Archive for February, 2010

“Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people.”– Schopenhauer

This phrase from Schopenhauer (a famous old German philosopher) appears at the real introduction of Glaen.

Now, bear in mind that broken clocks are right twice a day (the ones with hands); and, so too can German philosophers!

Think about your own life.  Look at your sorrows.  Do you see people in it?  If they were different or treated your in a different way would your sorrow diminish (or perhaps disappear)?

The truth is that this relationship stuff is absolutely everywhere.  It is at work, at home, in Starbucks, and especially around holidays!  We all struggle, and most of our struggles come down to one simple word: Manipulation.

Manipulation is where people are busy trying to get us to do something they want us to do, but they are trying get us to do it in a clandestine way.  By clandestine I mean ‘not straightforward’ and usually controlling.  How do they manipulate?   Well, words and actions are the best tools.  They are trying to ‘force us to do what they want’—just like a clever salesperson or a child having a tantrum.  Here’s the problem, we are doing it too!  We are using our upsets and our words to give other the ‘job’ of doing things we want in the way we want them done!  Manipulation kills relationships because it takes away our freedom to be ourselves…and…takes the exact same thing away from others.  Relationships happen when two people connect as who they really are!

You know you don’t like it…guess what…they don’t either!

GLAEN is largely about this issue and how to stop!  In the meantime, here’s a tip:

***Why not INVITE people to do things you want rather than DEMAND it?***

An invitation can be turned down, a demand cannot be turned down.  Inviting is very powerful and works with spouses, waitresses, lunch partners, etc.  Yet, it always must be a REAL invitation BEFORE you give it.   A real invitation means that you have pre-decided that they can turn you down!  You can sure HOPE they’ll accept the invitation, but they can sure say, “No.”

This isn’t the total cure to the ‘sorrows that come from our relations with others’–but it’s a great start!

Get after it,

Fred Lybrand

P.S.  Please get a copy of GLAEN and tell 5 others what it’s meant to you.  I heard of someone this weekend who just read it twice— and suddenly realized how he/she had been messing up his/her relationships!  That is exactly why this book was written the way it was.  Dozens and dozens have told us they’ve read it twice (once for the story-fun—and then they read it again for the principles).

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In Glaen we learn the story of a college grad student who sees a strange answer to prayer lead her on a path of discovery about how relationships work (and don’t work).  In the midst of her learning she keeps a journal of her observations and insights.

There is one particular insight that she doesn’t discover, instead she has to be told by the last person she could imagine learning it from.  Here’s the insight you’ll learn bout when you read Glaen:

Truth is the Lifeblood of Relationships

Actually that may not sound like much, but it is everything.  You know, when two people are in a relationship it can only be the REAL THING if both partners are REAL themselves.  Robert Fritz, a mentor of mine, shares about the math of relationships— where he means that both people have to say, “Yes,” before anything can happen.  If you get asked to dinner and say, “No,” then it is a NO.  So take that on to relating with someone.

If you are not acting like yourself (let’s say by being unusually nice, but less than honest), then that person really isn’t getting the real you.  So even if the other person is being authentically himself/herself, you aren’t in a real relationship because YOU AREN’T THERE!

This may sound confusing, but it really isn’t.  Closeness is about two people really getting to know (and I’d add,  “and  usually cheer for”) one another.  Well, unless the real you is there telling what you really think and feel, there is not a chance for real relating to happen.

“BUT WAIT!” you might say.  “What if the other person isn’t being truthful?’

Well, and I mean this in a gracious way, what business is it of yours?  You see, a lot of what we all get down to is some ‘well meaning’ behaviors which really are designed to get the other person to behave.  If you are like me, you have enough of a problem just getting yourself to behave!

Why not give just telling the truth and being true to yourself the room to be enough.  Invite the other person to join you…but then again, it really gets down to there choice.  There is one powerful style of communication that Glaen unveils…but we’ll have to learn about it later.

For now, go out there and see if you can find another person you could just simply tell the truth with… apart from demands or expectations concerning how he or she should respond, act, etc.

Grace and truth,

Fred Lybrand

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In GLAEN there is a scene where Glaen shows Annie a powerful secret by quoting someone named Emmons,


After a little debate about why it doesn’t matter who said it, Annie catches on.  There is a problem most of us have when we conflict with someone else.  Usually it is a battle of opinions (often about how someone should act toward us!).  The funny thing about opinions, however, is that they aren’t yet proved to either party.  Think about it…when you are pitching your opinion you are trying to get the other person to agree with you (because you’re right of course), and you tend to get a little ensconced [To settle (oneself) securely or comfortably] in your own view.

In truth, you and the other person really aren’t seeking agreement; instead, aren’t you seeking victory?

That’s where the coolness of defining terms comes in!  If you find a ‘just definition’ that you both agree to, well then you just agreed to something!

So, here’s the suggestion for chilling out conflicts: separate FACT from OPINION.

I mean, literally, try to talk about what the facts are and what the opinions are.  Quite normally you’ll see lots of agreement and clarity because you finally understand exactly what you are disagreeing about.  And, when it comes down to opinions, ask this magic question,


If you can’t…no argument…just a theory you get to cling to.  Nothing can be proved so it’s just a difference of opinion (like if the earth will be hit by an asteroid someday— it will or it won’t, but how knows?

If you can…go find out if your / their opinion is true or false…then the argument changes as you move from OPINION to FACT.  Oh, chiggers really AREN’T under our skin, so fingernail polish doesn’t really help.

So, there it is, just try it— What are the facts here?  What are the opinions here? What can we go prove for sure?

It’ll make a huge difference, but that’s just my opinion.


Fred Lybrand

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One of the essentials explored in GLAEN is about the two things you need for a complete love relationship.  Now, I know there are arranged marriages around the world that work just fine…but I’m talking about when you decide, make a choice, commit.  Also, some of you reading this just need to tuck the info away for ‘someday’— if you are not about to get married, then you are being a little silly working on it now.  Let’s face it, you don’t study for your finals at the beginning of the semester, do you?

But, when it’s time, how do you know it’s the right one?  Well, credit to Robert Fritz especially, but a relationship needs two thing:

1.  Chemistry

2.  Basis

I remember Josh McDowell used to say that you shouldn’t marry someone you can live with, but someone you can’t live without.  Well, that could overstate it, but you really should LIKE the other person.  You should be attracted.  They should ‘do it’ for you— you know, be someone who doesn’t totally gross you out!  CHEMISTRY, however, isn’t the whole ball of wax.  In fact, isn’t that what most people do…obsess on someone they find exciting?  You know, if all you have is chemistry, then love will be misunderstood as simply the feelings of a moment.  Chemistry alone will just tempt you to move from person-to-person.  And, frankly, there’s nothing lasting in that! [Warning…I believe if the chemistry is too much, meaning you completely lose your mind  and would do anything to get their love, then it really IS NOT a match.  In this situation the chemistry is a home-made bomb that will likely never let you be your true self on the way to blowing everything up!  For a sad example see the story of a lady getting surgery to look like Jessica Alba to win back her boyfriend]

The second thing you need to know for a Great Love Affair (again, when it is time for one) is BASIS.

The basis for a relationship has to do with Building a Life together.  A basis is about things like values and worldview.  What matter to you?  Do you want to live in the country or a city?  Big town or little town?  What are your religious beliefs?  What about having children?  How about standards of living, job commitments, etc.?  These are really questions about deal-killers.  Face it, if you are a committed Christian then marrying an Islamic Fundamentalist or an Atheist probably isn’t going to work.  How could it?

Those may sound like extremes, but here’s a simple insight for you:

If it is something that is so important to you that you won’t compromise, then it is a deal-killer.

Of course, why build a life of compromise?  Why not find someone with whom you have both chemistry and basis?  Look, you get who you get…and trying to change them is the last thing they want from you!

To learn more….Read GLAEN


Fred Lybrand

P.S. Amazon starts shipping GLAEN on February 16, 2009

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Healthy Family?  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Don’t Put Your Marriage Last (The Kid’s First Movement Error)

The second piece of bad advice for parents and employers is to“put your marriage last.”

In our “kids first” age it is hard to understand how the marriage itself is the most influential part of the family system. It shouldn’t really surprise us, since history has recounted its power since the Garden of Eden (oops…is that what happen to Cain and Abel?) where Adam and Eve, as the first couple, got off to a less than stellar start.

Common sense can save the day. Most of us have flown a good bit and have grown deaf to the pre-flight instructions. Among the most basic things we hear is, in case of a drop in cabin pressure, to “first place the oxygen mask on yourself before placing it on your child.”

The idea is that if you “pass out” first, you will not be able to help your child!

Now isn’t that the point with parenting? If your relationship with your spouse (even if you’re divorced) is decent, don’t you think that eases the pressure on your child/children…not to mention models something quite proper to them about relationships? When we put our marriage last, then the organizing priorities for the family unit are completely out of whack. Jody (my wife) and I, for example, keep our bedroom largely “off limits” to the kids. They really don’t know what all we do in there (the TV is on a lot!), but they know we come out pretty happy…and we are clearly a couple. Our guess is that it invites them to think, “I’m gonna get me one of them when I grow up!” Of course, we hope they do grow up, and eventually…leave!

If we obsess on the kids and don’t make time and room for us as a couple first, it throws an undue systemic burden on the children to be the center of attention and the keepers of all things “family.” In the more dysfunctional homes this is known as parentification…where the kid has to be the parent for the dysfunctional (for example, alcoholic) couple.

In business too, we can make this mistake. I’m a fan of servant-leadership myself, but the way it is pitched these days sounds like the employee is in charge of the business. The fact is that the leader also serves by actually leading, rather than leading by simply serving. Employees really like to understand their responsibilities and do a good job at them. Burdening them with the oversight and decisions can often create the kind of insecurities (not to mention politics) that undermine good work.

If you are over others or own your own business, it is a pretty strategic thing to make your best contributions your highest priorities. Perhaps you contribute best by selling, or planning, or schmoozing (strategic golf and fishing trips) — in any event, it is by doing your thing well that you allow for the best to arise in those who work under you. Of course, I’m not talking about input or ideation, I’m talking about the commonsense fact that if you follow your children or your employees, you probably aren’t functioning in the right way for your role.

Actually, all of this comes down to selfishness. If you really want to be selfish, model and lead well (put marriage first)…it is the best way to offer what the children or the employees need.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh…Gen 2:24 (ESV)
God’s best,


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A fresh look: How do you find the right person to marry?

Lybrand weaves an engaging story with a powerful view on true love

Click here to download the first chapter of Glaen!

In a world where love is romanticized by vampires and far-off adventures of undying love-at-first-sight, audiences don’t always have the opportunity to read stories that reflect God’s design for love. Author Fred Lybrand takes an in-depth look into relationships and dating, plus a little common sense for the real day-to-day world, in his latest book, Glaen.

Lybrand has chosen a unique and effective way to present his knowledge of human relationships and romance by creating a storyline that allows readers to walk alongside believable characters as they discover and explore an exciting and more effective way to relate to those with whom they will share life’s most intimate relationships. Having spent more than twenty-four years as a pastor, Lybrand is deeply involved in caring for people, and he wants others to know the freedom that can be found in relating to others truthfully and without pretense.

Glean introduces the character of Annie Hughes just as she suffers the loss of one of life’s foundational relationships—her parents’ marriage. As a graduate student, Annie suddenly finds herself at a loss to understand how any relationship finds and maintains lifetime staying power, especially a relationship as intimate as marriage.

When Annie meets her professor new writing professor, a rather unconventional teacher named Glaen, her life is set upon a path of both self-discovery and the exploration of romantic relationships. She begins this class with the intention to help others but quickly learns that she must first develop a teachable spirit, and her own faith proves to be the pivotal starting point for her journey. Annie then begins to honestly explore how men and women relate to one another as God designed them to do.

Lybrand’s character development of Annie Hughes allows him to outline several foundational truths. Using Annie’s “research” and “journal” entries as the vehicle to present thought-provoking ideas to the reader, Lybrand first uncovers the lies of a secular world-view and then counters those lies with the truth of God’s design for the marriage relationship. These observations are made even clearer as the reader observes Annie’s interaction with other couples and friends who are in the process of dating and considering marriage. As she questions her friends’ choices, she also takes an honest look at the relationships she is developing within her own life.

Annie’s discoveries are both simple and profound, and truth itself proves to be the foundation upon which all relationships hinge. The discovery that truth can only operate effectively within a relationship when people relate to one another without pretense and unrealistic expectations proves to be life-changing for the characters in many ways.

The life changing principles found in Glaen are the gems Lybrand wants readers to take from the story and experience in their own lives and relationships. Thus, Glaen is a book that demands a second reading, as those who read its story will want to go through it again and highlight and examine the truths Annie uncovers throughout her journey. This book will serve as a great teaching tool for parents to use with their children as well as for church leaders guiding couples who are seeking a more satisfying marriage relationship.

Glaen by Fred R. Lybrand

The Barnabas Agency   February 2010

ISBN: 978-0-578-04652-5/softcover/171 pages/$14.99

Website: www.glaen.com ~ Blog: www.glaen.wordpress.com

Become a fan of Glaen on Facebook!

For review copy and interview information, contact:

Audra Jennings

Senior Media Specialist

The B&B Media Group

1-800-927-0517 Ext. 104 – ajennings(at)tbbmedia.com

Visit us on the web at www.tbbmedia.com or our blog at www.tbbmedia.blogspot.com

We are also on Facebook and Twitter!

A Media Communications Company”

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A Novel Message on Romance, Love, and

Mother called the week before I met Glaen Breuch.

“So, that’s it?” I said with a tinge of anger.

“I’m afraid it is, dear,” a soft and matter-of-fact voice responded.

“Mom, you just want a divorce? You don’t want to work at it or get some counseling or something?” I pleaded.

“No Annie, it’s over. I’ve tried and tried, but your father just isn’t what I want for the rest of my life. Can’t you just be happy for me?” Mother

Suddenly Annie found herself floating away from the phone and experiencing what most of us think a drowning person experiences; a life full of
joy and promise, in the last moments of gasping for air, sees a replay of
that life. Annie saw the day her baby sister came home from the hospital. Mom and Dad were so happy, and Annie as a little girl couldn’t find her sister’s feet; she kept looking under the baby-carrier instead of under the blanket.
They all laughed for days.

Next, Annie remembered her granddaddy’s death and how her mother was so kind to her dad, and how her dad praised mother to everyone in the
small town where he grew up. Other memories flooded her mind, moving from ancient black-and-white scenes to vivid full-color images. Most recently she had been in church, seated between her parents, and basking in the wonder of family; hoping for a marriage like theirs.
But Annie snapped awake.

“Be happy for you?” I said with amazement. “How can I be happy for you? You are running away to ruin your relationship
with Dad and mess up our family forever. You seem happy enough. I don’t think you need my help.”

“Annie, my relationship with your dad is already ruined. Honey, the one way I’ve failed you was to not really help you understand about love. You were always your Daddy’s girl anyway, so I never could really tell you how I felt. I don’t think I understand relationships, but I’m going to learn about them. Honey, I know
you don’t understand relationships; just look at what’s happened with your boyfriends.”

Read the rest of the opening scenes of
by clicking below to download an eBook of the
first 19 pages:

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