A Home is Built by Wisdom

Let’s simplify things here. There are two goals in marriage: stay together, and stay happy. Easy to say; tough to do. You need wisdom if you want to reach those goals. Proverbs 24:3-4 says, A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding; by knowledge the rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure, and these verses provide a starting point for this book.

When the proverb uses the word house or home, it’s really talking about the people and the relationships in the home. A house is built by wisdom, means developing a great relationship requires wisdom. And filling its rooms with every precious and beautiful treasure is what every couple, family, and household should be trying to do.

The principles in WisdomBuilt show you how to build your house in such a way that you discover the beauty, the grandeur, and the immeasurable treasures God has for you. In the same way every home is decorated differently, no two marriages will look and feel the same. Your relationship will be unique because you are one-of-a-kind, but the wisdom offered here will show you how to bring out the best in yourself, your partner, and your coupleness.

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Goodbye to Love

Falling in love is a wonderful experience. You’re on top of the world, and you feel like you’re the luckiest person in the world, hoping it’ll last forever. Then it starts to change. At first it just doesn’t feel the same. Then comes the pain, followed by the realization that it’s over. Soon, you’re singing the oldie from the Carpenters, Goodbye to Love.

Too many marriages in the United States end in divorce, and many of those who stay together aren’t happy. The burning question is this. What are you and your spouse going to do to make sure you stay together and are happy?

After we’d been married five years, my wife and I came to a point where life was hard. We didn’t have enough money to pay the bills. Linda was stuck at home with a toddler and an infant. She noticed that I invested a lot more time, energy, and thought in my work than I gave to our marriage. We were both dissatisfied and unhappy. We weren’t getting enough sleep. Stress was high. We got angry easily, and didn’t laugh much. We also discovered that men and women speak different languages. She was too emotional, and I was too insensitive.

One day, I came home from work and Linda met me in the kitchen. Without hesitation, she blurted out, “Are we ever going to be happy again? Will our marriage ever be good again?”  I told her, “I think so, sweetheart. I’m not sure, but I think so.”

It would have been easy to throw in the towel and call it quits. Just as easy to start blaming, accusing, and getting angry with each other. Or maybe even look elsewhere for love and affection, and have an affair. But we didn’t do that. Instead, we decided to do our best to be kind to each other, treat each other right, and see what happened. Eventually, the joy did return. We got through that dark time, and we’re glad we did. But we needed to help each other through the process.

 

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Above is an excerpt from the book WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage, which can be ordered on Amazon or on my website.

Best Marriage Book in Years

front cover 8Just got this email from a pastor in Colorado . . .

Read the book. Loved it. I like the personal touch with personal examples of failures and successes. Every marriage would be better if couples would follow the lead of this book. This is the best marriage book I’ve read in years as it is easy to read and every page is helpful. Marriage challenges are over come with love and commitment. What a joy to know there is help just a few pages away. Thank you Dr. Paul Linzey for your service to the country and to the kingdom of God.

Dr. Lafe Murray, Pastor, Author of Wisdom and Beyond

Five Out of Five Stars!

I just discovered this review of WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage on Amazon.

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Based on sound biblical teaching, each turn of the page presents a new building block of understanding on which we can base a lifetime of marriage and companionship. Where was this book forty years ago? WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage just became my default wedding gift for every couple about to join their lives together. I learned many lessons the hard way. I found myself nodding in agreement and stating “wish I’d known this back then… ” so many times while reading this book. Am married 21 years now, and found things I can apply to make our marriage even better.

Every marriage should start with this foundation.  Christian Author, J.D. Wininger

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Struggle and Triumph

Rick Hendricks 1In plain, storytelling fashion, Paul provides a simple, but not simplistic, application of timeless Biblical principles to apply in your relationship. He shares his own experiences of struggle and triumph, letting you know none of this is easy, but it is accessible. Paul’s style is enjoyable, easy to read, and digest. I really appreciate his Discussion Starters at the end of each chapter to guide a couple’s deeper dive. As a Christian couple’s therapist, I highly recommend this to those who are contemplating marriage, are early in their marriage, or may be looking for ways to grow in their marriage.

Rick Hendricks, LMFC, Deputy District Director, North Atlantic District 1, Veterans Health Administration

Head of the House

Phone 2The phone rang on a Saturday afternoon.

“Hello,” I answered.

“Hello, I’d like to speak to the man of the house.”

“We don’t have one,” I stated matter-of-factly.

The caller didn’t know what to say, so after a few seconds, I hung up.

gender-1990154_1920Please understand. I am a man. The only man who lives in our house, by the way. Our three sons are grown and have homes of their own, so technically, I am “the” man of “the” house. But that’s not what the caller meant.

He wanted to talk to the person who had authority to make decisions, the person who didn’t have to check with someone else before spending a lot of money, the person who was in charge. And he assumed, as many do, that a woman can’t make decisions, can’t spend without permission, and can’t be in charge.

That’s what I objected to, and that is the kind of skewed gender-role relationship that we don’t have in our home. What a demeaning, unbiblical view of women and marriage!

dollar-660223_1920.pngI spoke with another caller, and what he was selling actually sounded like a good deal. But when he got to the point where he wanted to close the sale, I mentioned that I wasn’t going to make a decision on the spot, because I wanted to discuss it with my wife. I couldn’t believe his sarcastic response. “What’s the matter? Aren’t you the man of the house? Can’t you make a decision?”

I’m not sure what he thought when I said, “My wife and I respect each other enough to talk about major expenses, and we make shared decisions. So, go ahead and call someone else, someone who doesn’t understand how to build a good marriage, and try to bully him instead.”

The fact is, my wife and I both make decisions; we’re pretty good at it, too. We trust each other and support each other. We’re not perfect by any means, but our usual practice is to take time to talk together before making major decisions. It’s one of the ways we’ve been able to maintain unity. We value one another and what each other thinks and feels. It’s also a matter of courtesy. 

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, very few decisions have to be made today. Unity is more important than haste. In other words, a good decision at the expense of unity is a bad decision.

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Podcast: Florida Writers Association

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This afternoon, I was interviewed in a podcast by Alison Nissen, president of the Florida Writers Association. She sent me a few questions in advance that she was thinking about asking, but ended up throwing a few curveballs, too. Questions I wasn’t expecting. It was a lot of fun. She’s a great interviewer. I don’t remember all of the questions, and I don’t have the podcast recording yet. But she said it would be on the FWA website soon. I’ll post it here when I get it. You can click on the FWA logo above and it’ll take you to the podcast page on their website.

1. What was the first piece you ever published?

In 1993 my wife and I spent three weeks in Budapest, Hungary. We had to take the subway a couple of times. When we got back to the States, I wrote a short article about the Budapest subway and sent it to a magazine, and they published it.

2. Who is your target audience?

Depends on what I’m writing. I freelance for a couple military magazines and several parenting magazines, plus a few religious publications. A common theme in all my nonfiction writing is personal relationships and how we treat people, whether in marriage, the family, a business, or the military. My first book came out in February of this year, and the target audience was married couples and those who help couples.

3. What advice would you give writers to help develop stronger characters?

Make them interesting. Make them strong and weak at the same time. Give them some positive traits, but one or two flaws. Make them complex, because nobody is all good, and nobody is all bad.

4. What’s on your refrigerator?

Magnets, Pictures, Things made by grandkids, Shakespeare quotes about love, Beagle, Route 66 stuff, Inspirational sayings & quotations, Prague, Plumber, dog kennel, A/C repairman, Pictures of family, car and motorcycle made of beads, Half-Marathon 13.1 magnet, the university where my wife works

5. What’s your favorite food?

Italian, definitely.

6. Tell me about your pet?

We have a Beagle named Sophie. Great dog. We’re not hunters, but she is! Lizards, frogs, rats, rabbits, squirrels, one armadillo, and scared away a coyote. She doesn’t understand turtles, though.

7. What genre do you like to read?

Mostly nonfiction: biographies, relationships, histories, business and leadership, religion, racism, and psychology. When I read fiction, it’s usually something that reads like true stories. I like John Grisham and Charles Dickens. Two of my favorite stories are Dumas’s the Count of Monte Cristo and Stephen King’s Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

8. How does this impact what you write?

I tend to write nonfiction about people’s lives and relationships, their pursuit of happiness and meaning, either through personal fulfillment in a relationship or their faith or their career.

9. You’ve dabbled in writing much of your life. What made you want to write full-time?

I’ve been a public speaker most of my adult life, which often included a lot of writing. I started writing freelance articles on the side, and experienced some success. So, when I was about to get out of the Army, I started thinking about writing full-time, but I didn’t want my nonfiction writing to be boring. I wanted it to be fresh; I wanted it to have some life. So, I started reading about the techniques fiction writers use to make their stuff grab the reader’s attention, and I thought, “Hey, I can use some of those same techniques when writing nonfiction.” So that’s what I’m doing, and I love it.

10. If you were to write fiction, what would it be about?

I’ve made up stories my whole life. My sister and I used to write plays when we were kids. When my sons were little, I would tell them stories. In fact, one son and I met last month, and we’re planning a series of novels for school-aged children based on some of the stories I told him when he was in the first grade. I also have four adult novels outlined. But I have to finish four or five nonfiction projects that are at the top of the list, and then I’ll focus on the fiction. I’m thinking of making every November my fiction-writing month, and the rest of the year my non-fiction. What do you think?

11. What about poetry?

I like poetry. I love rhyme and cadence and meaning. I’ve published one poem, and participated in several poetry reading events. I used to write poems for special occasions and family events. But being a consistently good poet is hard work. So, I tend to do it just for fun or special events, and occasionally something really good comes.

12. Ok . . . so what is your favorite movie?

Well the top three in order are, the 2002 Count of Monte Cristo, the musical Les Miserable, and Shawshank Redemption. And recently, I have to put the Greatest Showman on that list.

13. How has your writing changed over the past five or ten years?

My nonfiction writing used to be all information, but no style. It was artless. Good content, but the nonfiction wasn’t creative. So, I read 27 books on craft during the last five years I was in the Army. Then I decided to do the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa. After that, I joined two local writing groups, and started attending writing conferences. The result is that my writing is deeper. It has style and aesthetics that I simply didn’t know about before. And though I definitely have a lot of room for further improvement, the quality is more consistent now, whereas it used to be sometimes good, sometimes so-so, and sometimes pretty bad.

14. What are you working on right now?

In February I finished a book on marriage. Now I’m writing a book about my military experience in Iraq back in 2007, the people I interacted with, and some of the things we faced together. My plan is to have it completed by May 1.

15. How do you help others develop their writing?

This is an interesting development that I never expected when I started trying to improve my own writing. After completing the MFA at the University of Tampa, I was visiting my wife at Southeastern University, where she teaches, and her boss asked if I would help start a Creative Writing degree program at the university. So, I did, and it was a lot of fun. One of the projects we implemented was an annual writers conference, and people who attended started asking me to speak at their organizations, teaching on effective writing, either for business, or fiction, or whatever. Now, I have people asking for help with their writing on a personal basis. Right now, I’m editing and encouraging three or four authors with their projects, still speaking at writers conferences occasionally, and still doing the conference for the university.

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Review by Author, Ken Murray

Ken Murray (2)Paul Linzey does a phenomenal job with “WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage” by highlighting then discussing the most common and uncommon issues regarding marriage and relationships. I found myself thinking at times, “Hey, Paul is writing about ME!” I love his logic and reasoning he applies to marriage and relationship issues then applies Biblical passages, his wisdom gained over the years or a “been there done that” foundation to explain things. Paul takes the issues beyond just communication and throws you into real life situations and serves examples that you will undoubtedly feel you’re a part of in either your current relationship or recall those same situations from your previous failed relationships. I highly recommend you order your copy today. Open your eyes today, you cannot go wrong!

Foundation for Marriage

condo-2618421_1920In 2008, developers built some high-rise condos on the South Texas Coast. Ocean Tower was supposed to provide luxurious amenities and beautiful views, but it didn’t take long for the entire structure to begin to sink, and then tilt, with wide cracks in the concrete support system.

According to an old Turkish proverb, “A building without a foundation is soon demolished.” The foundation wasn’t prepared well enough, and the whole project had to be destroyed after more than seventy-five million dollars had been invested.

The famous, leaning bell tower in Pisa, Italy, on the other hand, stood straight for five years before the 14,500-ton structure began to sink. It managed to survive, but as we all know, there is a serious slant.

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In Matthew chapter seven, Jesus talks about the importance of a foundation for a home. But, just like in Proverbs 24:3-4, what he’s really talking about is people, and in this case, the need for an inner, spiritual foundation.

Couples who want their marriage to survive storms and shifting sands, need to make sure they have a foundation that will last a lifetime.

Several years ago, my wife and I did a short-term missions trip to Budapest, Hungary, teaching a three-week intensive class at the Hungarian Bible college, and preaching at churches in and around the city. Our hosts were a missionary family that allowed us to stay in an upstairs bedroom in their home.

Looking out a second-story window, we noticed the neighbors were building another home on their property, immediately behind the main house. The missionaries explained that it was customary for children to grow up and live on the same property as their parents. The new building was for their son, who was about to get married. The foundation was already in place, and every day, we came back to the house, looked out the window, and followed the progress. We watched the walls grow higher as new rows of bricks were added.

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God’s plan for marriage is vastly different from the typical concept of marriage in the world today. Rather than a battle zone, marriage is designed to be peaceful. Rather than causing you pain, it can be a source of profound healing. Rather than a selfish coexistence, a good marriage is a loving couple coming together to help and encourage one another. Rather than a ball and chain, marriage liberates you to reach your goals and see your dreams come true. Rather than a hell, marriage can be a heaven on earth. And, rather than a temporary arrangement, marriage is best when it takes you through all phases of life . . . together.

For that to happen, however, the relationship has to be built on a solid foundation. It’s time to get started establishing a WisdomBuilt home that will last a lifetime.

Writing a Book Review

girl-160172_1280When you read a book, it’s really helpful for you to write a review on Amazon, and maybe even on Goodreads. That helps other readers decide whether to buy the book. If it’s a book you like, it’s especially important. When you write a review, however, there are several guidelines to keep in mind.

  1. If you know the author, don’t mention it.
  2. Say what the book is about.
  3. Give a few specific examples from the book itself.
  4. What did you like about it?
  5. Does the author accomplish his or her purpose?
  6. Do you recommend the book?

 

Here’s an example of a book review I recently wrote.

On Parr (2)I just finished Ken Murray’s “On Parr” about a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. The story about Colonel Ralph Parr is fascinating, but so is Murray, the author. I found him to be part research historian, part flight instructor, and part master story-teller. The combination enables Murray’s skill as a writer to hold you in your seat, turning page after page, wanting to find out what happens next. He gives inside information about what it was like to attend an NFL game when the stadium announcer tells the crowd that Pearl Harbor was attacked. He describes in detail what it feels like to dive straight down in a fighter jet from 43,000 feet and pull up barely in time to avoid slamming into the ground, right behind eight Russian MiGs, and taking out the enemy leader. His narrative includes figures of speech, dialogue, and technical information. It’s full of sensory detail: sights, sounds, and smells. He doesn’t shy away from the emotions the characters in the stories are dealing with during hellish battle scenes of war: fear, anger, loneliness, or depression. In the process, Murray brings the reader into the action, into the context, into the time period. I discovered nuggets of wisdom, such as how to approach relationships when starting a new job, and how to balance your personal life with your career. Murray does a really good job showing the interplay between national and international politics, and how it impacts average citizens as well as military personnel. And, while shining the spotlight on Colonel Parr, Murray manages to reveal a bit of himself. For he, too, is a decorated military aviator, an accomplished writer and editor, and an outstanding example of a human being who has so much to offer. I recommend the book.

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