An interview with Fred Lybrand, author of Glaen
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by Audra Jennings Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Q: The story of Glaen takes on a unique format. It’s not your everyday self-help book, but it isn’t just a novel either. Tell us about your approach to this book.
The thing I’ve finally taken note of as a writer is the simple fact that if someone doesn’t read the book, then he can’t benefit from the book. In thinking this through, it became obvious that people read fiction all the way through because it provides a story. Most of us don’t read non-fiction completely through unless it is exceptionally well written, or we have an I-must-complete-everything neurosis! Additionally, we tend to pass along fiction we enjoy.
So, Glaen is teaching, but it is teaching through a fictional story about a young lady on a quest to find the answers to healthy relationships. More to the point, I wrote it more as a movie. There are no chapters, as such; instead it moves through a series of scenes as the story unfolds.
Q: What do you hope Glaen will accomplish in re-thinking our approach to relationships between men and women?
Well, I’m thinking all relationships could use the principles uncovered in Glaen, but men-to-women relationships are where communication issues glare. My hope is that people will begin to recover genuine relating with one another—which can only come about by telling each other the truth. You know, most of us are busy with a bit of a “dance” where we are trying to get the other person to like us. This temptation turns us into somebody else in order to manipulate the other person.
There is a fresh power that comes into relating and finding the right partner when we are true to ourselves. Glaen is all about recovering and exploring the power of being true and truthful. Also, there is a bonus! When you are true to yourself, then the people who will like the “real you” will be attracted to you. We find the best mate when we don’t try so hard...that’s part of my hope for the book.
Q: You have five children, so you probably wrote something for them to read. But what is your broader hope for this book?
Well, handing off a perspective to help my children in their relationships is a big motivation, but there’s more. With my interactions in counseling, churches, and the business world, I can tell you that we need a heavy dose of truthfulness and genuine relating with one another. Hollywood continues to give us the false impression that just cheating and “cycling through” relationships is the way to go. I know everyone won’t change, but imagine the health that could come about if we had an outbreak of honesty and truth in relating with one another? Finally, an epidemic I’d like to be a part of.
Q: It takes the divorce of Annie’s parents to cause her to really take a deep look into relationships. Why do you think it takes dramatic circumstances to force people to honestly look at relationships?
I think we all share in this kind of experience. Who hasn’t had a crisis help her rethink what is happening with her life? I think we basically seek comfort, which I don’t think is wrong in the least. In fact, a comfortable healthy relationship should be enjoyed not “fixed”. God seems to use discomfort to invite us to learn, grow, help, and act. Just look at Haiti and the outpouring of kindness since the earthquake; before the discomfort not many people thought much about Haiti. Well, relationships are much the same...but why wait for the earthquake? Everyone knows there’s more to enjoy with better relating.
Q: Is there really much hope given the disposable attitude toward marriage we hear about all over the news? Don’t they say 50% of the marriages fail these days?
It seems to me that hope is always birthed in a context of what we don’t have. The disposable attitude toward marriage inspires me for something better. A few years ago, Mr. Gallup pointed out that the divorce rate really isn’t 50% (it’s more like 25%) because statistics tend to be misused by so many. Nonetheless, don’t we all know that a 1-in-4 chance of your long-term relationship failing is a crummy statistic anyway? On the one hand, be encouraged and go for marriage if it is what you want...but on the other hand, why not get a copy of Glaen and get on the path to healthy relating?
Q: Glaen is big on telling the truth. But, it seems no one is really free to express truth within relationships. Why is that so? Why is it so hard to be honest?
Honesty is hard because we aren’t being honest for the right reason. I’ve noticed so often that people tend to complain at how others react when “they’re just being honest.” Why complain? What does someone’s reaction have to do with your honesty? You see, being honest is about a value of being true to yourself. But, it is also about a value of respecting the freedom of others. As long as someone has to like whatever you say, then you are on the hook to say it for them rather than for the truth...and, worse yet, they are on the hook to say they “like” what you say...even if they have to lie.
Basically, it’s hard to express the truth because we all act like we’re at a dinner party trying our best to be nice and to be loved by everyone there. Wow...sometimes it really is just too fake out there, isn’t it?
Q: Asking God for direction in every area of our lives is key to much of what takes place in Annie’s story. In fact, her whole story is an answer to a prayer. Do you think people overlook including God’s guidance in relationships?
I actually think people spend time at the beginning asking God for guidance, but after they are in a relationship, it usually isn’t until the end that they seek God’s help. You know, the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing”—sounds like a really good idea concerning your relationships and what you could learn.
Q: In the area of dating, you spend some time showing that there are problems with “serial dating” and “courting.” Why, and what do we tell our kids?
I don’t want to overstate the case, but generally there are two extremes out there. One is serial dating, where we go through relationships like a serial killer. Courting comes along as a counter to this problem. However, in most approaches to courting, the couple is trying to guarantee the success of the relationship...and, in fact, often make a commitment to one another before they really know each other. The truth is that we can’t guarantee a successful relationship...but we can put the odds in our favor, and Glaen seeks to do just that.
Q: You say there are two things that make for a good marriage—chemistry and basis. What are these and how do they help?
Chemistry and basis are terms I believe we all understand. Chemistry is the obvious one. I mean, does the person do it for you or not? Are you attracted or do they gross you out (sorry)? In a free society, I can’t make much sense out of trying to have a relationship with someone you aren’t attracted to. Yet, if we stop with just chemistry it will be pretty shallow indeed. Basis means that we have a foundation, or basis, for building a life together. It is much better to find out that there are deal killers before you make a long term commitment. It is hard to imagine how one who will never live in the city can build a life with someone who will never live in the country. Glaen helps you begin to think these sorts of things through.
Q: You state in the opening of the book that this idea was born out of discussions “a couple of dads had.” Can you elaborate on the birth of this unique book idea?
Between the two of us we have 11 children. As we talked over the years it became apparent that we were saying things that we really hadn’t heard anywhere. Essentially, we basically learned things the hard way. As dads we really wanted our kids to skip our mistakes, challenges, and struggles. Even today, we want them to go even further than we can ever make it in healthy relationships. So, with all that on the line, working on a book made sense.
Q: Clearly today’s society needs to take an honest look at marriage through the lens of God’s design, but how will stories like Glaen be a catalyst for change?
I have this simple idea that it is really hard to think straight and walk crooked. With that in mind, what literature like Glaen can do for us is to open our minds to better possibilities. Glaen is a tool to invite folks to re-think their assumptions about relationships and relating. Amazing things happen when we think things through...we can actually change for the better!
Glaen by Fred R. Lybrand
The Barnabas Agency February 2010
ISBN: 978-0-578-04652-5/softcover/171 pages/$14.99
Website: www.glaen.com ~ Blog: www.glaen.wordpress.com
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Audra Jennings is Senior Media Specialist at The B & B Media Group. Since 1987, The B & B Media Group, Inc. has used its broadcasting, marketing and advertising experience to provide the specialized and strategic publicity necessary to achieve the public relations goals of each client. The Barnabas Agency, a division of The B & B Media Group, Inc., is a proven provider of exceptional public relations and personal management services for authors, speakers, ministries and organizations.
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