Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby & Spouse in the House

Posted November 12, 2021 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Becky Melby, Christian, Cynthia Ruchti, giveaway, nonfiction / 22 Comments

Having your spouse home all. the. time. isn’t just for retirees anymore. With more people working from home than ever before in my lifetime, many of us (including yours truly) have had to adjust to sharing their space 24-7. Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby are here today to chat about their new book, Spouse in the House, and how being novelists helped them become better spouses, too!

SPOUSE IN THE HOUSE: Rearranging Our Attitudes to Make Room for Each Other
AUTHORS: Cynthia Ruchti & Becky Melby
GENRE: Inspirational Non-Fiction / Marriage
RELEASE DATE: September 21, 2021
PAGES: 173

A frank and funny look at what to do when together is too close

Two’s company, especially for those who love each other. So what happens when–due to retirement, working from home, or even running a business together–spouses find that being in the same space all the time is awkward, complex, annoying, and just plain challenging? How can partners co-exist without co-exhausting each other?

Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby know all too well how adjusting to a new, all-the-time closeness can cause the bliss of marriage to form blisters. Drawing from their experiences, and from men and women across the country in the same situation, the authors take a deep breath and dive into the root causes of the discomfort. They dig into the ways God’s Word addresses the topic, and they offer practical tips for learning the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even physical steps that can help readers replace irritation with peace.

For any Christian who wants their home to be a refuge of peace and serenity for all–not just themselves–and who wants to know they aren’t alone in the mental and physical claustrophobia of too much togetherness, Spouse in the House is a vulnerable, charming, and pragmatic breath of hope.


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but i thought you wrote fiction

by Cynthia Ruchti & Becky Melby, authors of Spouse in the House


When a novelist sets out to write a nonfiction book, one would think she shifts gears completely. Or maybe even climbs into an entirely different type of vehicle. But the commonalities between writing those two seemingly opposite disciplines became all the more evident to us when Becky Melby and I, both primarily novelists, tackled a topic dear to our hearts in writing the nonfiction Spouse in the House: Rearranging Our Attitudes to Make Room for Each Other.

Was there a plot? Oh, sure. He’s Home All The Time! Conflict? Enough to get twenty chapters’ worth. Heroes and heroines? On most of the pages. Dialogue cues and miscues? Absolutely. Resolution? Ah, yes, sweet resolution.

The two of us have been talking about how our experience as novelists actually worked to our advantage in the living out of Spouse in the House, as well as the creation of it.

I’ve been impressed by how what a novelist knows or learns to develop to understand and flesh out their characters applies to a health marriage relationship. When creating the main characters for a novel, a novelist asks questions like:

  • What’s his or her wound?
  • What’s his motivation and end goal?
  • What’s standing in the way?
  • Who is she at the beginning of the story compared to at the midpoint or near the conclusion? How has she grown? How has he changed?
  • They may want two clearly different things at the story’s genesis. What changes to make them join forces to pursue the same quest?

Eye-opener! Why hadn’t I been asking those same questions in my marriage? What’s his wound? What might have made him respond that way to me right now? An ache from his past? A dream unfulfilled? Did I threaten something deep within him unintentionally? I want to know the characters in my novel. I need to know the answers to those questions in my live-in hero’s life, too.

What’s his ultimate goal, his motivations? What’s standing in the way of his reaching his goal? (Lord, don’t ever let the answer be “Me.”)


Romance writers often use a graph of story “stages” to plot a novel. On the timeline are things like “Setup,” “Inciting Incident,” “Change of Plans,” “Major Setback,” and “Point of No Return.”

While Cynthia and I were discussing the parallels between fiction and real life, I wondered what the timeline of my almost-fifty-year marriage would look like if I were to plot out all of our turning points and setbacks on paper. And how would the final story read? The setup would show a glimpse of our lives before we met.

The first turning point would be the party in a neighbor’s basement where I asked the friend who’d brought my blind date to please take him home again so I could dance with the cute blond with eyes so blue I could swim in them. Under “Change of Plans” I’d plot things like an unexpected pregnancy two years into our marriage that changed my future goals from “Career Woman” to “Stay at Home Mom.” Further on down the line would be a job layoff, selling our house and moving out of state with three kids so Hubby could go to school (and returning three years later with another unplanned baby on the way), and my chiropractor husband smashing his wrist on a backpacking trip. I could plot some dark moments and some high points and a Point of No Return when a near death experience left me with PTSD for twenty years…and I found out once again just how steadfast, dependable, and encouraging my man can be.

But what about the in-betweens, the narrative and dialogue that fill the pages between crises and mountaintop experiences? What would those look like on the page? When working on a novel, I can easily press “Delete” when a conversation gets too snarky, or my heroine comes off too critical. I can’t edit the part of my life story that’s already been written, but what about the blank pages ahead? Can I plot out some extra kindness scenes, give my own character a positive-change arc? Can I add more depth to our dialogue and more spark to our romantic scenes so the last page leaves both hero, heroine, and readers satisfied that it’s the best possible ending to our story?


So, two novelists who are anything but experts in marriage—just way experienced—set out to sort through our thoughts, gather intel from other people who find themselves for whatever reason spending a lot of time together, and create a story-filled nonfiction book to help ourselves and others navigate those sometimes too-tight quarters.

Who knew we’d also discover how much the novelist in us would make us better spouses?

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events, retreats, writers’ conferences, and workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.”

Ruchti’s more than thirty books have garnered reader, retailer, reviewer, and other industry awards. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a founding board member of the Deliver Hope ministry and is part of the worship team at her church. She’s also a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management.

Ruchti and her husband, Bill, live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and six grandchildren.

Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her writing at or by following her on Facebook (@CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage), Instagram (@cynthiaruchtiauthor), and Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).

Becky Melby has authored more than twenty novels and novellas. Spouse in the House is her first non-fiction book release.

The Melbys have four sons and fifteen grandchildren and make their home in southeastern Wisconsin. When not writing or spoiling grandchildren, she may be found touring the country with Bill in their camper or on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.

Find out more about Becky Melby’s books at or follow her on Facebook (becky.melby.9) and Instagram (@beckymelbybooks). She also shares short blog posts each Friday on the Fill My Cup, Lord page on Facebook. 

Kregel is offering a print copy of Spouse in the House by Cynthia Ruchti to one of my readers and I am offering that same winner a print copy of Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti & Do You Know What I Know by Becky Melby! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read Spouse in the House by Cynthia Ruchti & Becky Melby?

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22 responses to “Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby & Spouse in the House

  1. Megan

    I’m intrigued at how one can approach a marriage like one would writing a book. These seem like really great questions to ask yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m halfway through and have to say, this book should be included a a gift to every newlywed you know and love. The principles of communication and wisdom in those real-life possibilities–make that probabilities–are priceless. I’m already making a list of couples I plan to give a copy to.

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