A good Friday morning to everyone! I hope after this long week of working our minds, we can each set aside a little time to enjoy our weekends.
Do you know why I enjoy doing these interviews so much? Because, not only do I get to meet fellow authors who share our writing struggles, but I also get to know these authors personally. In case you haven't noticed, I don't simply ask questions about a writer's processes, but I like to get to know them as more than just writers.
This next author that I had the privilege to interview opened up to me, like no other has before, revealing his weaknesses and struggles. Read his interview to find out exactly why I was thrilled to have this interview with Chris Benton.
AJ: Thank you for joining me in this interview today! Please tell us a little about yourself and your background that led you to become a writer.
CB: I went through 19 years of addictions until God healed me over 10 years ago. The first 5 years of my marriage was heck for my wife because of those addictions. A few years after the addictions, I started a blog and started writing. I found a passion in it right from the start.
The crazy part is, when I was in high school, I hated English and especially speaking and now I am looking for a future in both. Crazy how God works. Never say never. Like I always tell people, don't allow who you think you are to stop you from the direction God is leading.
I am grateful that I opened up and listened to God on so many fronts because of that, I am the writer I am today. It's truly a passion of mine now that I never imagined.
AJ: Can you tell us about any of your current projects?
CB: The book my wife and I are currently writing is called “Broken Together”. It's a book about how your past affects your marriage. Going through those 19 years of addictions, I didn't realize how much my past was affecting everything around me. Even after God healed me from those addictions, my heart still needed to heal as I was somewhat angry.
A few years ago I decided to write my story out for a book. So I thought I started to connect the dots. As I started from childhood and worked up to 50,000 words, I learned so much about me. I was able to point to one thing and saw how that led to another thing. Because I wrote my story out, I learned so much at how my past affected who I was today.
I always tell people, even if you don't want to write a book, you should write your story out and set a goal of 50,000 words. The reason for so many words is so you won't leave anything out. If you just wrote without a minimum of 50,000 words, you will leave the ugly out. By writing at least 50,000 words, you will write the good, the bad, and even the ugly!
AJ: Do you see writing as a career? Or, is this just a hobby?
CB: I see this as a career. I write monthly for an online Christian magazine already and also do my own writing too. I love to write and the goal is to one day get paid to Read, Listen, Write & Speak. The reason I add Listen & Read in that equation is we all know that leaders are readers, and if you aren't growing internally, you won't have much to write or speak about, so they all go hand in hand.
AJ: Who, or what, inspires your writing?
CB: Of course, God inspires me, but my wife, as a human, is my biggest inspiration. She went through so much those first 5 years of marriage. Most women would have left me, but she chose to stay and fight. She cried every night for God to change my heart. What she didn't know was God was working on me through those times even when she didn't see it.
God used my wife to change me. Some people tell me that my wife allowed me to walk over her, but that's really not the case. She stood her ground when she needed. What she really did was allow me to experience God's love through her. Because of that, I am able to now see my wife through God's eyes and I am grateful that she was willing to be used by God. You see, she didn't nag me or put me down in those early years. She just loved me the way she thought God wanted her to. She totally melted my heart through her love. I wouldn't be a ¼ of the man I am today without her love.
AJ: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? And the best compliment?
CB: I would say the biggest criticism is our story. People don't think we are real. My wife and I don't argue and they think we are fake because of that. They say things like we just don't communicate then. You see, communication has become our strength because we have been a 24/7 couple since the day we married over 15 years ago.
A lot of people don't realize that you have to learn to communicate when you spend all your time together. People are used to most couples fighting a lot. We just don't fight. We are on the same page at least 95% of the time. Because of that we are able to compromise on the other 5%.
We can't imagine marriage any other way but it doesn't come naturally. We study each other, we study marriage and communication through books, audios, sermons etc.. We attend marriage conferences and everything. We pour so much marriage stuff into our hearts and brains that we have no choice for good to come out.
We also spend hours a day deep conversation. So many marriage teachers teach couples how to speak mundane talk. My wife and I believe that you should also speak in hopes, dreams, desires and even fears talk together. That is where true intimacy is born.
We listen to 4-7 sermons a week outside of going to our local church. When we travel, we go to a local church that weekend because there is nothing like the local church. Yes, our church does live streaming but we choose to be local at a church because we can always go back and listen / watch our churches service.
We do the daily work so that our marriage never gets old. We keep the passion alive because in this day and time with all the distractions, it's easy to lose focus. Marriage has to be a top priority or you will lose that passion.
The best compliment? It would have to be when people tell us that our marriage inspires them to do better or when single people tell us that we give them hope. Many times people lose hope. By our example, they feel maybe God has someone for them too. We just want to be an example of God's love. We want people to see the love of God in how we interact with each other and also how we interact with other people.
AJ: How can readers discover more about you?
CB: There are several ways to keep us with our marriage ministry and what we are doing. Our book we are writing right now is set to release Oct 5th which is our 16th wedding anniversary. People can go to BrokenTogetherBook.com. Our main ministry is InspiredMarriage.com, but you can find or follow us on any of these:
Inspired Marriage Facebook My Facebook Page My Website Instagram Twitter
If you'd like to find or follow Chris, click on any of the links above.