Friday, February 7, 2014

A Month of Love and Marriage with Guest Deborah Raney

With the month of February upon us those who are single look toward loving and marriage and those you who are already married just look at us singles and smile, while shaking your heads. ;-) I didn't want to just focus on love, but also on marriage the joys and trials and the wisdom that can be shared from those before us. I know I think a lot about falling in love, but not a lot about what happens afterwards. What wisdom can be shared with those like me? I've asked Deb Raney, accomplished author, wife for 40 years and loving mom and grandmother to be my first guest this month in a month long series. Leave a comment below to enter to win your choice of any of the (released and yet to be released) in the A Year of Weddings Novellas collection.

My husband and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this year, so this question––What would you say to your younger self to better prepare for marriage?––is a timely one. 

I think there are three main things I would say to my younger self:

Deb and Ken...the newlyweds!
1. When you get married, it will be because you were attracted to that man exactly the way he was. So once you are married quit trying to change him into something he’s not! I don’t believe in love at first sight, but it was definitely intense like at first sight when I met Ken Raney. And yet, for some crazy reason, I spent the first decade of our marriage trying to make my shy, quiet, laid-back, non-social husband into someone more like…well, me! Bad idea. One me is quite enough, thank you very much! And besides, all those qualities my husband has are (as God well knew) perfect complements to my personality. We’ve always had a happy marriage, but once I figured out this important lesson, there was a lot more peace in our home!

Forty years later!

And you know what? It’s almost comical how Ken has become much more outgoing, social, and fun-loving, over the years, while I seem to become more non-social the older I get! God definitely has a sense of humor!

2. Don’t think that life will always be a picnic! Don’t be surprised when you go through trials and challenges. Don’t panic when “that lovin‘ feeling” fades a little. It will return, and your love for each other will grow deeper and more mature than you ever dreamed possible when you were in that giddy falling-in-love stage. It is always––always––worth it to slog through the hard times until you see the sun again. Until you find the Son again.

Over the years, I’ve talked to so many people––so many!––who wish they could go back and undo their divorce. Because you see, they bailed too soon. They couldn’t imagine ever getting through the hard times and finding joy again. But if they’d only waited a while, not made such a big deal out of little things, and forgiven the big things more quickly, they would have found that there’s a deep, deep love that waits just down the road from trouble.

3. Instead of looking at marriage as a safety net and a comfort zone, view it as an adventure! I think I sort of gave a sigh of relief when I said “I do.” I’d “caught” my guy, fulfilled my ultimate dream, and I was perfectly content to settle into a happily ever after. Little did I know the adventure was only beginning!

Deb and Ken's boisterous and fun-filled family!
But it didn’t always feel like an adventure. Sometimes it felt like a roller coaster (I don’t like roller coasters!) Sometimes (not often, but sometimes) it felt like drudgery. (I don’t like drudgery!) But if I’d learned to see every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow, to discover all the treasures God had in store for me––for my love and me––when He sealed us in this marriage, oh, how much better that would have been. 

Thankfully, I figured it out sooner rather than later, and we’ve been on our wonderful adventure for many years now. I know it won’t be sunshine and roses every day, but I’m pretty fond of thunderstorms, and I don’t even mind pulling a few weeds now and then.

DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after twenty happy years as a stay-at-home mom. She is currently writing a new five-book series, the The Chicory Inn Novels. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life––the setting of many of Deb's novels––for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, Kansas. They love traveling to visit four children and five grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at


  1. Love Deborah Raney. Love the advice and as a married lady of 27 years I totally agree. I am walking through I Cor 13 during February to learn/relearn about True Love. I recently have found acceptance of all (circumstances/person) and surrender to God have really helped me focus on Him to get the direction I need in my marriage and other relationships. Blessings to you Casey.

  2. what a wonderful posting/testament, deb and casey.
    thank you for sharing :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  3. Being single myself, but in the beginnings of what looks to be a promising relationship advice from those who have been married for many years is always appreciated!


  4. The advice given By Debra is so very right. This is a well written and timely post. my late husband and I were married 46 years before he passed a year and a half ago, the only thing I could add is don't go into marriage thinking you have an option to get out, but work through it. That commitment served me well along with God's Grace.
    Thank you

  5. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great it!
    I love Deb's books (have read them all) and look forward to reading all of the wedding novellas!
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

  7. Thanks for sharing this advice from Deb. She's a wonderful lady and a great role model (and a pretty super author as well!). Thanks for having the giveaway.

  8. This is wonderful advice from Deb. As another single woman, I have recently begun thinking about not just falling in love but what comes afterward and how God is using this time to prepare me for the special man He will bring me. I can already see Deb's first piece of advice applying to me--it seems to fit my personality. With God's help, I will hopefully keep that advice in mind and save myself the pain and agony of trying to change my husband to fit my mold.

  9. I agree with any of these marriage points. I especially like the one that marriage is not always a picnic. There are many times we've found this out. We are married for 43.9 years and had many ups and downs. Now that we're both retired and alone in our home, we've found it much easier to get along and handle our ups and downs. Thanks for the post and I'd love to win one of the Calendar Brides books. sharon, wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  10. Another reason to like Deb Raney: She's wise.
    And she's honest.
    And she's real, i.e. not fake.
    Well, I guess that's 3 reasons.
    I knew all this about Deb even before this post. It's just fun to appreciate all these things about her again.

  11. I too have been married 40 years this year. I love Deb's advice! Especially, don't bail too soon! And above all, if you have Christ in your lives, He has your back, and it's okay to push through the tough times. bcrug(at)myfairpoint(dot)net

  12. Thanks so much for letting me "hold court" on your blog today, Casey. Bless you guys for the sweet and encouraging words. Congrats to those of you celebrating long happy (or hard-fought) marriages, and for those still waiting for God's perfect one––enjoy the wait and I can't wait to rejoice with you when it happens! :)

  13. I really appreciate the words of wisdom from Deborah. It's great that she shared not just the feel good, happy stuff, but also the not so great feelings she experienced along the way. That's reality! Thanks!!

  14. Thanks for this great advice! I loved hearing Deb talk about marriage and what she's learned along the way. 40 years is a great accomplishment!

  15. Awesome post Deb and very very very true. That's amazing people have said to you the wished back their divorce, that they bailed too soon.

    Praying God helps us all to love well!


  16. I love Deb so much! This article is full of great advice and thoughts. I think it's so important to not attempt to change your spouse, but to accept him for the whole package. What a fun blog today, Case! :)

  17. Thanks, Deb, and Casey, for this great article for February. I agree with all the advice. My hubby and I have been married almost 46 years, and when we were dating in college I was the extrovert and he was the introvert, and now we have totally switched places! Our kids are a good combo of both, tho.

  18. Deb, what true, wise words. Some of these lessons I learned pretty quickly. Others.....not so much. :) Hanging in there through the hard times, waiting for the joy to return can be the most difficult stretches of marriage, but it's always worth it to hold tightly to this truth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and your pictures. :)

  19. I'm still learning some of those lessons, Deb. And I do have enough perspective to agree, they're all true.

  20. Thank you, Deb (and Casey!), for sharing these wise words. I feel like these are great reminders for life in general and all relationships we have! I was so encouraged by reading this. :) Congratulations on 40 years! I hope to one day have an adventure like that myself!

  21. Thanks for the wonderful post, Deborah - good advice!! Thank you for hosting, Casey!!

    I am a follower and subscriber!!


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