Matthew White’s background is public relations and marketing, not English, and he’s quick to point that out. But that didn’t stop him from writing and publishing his own book, “Married to Jesus,” after the inspiration hit him a couple of years ago.

It happened while White, a Lake Highlands graduate, was attending a marriage conference with his wife, Anne. The speaker was Gary Thomas, author of “Sacred Marriage,” and he posed a question to the attendees: What if your spouse felt like he or she was married to Jesus – that loved? It was a question that White couldn’t get out of his mind, so he decided to pen his thoughts into a book.

“I’m not a theologian, I’m not a psychologist, I’m not anybody who would typically write something like this,” White says. “But I’ve gone through these experiences and share my stories of how I went through them, and it hopefully comes across being conversational.”

The book’s premise is based on New Testament scripture comparing the relationship between husbands and wives to the relationship between Christ and the church. In it, White gives practical advice, not in a how-to approach but instead through anecdotal references to which readers can relate.

Though he shares many stories from his own 11-year marriage, White doesn’t come across as a pious expert. In fact, the experience of writing the book forced him to come to terms with secrets he had been keeping from his wife that had eaten away at their relationship for more than a decade.

As a 12-year-old growing up in our neighborhood, White says he was molested by a young man in his church. He says he didn’t tell anyone about the incident and shares in his book that it led to a pornography addiction that lasted through his high school and college years and into his marriage. When White began writing the chapters on honesty and forgiveness, he knew he couldn’t keep his secrets inside any longer.

“At the time, it had been about 18 years of not telling anybody anything about anything,” White says. “That’s not the crux of the book by any means, but at the same time those two areas of being honest and giving forgiveness to and from each other through your marriage are very important, if not most important. It really enabled me to be able to work through it with my wife and even able to tell other people.”

That included his family, even though the accused molester was a family friend and even part of his brother’s wedding party. Freeing himself from the burden of harboring those secrets made his own marriage even stronger, White says, and it’s been fulfilling for him to hear from others who have visited his website or read the book and identified with his story.

Self-publishing was a risk, White says, adding that having 2,000 books to sell that were purchased with is own money certainly causes stress. But if it helps other people, he says, it will have been worth it.

“Obviously, I want to sell 1 million books and be on Oprah,” he confesses, “but at the same time the point is to impact, and if I impact a couple of people out of it, that’s what it’s meant to be.”

MATTHEW WHITE’S BOOK, “Married to Jesus,” can be purchased at Logos, 6620 Snider Plaza, or online at marriedto jesus.com.