Dr. Albert Russell is a Minister, Author and Chemistry Department Chair at Tuskegee University
by La Trisha and La Tasha
Dr. Albert Russell says, “Love your wife while you still have her.” Having lost his college sweetheart to breast cancer last year, he knows all too well that time spent with loved ones is precious. Speaking with Beautifully Said Magazine, Dr. Russell shares why couples should show love the other 364 days of the year outside of Valentine’s Day and the different ways in which he honors his wife’s memory today.
We would like to start with your first book, Agapao: Loving Your Wife the Way God Intended written in 2017.
There are actually a couple of points in the book. The first chronicles my late wife and I relationship and the different ways you show love, that is not necessarily connected to commercialism or monetary things. The second half of the book deals with when my wife became ill with breast cancer. One chapter is called “Love Is What Love Does” and the other one is called “Beauty.” Both definitely take the light off of the commercials, bears and chocolates to focus on real life. Love is more than just bears and chocolates. You have to love through adversity. The book talks about this and it is not a lighthearted approach to dealing with and talking about love. Not at all!
Your audience for the book. We know you are telling the men to love their wives the way God loves the church, but what is the overall message you want to convey to these men that may be reading it?
I think the main message is to love your wife while you still have her. I got two-second chances with my wife. When she got deployed to Iraq I knew I had not been a good husband. She had been hurt, shelled a coupled of times while there. I prayed to God to bring her back and let me treat her right and He brought her back faithfully. I wrote the book when my wife was in Iraq. When she came back things were different. I was a different person. I showed her I was a different person by loving her the right way. My wife passed away April of last year but I do not have any regrets. I know I did everything I could have done to be there for her in the things she needed me to do.
What inspires you to write?
You know, I get inspiration from everywhere. Butterflies inspire me. Life changing events. I walk a lot so I see things that trigger my mind. This particular book came about from me basically trying to get a message across to my wife. When we first got married I was callous and cold. I was not emotional nor affectionate. This book softened me.
How do you encourage young people today to first love God, themselves and then others?
I tell them the truth. I didn’t know how to love until I learned how to love God. If you love God first, that love is going to translate to the people around you. I teach them not to be selfish. I’m always honest. I am an open book. I don’t pretend like I am holier than thou. I don’t try to act all pious with them. I tell young people straight up because they value authenticity and genuineness.
What words can you offer to someone who has experienced the loss of a spouse?
I encourage honesty. Don’t try to hide behind a smile or act as if everything is okay. If you are hurting…say you are hurting. If you are in pain…say you are in pain. If you are missing him or her…say it. You don’t have to try to please anyone or pretend to be this big, strong person. There is strength in tears. Be honest about how you feel. Have someone you can talk to who has your best interest at heart. Open up. Tell God. He is listening and big enough to handle all of our questions.
Dr. Albert Russell Honors His Wife’s Memory Through a Foundation He Created
That Awards Scholarships to Young African American Women in Medicine
How do you honor your wife’s memory?
I started a foundation in her name. It is called the 413 Foundation where we provide scholarships to young African American women who want to pursue medical school. My wife was a family practice physician. She was also an author who wrote two books. In fact, I’m still selling her books. Sanctified and Still Standing she wrote while she was Iraq and the second book, Divine Forgiveness she also wrote during her tour overseas. She wrote these two books in 4-months. She is still very much a part of my life even though she is not physically here. My wife left a great legacy. She was a wonderful person. A humanitarian who would give you the shirt off her back. She was an entrepreneur, teaching our kids how to start a business, save money and plan for the future.
How do you handle spending time on Valentine’s Day? A holiday that celebrates love.
I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I thought it always cheapened real love. I look at it like this, If you are only buying flowers and candy one day out of the year you’re not doing it right. If you are going out on a date or showing affection one day out of the year that is not enough. I would tell people not to read too much into how much he/she bought on this day. What about the 15th? What happens after Valentine’s Day? There are still 364 days of the year you have to account for to remind the person you’re with how much you love them.
Please complete the following sentence. Writing for me is…
Therapy. It allows me to express myself and to do it in a way where I can also help others.
Dr. Albert Russell current works include Walk with Me: a 365 Day Devotional (2018). The Alabama native walks between 2-3 times a week. Revealing the Lord shows him different things he can use in a message relatable to people in their daily lives. He also plans to author Pushing Through the Pain (2018) and a fictional thriller, Breaking the Curse (2019). For more on Dr. Russell visit www.revalbertrussellbooks.com.
Source: Tori J. Walker
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