Rick's Articles

Create Great Stories

“Carve your name on hearts, not on tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” — Shannon L. Alder

Family“Tell me a story, Daddy!” “Read it just one more time, please, Daddy!” “Daddy, this is my favorite part in the book! Can you read it again?”

Oh, how I miss those words!

I loved the times when I would read to my kids. It was such a special time, a time of connecting, a time when they were snuggled up to me while we were caught up in the story we were reading. It was our time.

Both of the kids would have a favorite book that we would end up reading a kazillion times, to the point that we knew it by heart! Emily’s was “Beauty and the Beast,” and Erik’s was “Aladdin.” In both of the stories there was a young couple facing fierce foes, while at the same time they were discovering that they were stronger than what they thought!
And, they were stronger together than they were apart!

A great story has certain elements in it. A great story has a compelling plot. Plot is a conflict or a struggle that the main character goes through. Then there is a theme. The story is trying to tell us something that might help us in our own lives. A great story has structure – a beginning, an end, written in present, past or future tense.

Then, there is the setting of the story. It’s the place and time your story is taking place in. And a great story has to have strong characters. Your characters need to be memorable and relatable, even with their flaws and weaknesses, characters to care about.

The best stories have a strong theme, structure, a gripping plot and unforgettable characters. Our marriages are a story that we are sharing with our children, how we, as a couple, are dealing with the plot or struggles we face. We hope the theme in our relationship will help them in their lives. We hope to provide a healthy structure in our home for our kids, and that our character is one that they would want to emulate.

Building a great marriage is much like building a great story. Both have important elements. We have just listed elements of a great story. Some of the elements of a great marriage are:

  • Commitment to each other and to the welfare and happiness of each family member is a core characteristic.
  • Strong coping ability, where family members have each other’s backs and deal with bad situations in positive ways.
  • They have a transparency. They are open and honest and are able to easily communicate and feel safe in doing so.
  • They have a sense of humor. They are able to laugh freely, but their humor is never caustic, embarrassing or cutting.
  • They show a mutual support for each other, encouraging, ministering to each other, showing respect and never devaluing the other in front of anyone, especially their children!

We are telling a story with our marriages.

Those stories will be the ones that our children will pass down to their children. Travis Smiley once wrote that “the choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.” Live lives individually and as couples, so that when they are passed down through the generations, you will have no regrets, a story your children will want to pass down to their children, a story to retell a kazillion times!