LOPEZ: Why is it important to point out in a book on happiness that “Nobody gets out of here without pain or sorrow along the way”? Isn’t that obvious? Or is that, in fact, a key sticking point in many if not most lives?
HEWITT: It is obvious, but so is the denial of most people about the fact that suffering is ahead, some very awful days. The failure to prepare for it is an invitation to even greater sorrow. Awareness of its inevitability also makes joy in the day we are in all the more appreciated and real.
LOPEZ: What do you mean when you write that “people don’t work hard enough at making marriage worth it for their spouse”? What’s a good New Year’s resolution here?
HEWITT: The cliché is that every spouse’s most important job is to get his or her mate to heaven. But even a secularist ought to realize that a happy wife means a happy life. Working hard at making your spouse happy isn’t a guarantee of a successful marriage, but it is certainly a precondition, and you are right about the material of excellent New Year’s resolutions in that subject.
Thomas Nelson suggested we bring the book out on December 31 for this reason: This is the season of resolution making and the book is a prompt for making the best ones.
LOPEZ: Can we really still say there is such a thing as “rightly ordered love”?
HEWITT: Yes, it is true. It is set out in Scripture and church teaching, and though it is a hard thing to achieve and maintain, it is very much a reality we are enjoined to pursue, and not just with spouses, but also with family, friends, and colleagues. I quote from Lewis’s The Weight of Glory twice for this very reason.
LOPEZ: You have unique religious affiliations, describing yourself as an “evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian.” What do you mean when you write that “the Catholic heart still beat”?
HEWITT: I attend Mass on Saturday evening or early Sunday and then my Presbyterian church on Sunday as well. I left the Catholic Church for 15 years, but throughout that time the deeply ingrained training of a parochial education never let me rest quietly in even the best-led Protestant churches because of the differences in sacrament and liturgy. It is a good thing to spend time on both banks of the river, but if you grow up on one side, you never really leave your love of it behind.