Dr. Arnold, describe yourself for our visitors.
My sense is that we are best described by our passions and what we spend our discretionary time doing. If this is true then the best description of me is someone who loves teaching about relationships. I am a relationship educator, speaker, author who uses my own faith-based lens to make sense of the world (and relationships) around me.
My life purpose is to intellectually and emotionally challenge relationships to pursue God’s ultimate plan and purpose for them. To that end, I founded Discovering Family International (DFI)—a business and ministry dedicated to building relational equity in meaningful relationships. Through DFI, I conduct workshops largely based on my Relationship ROCKS model. One of the things that makes me happiest is to see couples transition from crisis and difficulties to an enjoyable, loving marriage.
I have been married for more than 21 years to my college sweetheart. We have two wonderful children, Quilan and Kyrsten. We live in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. I have a PhD in Social and Organizational Psychology, Master’s degrees in Social and Organizational Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Systems Engineering. My undergraduate degree is in Computer Information Systems.
How do you find time to connect with God?
I think my most felt times with God are when I am preparing for a sermon or bible study. During these times I feel a intense desire to make sure that God is directing my thoughts and preparation process. So, I think that I am more tuned in to God. Other times that I clearly feel God’s presence are when I’m writing, particularly relationship material that I’m referencing aspects of the Bible. When I engage in bible study, I make my best effort to study deeply. I look up the Hebrew/Greek meanings of words to try to get my best sense of what God is saying. When I do, I feel like I can almost hear his voice audibly.
Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?
My favorite verse is Proverbs 18:16 (KJV) “A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men”
Tell us about your current book, Marriage ROCKS for Christian Couples.
Marriage ROCKS for Christian Couples is a unique marriage resource. This book integrates foundational biblical principles of redemption, offering, covenant, testimony, and service with key relationship precepts which serves as both a marriage enrichment and spiritual formation resource. The book is premised upon the notion that your marriage does not belong to you—at least not primarily. Your marriage is a tool that God uses to shape you, your spouse, and your community into the people that he has purposed them to be. While the book is explicitly targeting Black marriages, the model is broadly applicable across cultures. The book, however, addresses cultural dynamics and idiosyncrasies that will make it particularly valuable to the African American community. ROCKS is an acrostic for Redemption, Offering, Covenant, Knowledge, and Sacred Space. Each of these rocks presents a biblical vignette with David, Gideon, Joshua, Jacob, and Jesus to show how key spiritual principles will elevate your marital intimacy and vice versa.
What influenced you to write this book?
While I have found it rewarding to work in marriage ministry and in the counseling setting with couples, I still yearned to have a clear sense of how God wanted to use my wife Dalia and me to minister to marriages on a broader scale. During our 40 days of purpose in 2007, I prayed for revelation as to how exactly God wanted us to proceed. Marriage ROCKS was literally birthed during this time. In a real sense, I feel that God gave me this book to put on paper. I am just a steward of it. On a natural level, I was influenced to write it as my own spiritual journey—looking to better understand and value the role that my wife has in my spiritual and natural develop (and I in hers).
What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
- Lesson 1: You experience your best marriage when both partners look to please the other more than themselves
- Lesson 2: Your marriage belongs to God primarily. When partners submit the marriage to him they experience the most rewarding human relationship that exists
- Lesson 3: Marriage is a spiritual journey. Your marriage is God’s tool for spiritual formation—shaping you into the vessel for which he designed you. Conversely, as you become more spiritual intimate with God, your marital intimacy is enhanced
- Lesson 4: When shared with others, both the positive and negative experiences in your marriage hold the power to transform culture, seal divine destiny for your children, and enrich your own marriage
- Lesson 5: Marriage ROCKS is more than a book. It is a decision to be part of a movement to make God the central focus of your marriage