Two months after we received the green light to write our second book, See-Through Marriage, there happened upon our hometown a snowstorm of historic proportion. Snow isn’t rare in our area, but Pacific Northwestern municipalities are far from equipped to handle anything more than a few inches of it at one time.

When local news outlets warned of a “crippling snowfall,” they weren’t kidding. Most residents of our city and those surrounding us were relegated to staying home. That, plus intermittent power outages, meant there was ample opportunity for what I will call “recreational married people activities.” We made good and productive use of our time.

Six weeks later, as we prepped to record that week’s podcast episode—and between carving out moments to craft this narrative—Selena plopped a positive pregnancy test on my desk. This was not unwelcome or even wholly unexpected, but it was certainly not anticipated in that moment. In the past it had taken us longer to get pregnant, but this time was different. The marvelous blessing of such a “problem” is not lost on us, but it was jarring at this particular season of life.

Now, after writing our previous book, Fierce Marriage, while Selena was pregnant with our second daughter, we’d vowed to each other that we’d never again write a book while she was with child. Doing so made it too hard for her to think clearly (pregnancy hormones are real!) or for us to collaborate effectively with a toddler at home. Regardless, it would seem that God has a sense of humor about these things, especially when we’re so cavalier and claim so much agency over the big, important things in our lives. So we found ourselves cowriting another book with a little one on the way—this time with not one but two other small children in the mix. 

Coincidentally, that was also the first year we decided to homeschool our oldest (Dela, age five) and by default, our youngest at the time was brought along for the ride (Clementine, age two). Since I work from home as well, this meant our entire family was home for nearly every hour of every day. Rain, snow, or shine, there we all were. Good days and bad, in sickness and in health. We were all home, all the time.

Add to the above a large dose of family hardship, financial frustration, our new post as chaplains for a minor league baseball (MiLB) team, me starting grad school, and everyday life in between, and the result was an imperfect, stretched couple, begging and pleading for God’s help.

Writing a book is challenging enough with an abundance of time and silence! How were we supposed to think, research, synthesize, and articulate ideas about such an important topic in a helpful and edifying manner when life was throwing so much our way? Nevertheless, writing this exact book in that exact season was our lot.

Thankfully, it is in our weakness when God’s strength becomes undeniably known. It is at our end where he begins his best work. And it is in our moments of dim, hope-starved desperation where the light of his eternal wisdom bursts brightly forth for us all to see.

It was against this backdrop—real, chaotic life—that we planned, prepped, and penned these paragraphs and pages. Never before had our lives felt more overwhelming, exhausting, and out of our control. Still, the burden we felt burned hot in our hearts: the time has come for married couples far and wide—including you—to embrace true, gospel-centered, Christ-fueled, and biblically grounded transparency.

Living transparently can, and should, be thematic of our life and marriage—both for our immediate flourishing and for God’s eternal glory.

Nothing has taught us more about loving each other more like Christ than learning to live see-through lives. There were many hard lessons learned, and if the process of writing this book is any indication, there is never a good or convenient time to begin the journey. Still, good things never come cheap and they’re always worth fighting for.

What is it about being known that we find so inviting?

How transparent are you?

Are you truly known by God, your spouse, yourself, and others?

How do you know?

We live in a time when vulnerability is stylish but true transparency is exceedingly rare. Every step you take toward transparency is a step away from the crowd.

Still, step with confidence.

Stick to the process.

More than anything, trust Jesus. He already knows everything about you, and yet he loves you without reservation or hesitation. You are seen and loved, friend! It’s from that place of confidence you can be seen by each other and learn to love as you are loved in Christ.


Excerpted from See-Through Marriage by Ryan and Selena Frederick. Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2020. Used with permission.