Janet: Welcome, Ainsley, and thanks for taking time to join us. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Would you tell us how you met your fiancé?
Ainsley: Thanks! It is pretty exciting, and more than a little stressful, as I’m sure you can imagine. Well, Richard and I have been dating for five years. We met at a mental health conference, actually. I wasn’t sure what to think of him at first, but he was smart, attractive. (Nervous laugh) Then one date led to another…
Janet: How did you know Richard was “the one”?
Ainsley: Yeah, um… That’s kind of an interesting question. You know how they say you should pray before making big decisions? Let’s just say, I’m doing a lot of praying now. This whole, “Til death do you part” thing totally freaks me out. Of course, it doesn’t help that my mom has fallen in love more times than… If my best friend were here, she’d have a witty analogy for that one, but I don’t. Let me put it this way, my mom falls in and out of love a lot! Needless to say, before I say my vows, I want to make sure God’s behind it. Not that I’m worried or anything.
Okay, maybe I am. A little.
Janet: Are you enjoying the preparations, or is wedding planning stressful for you?
Ainsley: Wow, yeah. I’m stressed, nervous, frustrated. Of course, it doesn’t help that Richard’s mom thinks she has to have her high-society hands into everything. There must be some sort of social rules regarding these things—who you invite, how many people you invite, what floral company you use, where you book the reception. Funny, and I thought it was about celebrating two people’s love for one another. (sigh) I’m sorry. I’m normally not this negative. I’m just a little stressed. Oh, right. I already said that, didn’t I?
Janet: It’s natural to be a bit nervous. What does your family think of Richard? Of you two getting married?
Ainsley: My mom loves him, though I’m a little worried she mostly likes his savings account. You see, she’s never been too good with money. In fact, she’s quite a bit in debt, which wouldn’t bother me if I hadn’t co-signed on her Visa account. I know, I know, the Bible says never co-sign. That was another area I really should’ve prayed about—before signing my name in legal ink.
As for my dad, honestly, we don’t talk much.
Janet: Could you tell us a bit about your background, and what you do for a living?
Ainsley: Sure! Like I said, I’m a pharmaceutical representative for a company that sells medication for schizophrenic patients. Although I hope to go back to school to get a pharmacy D degree, if I can save up enough money. Or win a few scholarships. Last recession left so many unemployed, some who’d been with the same company for decades. Others who were fresh out of college with scads of educational debt. I figured I needed to try and find a recession proof career, and well, people will also get sick, so…
Janet: How about some of your likes and dislikes?
Ainsley: I love music. I always have. Back when I was a kid and things got crazy, I’d go into my room or onto the back porch, and I’d bring my Walkman. You know what those were right? (laughs) I could listen for hours, and if no one was around, I’d usually sing. That’s when I feel closest to God, actually.
I also love anything chocolate and very sweet, very creamy coffee drinks. Oh, and soft, fuzzy slippers, old blue jeans, and t-shirts.
I’ll fit right in to Richard’s high-society lifestyle, huh? (laughs) But what do they say about opposites attracting?
Janet: Being opposites may bring some challenges, but that’s what deepens your relationship. You’ll be fine. Is faith a part of your life? Why or why not?
Ainsley: Absolutely! I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Far from it, actually. My mom’s one of those new-agers who sort of mixes and matches her beliefs to her mood of the day. When I hit third grade, things got really ugly around my house, and I felt swallowed up by it all. Sort of like I’d turned invisible. But I had a teacher, her name was Mrs. Eldridge. She reached out to me. Over time, we formed a friendship, and she began to tell me about Christ. She even started bringing me to events at her church, and soon, she started taking me with her every Sunday. Of course, this was before there were so many rules regarding student-teacher relationships. Anyway, I accepted Christ, and she’s remained my spiritual mentor ever since. 🙂
Janet: What a wonderful gift from God! If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?
Ainsley: Make sure every child had enough to eat and a safe and loving place to call home.
Janet: What makes you happy? And what scares you?
Ainsley: I’m afraid of the dark and becoming like my mother. Or more accurately, of following in her footsteps and reaching the end of my life with nothing to show for it but debt and a bunch of broken relationships.
Janet: What do you like to do to recharge?
Ainsley: Listen to music while sipping hot tea. Or reading Scripture. Both, actually. 🙂
Janet: I’m with you on that! Tell us something you appreciate about where you live.
Ainsley: I love the Midwest with its distinct seasons and close-knit neighborhoods. I especially love how my neighborhood looks in the fall. We’ve got a bunch of old growth trees, and around October, their leaves turn the most beautiful oranges, yellows, and reds. But I love winter, too, especially after a new snow that blankets the ground, undisturbed. Or seeing cardinals flitter through the barren tree limbs.
Janet: If you could say one thing to your author, Jennifer Slattery, what would it be?
Ainsley: Thank you for continually moving me toward full surrender. That’s the best place I could ever be.
Janet: What do you think will be the biggest change when you’re married?
Ainsley: If, you mean? Oh, oh, oh! Um, wait… You’re interviewing Richard next, aren’t you? Please don’t mention my, uh, cold feet. That’d only stress him out more, and he has enough going on already, with his upcoming book launch and everything.
Janet: I won’t say a word. It’s been great getting to know you, Ainsley, and all the best to you and Richard in your marriage.
[Here’s the link to Richard’s interview.]
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. Purchase link: Amazon.com
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé.
To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Beyond I Do releases August, 2014 from New Hope Publishers.