The life of author Seth Adam Smith changed after he published the blog post “Marriage Isn’t for You” last November. A week after the post went viral, Smith and his wife, Kim, sat in a restaurant, each lost in their own thoughts.
“We didn’t know how to respond to everything that was happening,” Smith said. “We were just like, ‘What is happening and what is going to happen and how are we were going to deal with it?’”
In the post, Smith recounts his father’s advice about marriage and how it helped him realize Kim was the right person to marry.
“Marriage isn’t for you,” Smith’s dad had counseled. “It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you marry.”
Smith, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was raised in Utah, does not claim to be a marriage expert. In fact, he said that he has learned from good people, mainly his wife, his mom and his dad. It was the memory of his dad’s advice “you marry to make someone else happy” and Kim's unconditional love that led to the blog.
After the blog went viral, Shadow Mountain Publishing contacted Smith with the idea of a book. The hardcover title "Marriage Isn't For You: It's for the One You Love" (Shadow Mountain, $14.99) has recently been released.
Over 30 million people have read Smith’s story, and it has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Smith is editor-in-chief of ForwardWalking.com, where "Marriage Isn't for You" was first published. Since then, he has received book deal offers and appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Fox & Friends." The article was also discussed on several media outlets.
“It has been a wonderful gift,” Smith said of the response he received to his personal story. “To offer a really humbling moment in our life and then to be given so much more in return, it is just a real gift.”
He does not know why God has given him this gift, but he feels a great responsibility to do something in return. He has produced several short LDS films and his blog, sethadamsmith.com, contains inspirational, motivational and uplifting material that he hopes will inspire people to live better and happier lives.
The response to the article was mainly positive. Smith is excited when he hears how his story has helped relationships and how love really does make a difference. Of course, there were those who argued that if you love someone too much, you lose your identity. Or that you can’t trust everybody; nobody is perfect.
Smith agrees that no one is perfect, but he focuses on the positives that can be gained from loving and trusting others.
Smith offers tips, some learned from others and some he came to know by himself, about how to have a happy relationship.
1. Don’t be afraid to be the person who loves the most.
Smith admitted that trust and love were struggles for him. As he began to be more trusting and loving, it helped to ease his own anxiety and worries.
“When you love and trust somebody else, it gives them an unseen strength,” Smith said. “They want to reciprocate that trust.
If you are resentful, if you are fearful, if you are worried, the likelihood is increased of reciprocating that kind of negativity.”
2. Experiment with loving your spouse more than yourself.
Even if just for a day, Smith said to try it.
“Make their needs, their hopes, their dreams a priority,” he counseled. “You listen to them and you try to serve them.” Smith compared it to service in the sense that one will feel better as a result.
3. Love without conditions.
When Smith and his wife, Kim, married, they didn’t know the extent of his struggles with depression. But Kim made it a point to love without condition.
“She doesn’t try to come in and fix it; she doesn’t get angry,” he said. “She just gives me unconditional love.”
These actions mean more to Smith than anything, and the feeling of unconditional love motivates Smith to become a better person.
Coming in September, Smith will share another part of his life in the book “Your Life Isn’t for You: A Selfish Person’s Guide to Being Selfless,” through Berrett-Koehler Publishers, about depression, suicide and overcoming obstacles in life.
It contains a similar, universal message that if you really want to live your life, you have to give it away, he said. In a relationship, if you really want success, you can’t try to take it for yourself.
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“You have to stop thinking about yourself and you have to start thinking about the needs and wants and the hopes and the dreams of the person that you love,” he said.
If you go ...
What: Seth Adam Smith book signing
When: Friday, May 23, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Where: Deseret Book, 45 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Web: deseretbook.com, sethadamsmith.com
When: Saturday, May 24, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: 135 N. 545 West, Bountiful
When: Saturday, May 24, 1:30-3 p.m.
Where: Deseret Book, 1110 Fort Union Blvd., Midvale
When: Saturday, May 24, 4-5:30 p.m.
Where: Deseret Book, 230 E. University Parkway, Orem