With the current divorce rate nearing 50% in the U.S., the thought of a lasting marriage might seem impossible.
But with the right values, it can be accomplished.
John and Kristene Hansen both grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, non-Christian homes. After a history of respective failed relationships, they both became Christians and, as fate would have it, fell in love at first sight.
"The statistical odds were against our marriage lasting very long," says John Hansen. "But we refused to let them stand in our way. We applied principles of love, acceptance and forgiveness from the Bible and were obedient to God by waiting to have intimate relations. Because of that, God powerfully blessed our marriage."
John Hansen's new book, Song of the Waterwheel, documents his inspirational 28-year marriage to his now-late wife. Though they faced trials of their own, including near-divorce, financial collapse and Kristene's untimely death, the Hansens stayed strong in their love and faith.
Song of the Waterwheel chronicles the life-changing power of prevailing love in an entertaining tale of God at work behind the scenes of a seemingly doomed marriage. It offers realistic hope for those who seek to strengthen their relationships and obtain another chance at love and life.
The book also touches on themes such as:
The importance of abstaining from premarital sex
God as the author of human romance in marriage
Marriage should be seen as an adventure
Reinforcing traditional marriage
"Your marriage is your most precious asset on Earth," says Hansen. "Guard it, cherish it, nurture and feed it - and it will take care of you."
John Hansen is a self-employed private investigator and author of short stories about the outdoors. He is a Vietnam veteran who served two tours of duty and a retired career police officer of 21 years, 11 in detective work. He continues his police work through volunteerism for community protection groups.
Song of the Waterwheel
Author: John Hansen
Question: What inspired you to write Song of the Waterwheel?
John Hansen: About eight months after my wife's passing away, when the worst of the grief was subsiding, I began to feel very strongly that God wanted me to write the story of our marriage for the benefit of other marriages and single people. During the process of writing I became amazed at the dramatic difference God had produced in us between who Kristene and I were at the start of our marriage, and who we had become over its span of twenty-eight years. I was overwhelmed many times by the scope of the changes, and they were many, and I saw our marriage for what it was: a miracle marriage. As I continued to write the story I realised that what God did for us, He wants to do in the lives and marriages of others as well, for He is not a respecter of persons.
Question: What message do you hope Song of the Waterwheel provides to your readers?
John Hansen: It turns out that there is much more to the story that just one message. Readers have responded to me to say it spoke to them in a wide variety of ways; ways I had never thought about or purposed to write. The themes I had in mind as I wrote were: 1) God honours those who honour Him, so to be blessed by Him in your personal life and your marriage, put God first by living for Him. I hope that readers who are single will take note that Kristene and I abstained from premarital sex to honour God, and He greatly honoured us in return - for 28 years we enjoyed a marriage that was so solid that it became the model for other couples who knew us; 2) Become content with where you are in life and with what you have, but let God know your desires. When I finally did this and quit striving, He brought the right woman into my life, and His choice was far superior to any I would have made; 3) Loving your spouse unconditionally, staying committed through all trials and hardships produces a lifetime of rewards for all those who do, and has a positive effect on all those around you, including younger generations.
Question: What is your main key to a long and happy marriage?
John Hansen: Understand and accept that the demands of the daily routines of life and the familiarity it brings will grind down marital joy and romance. That is just a fact of life. Keeping marital love alive for the long haul is possible but it cannot be taken for granted - it must be purposely worked at - never stop romancing your spouse, never stop doing loving things, even when you don't feel like it. Pursue love with a vengeance.
Question: Why do you believe marriage should be seen as an adventure?
John Hansen: Firstly because God created marriage for us, and as the Ultimate Adventurer, He created human romance, including sex, to enhance marriage. As proof of this, the Bible mentions many examples of couples who were 'hot' for each other, whom God led onto unknown paths: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, to name a few. Secondly, marriage should be seen as an adventure because life itself is an adventure: 'We never know where the road of life will take us.' Each of these couples were led onto unexpected life journeys, and each kept their love for each other hot and passionate to the end. That is God's pattern.
Question: How will this book strengthen a couple's relationship?
John Hansen: All couples face the question of what will happen to us in the long haul - the coming decades of life. Song of the Waterwheel is a true story that sets an example for other couples of prevailing love that really worked - Kristene and I defied the odds against marital success by applying Biblical principles for maintaining a marriage relationship. Even as she was on her hospital deathbed, we were on fire for each other. Readers will appreciate that the story isn't preachy at all - it is told in rich, sometimes gritty real-life detail that others can easily identify with and adapt the principles it contains to enhance and protect their own marriage relationship.