Michelle McKinney Hammond is the best-selling author of "How to Get Past Disappointment" and "A Woman's Gotta Do What a Woman's Gotta Do." In her latest book, "How to Get the Best Out of Your Man," Hammond offers the story of Queen Esther to help women have a better relationship with their men.
The Christian Post: What makes this book different from the rest of those that you have written about relationships?
Hammond: I really wanted to focus on the specific issue of influence, because I feel at this particular time, women's awareness of theirs has been lost. Women feel powerless or not as appreciated, as they should be; a lot of that is pushed in the media, but I think that we need to get back to the understanding that God created us to be powerful.
We can get back there by having dialogues with that particular understanding, and relaxing so that we can see the fruits of our labors. I think we work too hard; there's this myth that we are supposed to be all things to all people at all times, and that's not true. That myth is a distraction from who we are and what we are meant to do. It leaves us not taking care of ourselves a lot! If we just got back to the simple basics of taking care of ourselves, knowing who we are as women, and knowing how to wield our power.
CP: What did you see in Queen Esther that you didn't in other Biblical women?
Hammond: I think I saw more principles at work in how she handled her situation. When I read the story, I don't think I would have handled myself so graciously. I thought, "Let me take a look at her and see her methodology." She got above and beyond what she went in for … the fruit of her work demanded that I take another look at her. Esther took some very interesting steps to achieve her goals.
First, she didn't rush into the situation even though it was an emergency. She took the time to cultivate the right atmosphere for him to have the right attitude [and an] open heart. She submitted him to God- we often don't let God to curry favor for us, to go ahead of us to set the way for us.
Then she made sure the atmosphere was set by making him feel significant. We should make our partners feel powerful, which doesn't take anything away from us, so why not? I think that strong-arm tactics don't work in life- when people don't like you, they don't help you. It's important for that person to feel significant and served, so that they are challenged in their own heart to serve you. When people do things for me, something rises up inside of me to ask, "What can I do for you?" If they ignore me, I'm not that interested in their needs. In the pursuit of what we need, we don't want to be so oblivious that we don't see the needs of the other person.
Finally, Esther had perfect timing- we live in an instant-gratification society and push away the solution because it isn't coming quickly enough. We need to leave enough room for the other person to feel as if it is his idea, which creates a sense of importance. Again, we lose nothing by doing so, except to recognize how important that is to the other person.
CP: Do you see this book as a preventative guide against divorce or separation?
Hammond: Most definitely- in the case of people in these extremes- someone has not felt served, significant, or empowered to be the proper partner for him or her.
CP: How much accountability do you place on women's roles in the relationship?
Hammond: I think it's 100/100- you have to go the extra mile in a relationship that you want to last. That's just part of the package. If we buy into the TV movie myth, we're in trouble. Relationships require work, sacrifice, laying down your life; it's not about you, but it's about two people becoming one, and that's a journey that takes place every day. You do that by first submitting to God, and then submitting to one another, which is huge. The bottom line is that we are called to submit one to another, which I think is basically saying that you are being honest and willing to meet the needs of the other person.
"How to Get the Best Out Of Your Man: The Power of a Woman's Influence" is available now from Amazon or other bookstores.
To learn more about Michelle McKinney Hammond, click here.