and Linda identified their friendship as a strength. Resources already present in the Lindsays’ emotional system could be tapped into.

Many couples struggle with an imbalance of marital closeness and distance. All relationships have some degree of fusion, or emotional togetherness. Cutoff is a reaction to this fusion and an expression of it. Some couples are less fused than others. The right amount of emotional space increases accurate marital hearing, thereby bridging emotional cutoff. Marital cutoff and fusion have a remarkable ability to morph into each other in a repeating circular fashion. Only calm, unfused connecting brings lasting reduction of anxiety and emotional cutoff. No connection is ever totally without fusion, and some fusion aids survival. Such marital closeness needs to be a choice rather than a pressured obligation. The Lindsays had been very emotionally fused in the context of their divorce and emotional cutoff. Lloyd still came over and helped Linda with fixing appliances after the divorce. Through attending the Strengthening Marriage Workshop, the Lindsays reported being able to hear each other more accurately without giving up self. Playfulness and appropriate humor go a long way toward bridging emotional cutoff in marriage. As chronic anxiety has decreased, the Lindsays’ natural sense of gentle humor has become a source of healthy bonding.

Ronald Richardson writes that finding marital strengths “often put(s) people back in touch with good things they have forgotten, what originally brought them together.” Marital pain affects everyone in an emotional system. Linda identified keeping distance as her family’s pattern of dealing with emotional pain. Lloyd had the same pattern in his family as well.

One of the unintended consequences of emotional cutoff in marriage is increased loss of self. Recovering self in Bowen theory involves differentiation of self, which involves the ability to have one’s own opinions and make and act on one’s own choices. The Lindsays each worked on growing self. Facing one’s own emotional cutoff in marriage can be daunting. It is encouraging to know that emotional cutoff is not a sentence that people are doomed to endure. Self-examination and work within one’s family can be vital in reversing emotional cutoff in marriage. Bowen saw notably more success when people worked in their extended families rather than just within the marital relationship itself. Bowen theory emphasizes working on relationships in the family, rather than working in the relationship of counselor and client, which often leads to dependence or blurring of roles that can bring difficulties. Valuing one’s spouse’s strengths and differences bridges emotional cutoff through reducing homeostatic sameness, stuckness and stagnation. (Richardson) Becoming one’s own person and holding to personal principles is an antidote to emotional cutoff. It is a major step for some spouses to act on their wants and needs when they are accustomed to being shut down by their spouse. The work that the Lindsays have done on their marriage has resulted in their daughter becoming married.

Cutoff in marriage is reduced through neutrality and curiosity, through humor, through saying no to quick fixes, through valuing conflict, through thoughtful questions about process or through reducing over/underfunctioning. Conflict avoidance and people-pleasing increase emotional cutoff in marriage. With emotional cutoff, people lose the opportunity to face, to process and to grow through the inherent conflicts and differences in marital relationships. Reducing blame and shame is vital in bridging emotional cutoff. Bowen theory seeks to blame no one. Overfunctioners sometimes use blame and shame to take self from underfunctioners. By establishing permeable boundaries in marriage, the Lindsays reduced their multigenerational default level of emotional cutoff. Through use of a family diagram and questionnaire, the Lindsays identified strong tendencies in their families of origin towards emotional cutoff and divorce.

Marriage in no way guarantees emotional maturity. The higher the emotional reactivity, the greater the likelihood of emotional cutoff, which brings a loss of flexibility. With emotional cutoff, a spouse may perceive that there are fewer choices for functioning in the marriage. Since being remarried and taking the Strengthening Marriage workshop, the Lindsays have become more flexible.

Covert emotional cutoff in marriage may be hidden behind togetherness, which masks an internal cutoff in which marital differences and personal issues are avoided. Many couples put a lot of energy into pretending that everything is wonderful, but mindless conformity does not bring a satisfying, stable marriage. The more rigid a couple, the more vulnerable they are to loss of self and/or loss of their marriage. Thoughtful observing and controlling of reactivity reduces the tendency to cut off emotionally through withdrawal. Similarly, the more nonjudgmental observations are, the less emotional cutoff there is in a marriage. Couples often underestimate how difficult it can be to perceive things that they do not want to see.

Bowen Theory and Pastoral Counseling

Applying Bowen theory in pastoral counseling involves a shift from “couch” to “coach.” Coaching focuses on helping people identify patterns that are not helpful and where they come from, and then adopting new, more productive ones. Reducing cutoff through coaching doesn’t mean telling couples what to do but rather asking questions to help them discover and understand their family emotional processes and how they function within their lives.

Churches and pastors involved in wedding preparation are on the frontlines of marriage strengthening. Longevity in coaching rather than frequency is linked to reducing emotional cutoff. The maturing of marriages is a natural process that takes time, sometimes years. In Western society, people often want fast results. But if a pastoral coach rushes to try to provide a marital quick fix, he/she may make emotional cutoff worse. Bowen talked about four years before generational transmission patterns will be modified. (Friedman, Bowen Theory and Therapy, p. 163) Because there is no quick fix, strengthening marriages is both costly and messy. The Lindsays have continued in marriage coaching from time to time over the past twelve years.

Greater clarity is key. The pastoral coach is looking for the couple’s most objective thinking. As the Lindsays became more aware of how they functioned, they became more responsible for their own parts in the dance. Lloyd has said that what excites him most about the possibilities of their marriage is being together in the future. In structured interviews, Linda and Lloyd identified their remarriage as the most important turning point in their lives.

Marriage is strengthened when couples take the brakes off, commit to the unknown future and launch into a covenantal adventure of life. Emotional cutoff often occasions the loss of marital adventure and anticipation.

Bridging Covenantal Cutoff in Marriage

Cutoff is a Bowen family systems theory concept. In the biblical tradition covenant is a metanarrative, that is, a foundational, overarching theme that can offer a major resource for framing marriage both intellectually and theologically. God as covenant maker remains faithful to his covenant even when his people are not. When a marriage relationship is rooted in this metanarrative, it offers the prospect of substance and fidelity. Covenant is first and foremost a promise, a pledge, a vow. This theological foundation supports work on self within family and marriage. The biblical concept of covenant offers a different image and the possibility of a different outcome for marriages.

Covenant-breaking increases emotional cutoff. Christian sacrificial covenant-making bridges it. Covenant-breaking is a breakdown of faith, hope and love, three things that matter most. Moving from covenant-breaking to living in sacrificial covenant is at the heart of the biblical ideal of marriage. The covenant’s strength becomes a strength of the marriage. The emphasis on covenant gives a couples a supportive theological/intellectual framework for going forward. A wedding is not the apex of the covenant, but its beginning, a promise of working together. Marriage for both Jews and Christians is rooted theologically in the covenantal leaving and cleaving in Genesis 2: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Jesus quotes this verse in Matthew 19:5. Emotional cutoff in marriage endangers the covenant, a breaking of faith. Covenant can be stronger than the forces of emotional cutoff. Covenant renewal is at the heart of marriage renewal. Marriage can be seen as a covenantal pilgrimage, moving hand in hand with a spouse toward a Kingdom future. Some couples have few examples in their family of origin of lasting, satisfying marriages. People who see other couples with successful covenant marriages are less likely to give up during times of acute anxiety. Celebrating otherness and differences within covenantal relationship supports differentiated marital intimacy and reduced cutoff.

Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 suggest that every marriage needs a radical unshakable dream. Marital emotional cutoff is often connected to broken dreams and visions. When a spouse cannot trust what his/her partner says, emotional cutoff is just around the corner. Sometimes it can be the other way – emotional cutoff followed by lack of trust.  Because there is no verb in Ephesians 5:22, covenant marriage should be understood in light of the mutual reciprocation in verse 21. Unilateral domination is replaced by covenantal mutuality. The covenantal image of the bridegroom and bride is an expression of profound love. In Christian scripture, covenant love is about mysterious uniqueness, like that between Christ and his covenantal bride the Church.

Paul’s covenantal insight into marriage is elaborated in Philippians 2:1-11, where covenantal restoration is about making oneself nothing and taking the very nature of a servant even to the foot of the cross, which echoes what Bowen theory calls “making yourself small.” (Friedman, Bowen Theory and Therapy, p. 154) The more differentiated spouses are, the more they are willing to make themselves small in their marriages. Authentic repentance in a relationship requires that a person make self small, admitting that one was wrong and choosing to make restitution.

Bridging Emotional Cutoff in Marriage Ministry

Clergy have opportunities to provide pastoral care and coaching for people going through marital challenges. Bowen theory gives pastors ways not to make things worse but rather to aid the couple in building a renewed marriage. Well-intended overfunctioning and rescuing by the pastor does not help a couple bridge emotional cutoff. Applying Bowen theory is not about a pastor’s “fixing” couples. It is rather about non-reactive, thoughtful connectedness. The best gift a pastor can give couples is to work on her/his own bridging of emotional cutoff in her/his own life. The pastoral coach can then be a more calming presence, who reduces the tendency of the couple to vent, dump on each other and emotionally cut off.  Strengthening the covenant of marriage is not just the responsibility of clergy. To view the church systemically is to realize that the entire church family can play a part in strengthening marriages and bridging emotional cutoff. Pastors and churches can play a major role in providing a setting and resources to help couples bridge emotional cutoff, such as through the four-week Strengthening Marriage Workshop. Strengthening marriages is key to living out a calling to be a church where emotionally cutoff couples like the Lindsays are covenantly restored. If pastors and church members keep doing what they have always done with respect to marriage in the 21st century through their own family patterns, they will not see needed breakthroughs in marital stability and satisfaction.

In summary, Bowen theory offers tools to strengthen marriage through bridging cutoff and restoring covenant. marriages. The Christian tradition understands that God, the covenant-maker, rescues, renews, forgives and heals, taking what is broken and making it whole. Covenantal restoration through bridging emotional cutoff has great power to strengthen marriages, bringing greater stability and satisfaction. Through the strengthening of marriages, a new generation can receive hope that faith and God’s covenant community make a genuine difference in their covenant relationships.

References

Akers-W. M. Understanding the Attitudes Toward Marriage of Never-Married Female Young Adult Children of Divorce Using Bowen Theory, Psy.D. Dissertation, Alliant International University, San Diego, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 36. 2003.

Bowen, M.  Family Therapy in Clinical Practice, (Jason Aaronson Inc, New York, NY, 1985, 1983, 1978, 1992), p. 433.

Bowen, M. The Origins of Family Psychotherapy: The NIMH Family Study Project, Lanham, Maryland, Jason Aronson, 2013.

Bowen, M. “Theory in the Practice of Psychotherapy.” In P. J. Guerin. (Ed.), Family Therapy: Theory and Practice. New York: Gardner Press, 1976.

Dillard, D., and H. Protinsky, H. (1985) “Emotional Cutoff: a Comparative Analysis of Clinical Versus Nonclinical Populations” (citing Bowen, 1977), International Journal of Family  Psychiatry, 6, 5p. 40.

Friedman, Edwin, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in an Age of the Quick-Fix, The Edwin Friedman Estate / Trust, Bethesda, Maryland, 1999.

Kerr, Michael  E., and Murray Bowen, Family Evaluation: An Approach Based on Bowen Theory, The Family Center, Georgetown University, New York: Norton & Company, 1988.

Kline, Meredith G., The Structure of Biblical Authority, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1975.

Peleg, Ora & Arnon, Tom, “Are Differentiation Levels Associated with Schizophrenia?” Deviant Behavior (2013) 34:4:321-338.

Peleg, Ora, “The relation between differentiation of self and marital satisfaction: What can be learned from married people over the course of life?” Academic Medicine, Vol. 84(10), Oct, 2009. pp. 388-40.

Peleg, Ora and Yitzhak, Meital. Differentiation of Self and Separation Anxiety: Is There a Similarity Between Spouses? Contemporary Family Therapy (2011) 33:25–36.

Richardson, Ronald, Couples in Conflict: a Family Systems Approach to Marriage Counseling, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2010.

Skowron, Elizabeth A. & Friedlander, Myrna L. “Differentiation of Self Inventory: Development and Initial Validation” Journal of Counseling Psychology, 2009, Vol. 56, No. 4, 597–598.

Steinke, Peter, Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, The Alban Institute, Herndon, Virginia, 2006.

Titelman, Peter. Clinical Applications of Bowen Family Systems Theory, Haworth Press, New York, N.Y., 1998.

Titelman, Peter, ed., Emotional Cutoff: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives, The Haworth Clinical Practice Press, New York, NY, 2003.

Tuason, Maria Teresa, and Friedlander, Myrna L. “Do Parents’ Differentiation Levels Predict Those of Their Adult Children? and Other Tests of Bowen Theory in a Philippine Sample,” Journal of Counseling Psychology,Vol. 47:1, No. 1, p. 27-35, 2000.

Walker, Michael W. “Differentiation of Self and Partner: Violence Among Individuals in Substance Abuse Treatment.” Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, Vol.  67(12-B), 2007, pp. 739.

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.

-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 

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 


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Sixteen keys to More Effective Book Writing

Image result for The Word Guild

Presented at the 2018 West Coast Writers Weekend

Sponsored by the White Rock/South Surrey Word Guild Chapter 

Rev Dr Ed Hird

  1. A key to going from good to great in writing is following your heart and your gut where it leads you. If your writing doesn’t grip you, it will not grip anyone else. One of my and Janice’s passions, as expressed in our latest book For Better, for Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship is for strengthening marriages. My 500+ newspaper articles found on edhird.com (with 760,000 readers) emerged out of my passion for history and biography. Many of these articles have later become chapters in my books like Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit. I am currently doing a biography series for the Light/City Light Magazine covering BC and southern Alberta. Lean into your passions. What wakes you up in the morning? What really matters to you? What are you willing to sacrifice for

  2. Image result for Ed HirdNonfiction has more to do with facts and history. Many readers are women who are looking for a break from the stress of life. A high percentage of books are purchased by women as Christmas presents. How might your nonfiction book give people a break from the stress of life

  3. Another key to greatness in writing is the willingness to initially write badly. Turning off the inner critic for a time. Anything on the page is better than brilliance in your head. Fight your clever ways that you procrastinate.

  4. Learn to respect your creative rhythms, your waves of inspiration. If you are a morning person, be a morning writer, or vice versa. Surf (write) when the creative waves hit. You can prepare for the wave, but you can’t control it. Our co-presenter the Rev. Jim Wilson, by the way, cut his teeth on surfing. This inspired his recent amazing novel Generation which tells a compelling story about California surfers in the 1960s. Click to watch Jim explain how to get a breakthrough in your writing.

  5. Most ‘good’ books stay good rather than great, because of inadequate editing and inadequate marketing. Are you willing to sacrifice your time, talent and treasure in order to go for greatness? Writing is an act of Kingdom stewardship. I have been privileged to serve twice on the faculty for the TWG Write! Canada conference, teaching on marketing books. Rob Eager’s material is an excellent resource in the marketing area. https://www.startawildfire.com/

  6. Marketing cannot just be added after the book is written. It needs to be built into the very DNA of the book. The back cover must not be boring or self-centered. Good marketing gives the potential reader a reason to care. Readers in the internet age are suffering from information overload. Communicate clearly about how your book will benefit your readers’ lives.

  7. What is your marketing ‘elevator speech’? Every book needs a hook. What is your hook? Build the hook into the text of your book, as well as your back cover. Try completing this ‘hook’ sentence about your book: What if I told you that….?

  8. Learn how to maximize Amazon which is where most people buy books nowadays. Offer both eBooks and paperback. Experiment with targeted Amazon paid ads, focusing on age, education, geography, interests. Rob Eager says that Amazon ads are more effective than Facebook ads. Experiment with both. To increase Amazon visibility, aim to have at least thirty people write brief Amazon.com book reviews. You cannot pay them, but you can ask them. Sometimes they are more likely to do a book review for you, if you have already done one for them. Think of the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do for you.” I have 36 Amazon book reviews of my Restoring Health book. Later usually means never in terms of book sales. Strengthen the closing of your sale (pulling in the net) by offering on amazon and other contexts a time-limited $3.00 savings.

  9. A key to great editing is developing a thick skin so that you can hear editing suggestions. Defensiveness and stonewalling keep your book in the childish stage rather than childlike excellence. CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, and JRR Tolkien had a wonderful childlikeness in their writing. 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” Mark 10:14-15 “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” How childlike and playful are you in your books? As they say in Family Systems Theory, when everything is serious, urgent and important, something is out of whack.

  10. Paying for a professional editor is worth every dollar. The Word Guild can help you connect with a good editor. On the recommendation of the Word Guild co-founder NJ Lindquist, we used Audrey Dorsch. If you can’t afford a paid editor, draw on the wisdom of other authors.

  11. Canadian writers who are Christians face many challenges in the current market a) the dominance of the American market with most publishers being in the USA b) the collapse of many book stores in the internet age c) finding your tribe d) building your platform. Your tribe are those who share your passions and interests particularly in your book themes. Search for where they hang out on the internet and other face to face settings. Your platform consists of those who you have regular access to through social and traditional media like newspapers, radio and TV. To connect with your tribe and build your platform, offer a free eBook to those who sign up to your blog email. I have 27,000+ social media followers.

  12. Being part of a writer’s organization, like the Word Guild, helps keep you motivated. When I won a Word Guild award for the book Battle for the Soul of Canada, it helped opened many doors for newspaper, radio and TV articles and interviews. It is very easy when isolated to give in to writers’ discouragement. Sometimes we become too close to our writing and need to walk away until we can become a more objective reader of our own writing.

  13. Establishing your credibility in the eyes of the potential reader is key. Jim Wilson our copresenter is an example of how to do this. I encourage you to watch Jim’s ‘Writing Weekend’ videos which are posted online on Facebook and Youtube. What has Jim communicated in the videos that lead you to believe that he knows what he is talking about? What might you ‘humbly’ and ‘confidently’ say about yourself? Click to watch Rev. Jim Wilson and myself teach on writing nonfiction.

  14. The book cover, the book title, and the back page are essential for motivating people to try out your book. How have you developed some of your book covers and book titles? Bill Glasgow of Wm. Glasgow Design in Abbotsford has done the book cover and layout for my last three books. Many book stores told me that the professionalism of the book cover and layout was why they accepted my book on consignment. Most back covers do not grab you with a compelling hook.

  15. Conference speaking where you can promote your books from the podium is a major key to selling your books, directing people to a book table at the back that you and/or friends man. Bring a bowl and put a number of five-dollar bills in the bowl to help with change. Make up an attractive mini-poster with your book prices to put in a picture frame. Offering to personally sign your book can help improve sales. If you struggle with public speaking (the greatest fear on earth), consider attending Toastmasters and reading library books on public speaking.

  16. Pray and soaking in God’s Word is key in writing books in Jesus’ name

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin www.edhird.com

Image result for James A Wilson Generation

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.

-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 

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 


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Pastor Audrey Mabley endorses the For Better, For Worse book

Audrey Mabley: “I picked up the ‘For Better, For Worse‘ book by Rev. Dr. Ed & Janice P Hird. As I read Chapter One, I could not put it down until the chapter was over … it was so very enlightening to bless my relationship with my husband of 40+ years … the simple yet amazing insight was easy to understand and seemed likewise( easy) to put into practise when I mentioned what I discovered to my husband he has the biggest smile !
Thank you ! I will eagerly read on…”

Most Sincerely,

Rev Audrey Mabley
Founder of Eternity Club ministry ( 1979)

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.

-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 

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 


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Spring Romance

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Ed and Janice Hird photo

April showers bring May flowers.  Spring is a time when many romances begin, including my romance with my wife Janice.  I am so grateful to have been married to Janice for forty-three years.  She is the love of my life and the joy of my heart.

When I was a teenager, I held the unoriginal view that marriage was just a piece of paper, a merely human sociological invention. Since coming to faith in 1972, I have been fascinated by the meaning of marriage.  Reading Matthew 19: 6 (What God has joined together…), I was shocked to discover that God invented marriage.  I remember sharing with my future wife on our first date in 1975 about my fascination with the theology of marriage.  She found me somewhat overwhelming, and told me that she wasn’t ready to commit as she had just broken up with her fiancée.

While completing my Masters, I wrote an essay on the meaning of marriage, with a strong emphasis on the ‘one flesh’ covenant.   I concluded the essay by writing our own marriage ceremony and inviting my professor Bill Adams to our wedding.  Fortunately he liked the wedding and gave me a good mark.  Thirty-six years later, Janice and I are co-leading Strengthening Marriage workshops and Strengthening Relationship groups.   I graduated on May 26th 2013 with a Doctor of Ministry, focusing on ‘Strengthening Marriages.’

Part of my North Shore ministry involves visiting extended care facilities where often one spouse has Alzheimer‘s disease and the other doesn’t.  I have been so impressed by the love of one North Shore wife for her Alzheimer-afflicted husband who was a former university professor.   Her covenantal love and honour for her husband is deeply rooted in his unshakable humanity, being made in God’s image.

Ted and Lorna3A wedding is a celebration of a couple coming to the point where they are truly willing to become one flesh in body, mind and spirit.  Marriage is far more than just a contract or a prenuptial agreement. Marriage is a covenant of faith and trust between a man and woman, a covenant grounded for Christians in their shared commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord.  At the heart of the concept of covenant is unconditional commitment.  The hyper-individualism of our consumer culture is the acid rain of covenant love.  The busyness and stress of our culture tends to swallow our best intentions even in marriage.

James Olthius, author of I Pledge You My Troth, teaches that marriage is troth, as in ‘I pledge you my troth’.  This term, troth, as in betrothal, is an Old English term for truth, faithfulness, loyalty and honesty.  At the heart of marriage troth is our pledge ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better,  for worse, for richer , for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”

At the heart of spring romance for me is that assurance that my wife will stand with me through thick and thin, through good times and bad.  Janice has my back and I have hers.  My prayer for marriages is that God may give us back our first love for each other.  May our covenant commitment be like precious gold.

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

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

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

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.

-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 

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 


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Forgetting Valentine’s Day…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Valentine’s Day rolls around every year without fail.  Husbands forget Feb 14th at their peril.  Somehow our wives interpret our forgetting Valentine’s Day as a sign that we don’t care, that we may be putting other priorities like work and sports above them.  So, husbands, be warned.  Flowers are much cheaper than lawyers.

After forty-three years of marriage, I love my wife more now than I have ever loved her.  To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we flew to England to visit with our youngest son, serving then as a youth missionary in Newcastle.  It is an amazing gift to be married to someone whom you really like to be with.  My wife has been that gift to me.  She was so loyal in supporting our 31-year ministry at St. Simon’s North Vancouver from 1987 to 2018.  That is why I dedicated my book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’ “with gratitude to my dear wife who has been married to me for almost thirty years, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”  You can imagine that it is not easy to be married to a clergyman, especially with the challenges that faithful Anglicans have been facing in North America.

My wife served as our St. Simon’s NV Music Director for several decades, co-ordinating several different choirs and contemporary worship bands.  Archbishop David Somerville, who first ordained me, once said that if the devil ever gets into the church, he will come in through the choir.  Because music is so closely connected to worship, it makes sense why music can easily be contentious.  Sometimes people have worship wars over contemporary songs vs. traditional hymns.  At St. Simon’s NV, we decided in 1996 to honour both expressions by offering both a traditional 9am BCP service and a contemporary 10:30am service.  Because my dear wife is musically bilingual, she is able to encourage both expressions with integrity.  Unlike many church choir directors who are always quitting and creating havoc, my dear wife was a source of musical stability for over two decades.  Dynamic music is a key to a vibrant, healthy Church.

My wife and  I went to Winston Churchill High School in Vancouver, both graduating forty-eight years ago in 1972.  But we only really noticed each other from a distance.  We became friends while taking the bus home from the University of British Columbia.  She was in Music naturally, and I was in Social Work, dreaming about becoming an Anglican priest.  For around a year, we were only good friends.  But eventually the penny dropped and I saw the light.  My wife really impressed me with her great listening skills, her good sense of humour, and her hard work.

Finally one day in 1975, I invited her to go bike-riding to Little Mountain in Vancouver.  The rest is history.  Coming back from our second bike ride, I said to her, “Don’t take me too seriously, but relative to two days, I would like to spend the rest of my life with you.”  For some reason, this shocked her.  But she got over it, and we quickly moved to become engaged.  When I introduced her to my mother, my mom said something that she had never said before: “The woman who marries Ed will need to have quarters for the bus”.  What she meant is that while I have strong leadership giftings, I work best when I am complimented by someone with strong administrative giftings, who pays attention to the details.

In my first Valentine’s Day article for the Deep Cove Crier thirty-three years ago, I wrote: “Why do I still enjoy Valentines Day?  It’s because all of us have a need to feel loved, even when you’re married.  So often romantic love can fade imperceptibly from a marriage.  In the busyness of children, work, school and sports, our marriage can easily get lost in the shuffle.  Marriage Counselors tell us that romantic love is one of the greatest lacks in modern marriages.  The bible reminds each husband to love his wife as his own body, to love his wife as he loves himself, to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5).

Husbands, let’s surprise our wives on February 14th and make our family homes the most romantic spot on Planet Earth!”

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

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our 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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.

-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 

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