Mar­garet Ruther­ford

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - WHAT'S UP - — BECCA MARTIN-BROWN BMARTIN@NWADG.COM

This book is meant to be a re­minder of some ba­sic truths about the po­ten­tials of long-term com­mit­ment.

And it is meant to af­firm the im­por­tance of that com­mit­ment. Plain and sim­ple.”

That’s Mar­garet Ruther­ford’s promise about her first book,

“Mar­riage Is Not for Chick­ens.” Re­leased April 27, it was cre­ated ini­tially as a blog post, the Fayetteville psy­chol­o­gist ex­plains.

“When it ap­peared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post, to my amaze­ment, the post went wildly vi­ral with over 200,000 ‘likes’ and 53,000 shares,” Ruther­ford says. “Many peo­ple com­mented or wrote to me, ‘How can I get a copy of this?’ I’ve spent the last two years work­ing with two won­der­ful pho­tog­ra­phers, Chris­tine Mathias and Deb­o­rah Strauss — one of my home­town friends from Pine Bluff — cre­at­ing im­ages that would deepen the un­der­stand­ing and poignancy of my words.”

Ruther­ford will read from her book at a re­cep­tion from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thurs­day at Night­bird Books in Fayetteville. Here she an­swers three ques­tions for What’s Up:

Q. Was there an in­ci­dent or life event that in­spired the book?

A. I write blog posts weekly for my web­site. The week I wrote the post, now three years ago, my hus­band was about to have a se­ri­ous op­er­a­tion and it was right be­fore our 24th wed­ding an­niver­sary. My eyes still get misty think­ing about what we were fac­ing, and what my mar­riage with him had meant to me. My words, how­ever, are not sim­ply about our own mar­riage, but what I’ve learned from be­ing a psy­chol­o­gist for over 25 years.

Q. How did you know you wanted to be a coun­selor? And when?

A. In 1984, I was a pro­fes­sional vo­cal­ist in my 20s, but be­gan vol­un­teer­ing in Dal­las at their do­mes­tic vi­o­lence shel­ter, an­swer­ing the cri­sis line. I ended be­com­ing the vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor and loved the work. It was then I re­al­ized that, although I adored singing, I wanted to be in­volved with help­ing oth­ers. I went back to school, earned a mu­sic ther­apy de­gree, but was drawn to psy­chol­ogy. I re­ceived my Ph.D. in 1992. It was a busy eight years, and changed my life for­ever.

Q. Talk about some of the other medi­ums where your writ­ing is pub­lished? A. My writ­ing has been fea­tured on The Huff­in­g­ton Post, Reader’s Di­gest,

Psy­chol­ogy To­day, The Gottman Blog, Preven­tion, The Mighty, The Good Men Project, Midlife Boule­vard, and oth­ers. And I’ve started a pod­cast, “SelfWork with Dr. Mar­garet Ruther­ford,” which is a fun way to try and reach out to a whole other au­di­ence. My mis­sion is to en­cour­age con­ver­sa­tion and open­ness about men­tal health is­sues.

Ruther­ford

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