When you got married, did you feel pressure because of who your father is, to have a particularly "Christian," "spiritual," or "perfect" marriage?
Yes, I did. When you grow up in the ministry—my father [noted evangelical Ravi Zacharias] wasn't a pastor, but I know pastors' families say this as well—you function somewhat in a bubble. There's wonderful blessings in that. But the other side of that is that people put a lot of expectations on you, on the entire family. And I think we put those expectations on ourselves too, you feel like you're an example whether you want to be or not. So yes, I think there is that pressure, and as Christians in general there's that pressure where we think that somehow how perfectly our lives turn out is in direct conjunction with how spiritual you are, how your relationship with God is. That's where, especially around marriage, there's a lot of mystery that marriage is enshrouded in as far as what to expect. That's why I wanted to write this book to give women a forum to speak openly, with integrity—there's definitely no spouse-bashing—but to be honest about the questions they have, the struggles they have, the times they're confused, the things they know, the things they still don't know.
Do you think honesty is a quality that's getting lost within marriages? I have been married seven years. I was a Christian when I got married, but my faith was completely different. I think I have a different picture of God now than I did when I got married. For me, it's a truer picture. Again, you referenced the pressures because of the family, and growing up with my dad. I saw a lot of formulas in my faith before, because I wanted to do the right thing and be a good daughter and be a good Christian. Through being married, because your expectations aren't always met, and things aren't the way you maybe thought they were, as easy as you thought they were, it allowed me to see a clearer picture of God. I have a more intimate relationship with Him, and part of that is that I've learned that the way that I am in my earthly relationships, I mirror that in my relationship with God. So if I can't be honest, if I can't be authentic in my earthly relationships, I tend to go to God with the same attitude, and not being real—even though of course He knows the real me anyway. But I think if you want true intimacy, honesty is very important.
I think my generation—I'm 31—tends to more put things out on the table. I know in conversations I've had with my grandmother and her generation, there were many things that just weren't talked about, and you sort of suffered in silence and had your struggles. Now I think there's more openness. But again, we feel it needs to be perfect because we're Christians, and if you are a Christian and trying to honor God through that aspect of your life, you're afraid of your spirituality being judged. I think that's why people are hesitant to be honest. Within marriages you're two human beings that aren't perfect, and you're still in process. So the relationship you create together is going to be one that reflects the both of you.
You have said that your faith has changed since you got married. How so?
Have you ever encountered a couple you felt should not have gotten married?
[I had that opinion about] one woman I interviewed for the book—but when we talked, she really opened up. She really allowed me inside her marriage, to see a picture of that. I was amazed at how wonderful a relationship she and her husband had, and how she had grown as a person in her relationship with him, and she credited him with a lot of that, the way that he invested in who she was as a person. It was something I actually didn't see from the outside. It's so easy to judge other people's lives. That's when I was really convicted that you just don't know. When you're looking from outside a marriage, it's easy to stand in a place of judgment, and I don't think that's our place. The truth is, it's easy to make that judgment and say they shouldn't have gotten married—but you never know how God is going to use that in their lives, and that's maybe the path that He has for them, but maybe it's not the path He has for you. And He brings us all towards Him in a different way.