Masks are coming off, and the pandemic is receding. Now is the time for couples to reaffirm their relationships and make them stronger.
Research shows that relationships – especially love relationships – came under great strain during the pandemic. How does love bounce back? How do make our relationships stronger than before?
Tom Murphy has written a novella, a love story set in Garden City called The Anniversary Box, that lays out a “roadmap” for relationship success. In the story, a daughter learns the secret to make love last a lifetime from the example of her parents.
Here’s the storyline: Six weeks before her wedding, Peggy Moore discovers that her parents created an “anniversary box.” Each year on their anniversary during their twenty-four-year marriage they would write a message to affirm their love then seal the messages away in an Anniversary Box. Now, as she and her fiancé have an intense disagreement, she feels lost. Her mom is deceased and her dad has suffered a debilitating stroke so she can’t turn to them. Instead, she sets out to find their missing “anniversary box” to learn the secret to keep love alive for a lifetime before stepping to the altar herself.
For the story Murphy, who grew up in Garden City and founded the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University, drew on resiliency strengths he learned from his wife, Barb, a marathon runner who developed non-smokers lung cancer out of the blue in 2007 and passed away from the disease following a six-year struggle.
“Barb never considered herself a victim. She never said, ‘Life’s unfair, or why me?’” Murphy said. “Often we’d talked about how to remain strong during adversity. I took what I learned from Barb and put those “gems of wisdom” into twenty-four entries the fictional couple store away in their anniversary box. The list can be helpful to couples looking to jump start their passion again after the pandemic.”
The novella will be published by Encircle Publications on August 2, which was Tom and Barb’s anniversary day who were married at St Joseph’s Church in 1980. The hardcover and paperback are now available for pre-sale on Amazon.
As a tie-in to the book, Murphy will offer a “discussion group” series to give couples a chance to explore lessons in the story and match their relationship successes to the twenty-four messages in The Anniversary Box. Called “Roadmap to Relationship Success,” the discussion groups will help people build strong relationships by focusing on what’s already strong.
“I learned that from Barb, that strong begets strong,” Murphy said. “I hope The Anniversary Box will give people a chance to talk about what’s working for them and have a chance to build on that.”
Before the book, Murphy created “Barb’s Beer” to raise funds to cure lung cancer in Barb’s memory. The beer has been a staple at Prost, Doc O’Grady’s, Sweeney’s and other Garden City restaurants. Murphy will be contributing a portion of the proceeds from The Anniversary Box to support expansion of the Barb’s Beer Foundation, a 501c3 charity, he established with family members to support a cure for lung cancer.
To pre-order The Anniversary Box as well as learn how to become part of a “Roadmap to Relationship Success” discussion group, see full details at theanniversarybox.com.