Learning to love better: Couple’s movement targets trust, healing relationships

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Emily Sutherland reads “It’s Hard to Love A Porcupine” to her husband Scott.

Emily and Scott Sutherland believe learning to love better might be the unifier to a divided world.

At first, the couple thought their efforts would be marriage-based, but the creation turned into much more. Love Better turned into a website, a podcast and, in turn, a movement for the Sutherlands. When Emily left her job of 20 years, she had an idea of what to center the organization on.

“We have known for a long time we wanted to talk about relationships, whether it’s in the community or marriage or relationships because we see the world we live in right now is so divided. And even within families, there is a lot of division,” Emily said. “Everything we’ve always learned or been about that really got us fired up was how we could love each other better in the home or in the community or across the world cross-culturally. We were learning how to love people better, so we could call the business Love Better.”

On the website lovebetter.world, blogs and a podcast series addressing relationships and learning to love better are available.

“The podcast series is conversations interviewing other people or the two of us talking about various aspects on how to love each other better in the world we live in,” Emily said.

Throughout the podcasts, Emily and Scott have learned vital information about why people act the way they do, such as when hurting others.

“One of the things we talked about a lot is there is always a reason someone is interacting the way they are,” Emily said. “There’s always something behind someone’s behavior, so if they’ve had pain or hurt or a reason to distrust people, it plays out in every relationship. For us, it’s about creating conversations that give us empathy for people but also help us to open up the community.”

“Along with that, I would say getting to know peoples’ stories, sitting down over a cup of coffee, getting to know someone. It’s amazing how much a relationship can grow and bridges can be built when you simply sit down with someone and get to know them,” Scott said. “A big part of what comes out of that is building trust. In all relationships, building trust is critical. If we really want to grow as a society, trust has to be built in all relationships as much as possible. We are realistic enough to know we are not going to reach utopia, but whatever we can do to help start conversations between people on how to love better, that’s what we are all about and everything we do.”

Scott is the children’s pastor at Grace Church in Noblesville and Emily is a freelance writer. Their two most popular podcasts include topics on racial reconciliation and conflict. Each podcast is 30 to 35 minutes long. A new podcast is posted two Tuesdays a month.

“We can all learn from each other, regardless of where we live, what faith you have, what culture you come from,” Scott said. “We can all learn how to love each other better.”

Emily is working on an eBook about relationships, with publication  set for Dec. 5. She might travel to Rwanda in March to hear stories of genocide recovery.

“It (Love Better) is something we knew the world needed – to open up conversation about how we can create understanding and create empathy because the world is hurting right now,” Emily said.

For more, visit lovebetter.world.

From left, illustrator Jon Hogge, Addison Gafford and author Emily Sutherland pause at a book signing for “It’s Hard to Hug A Porcupine” at The Well. (Submitted photo)

“It’s Hard to Hug a Porcupine”

Emily and Scott Sutherland’s Love Better project launched in June, the same time Emily published her children’s book, “It’s Hard to Love A Porcupine.” Along with illustrations by Jon Hogge, the story follows a porcupine who keeps accidently hurting her friends with her quills.

“It is a children’s book but the adult reaction to it has been interesting,” Scott said.

Friends of Emily’s have requested the book to give to their adult children. The story features life lessons for young and old readers. It is available for $14.95 at lovebetter.world. It is the only item in the online store, but the Sutherlands plan to launch merchandise and more in the future.

Emily has read her story to various elementary schools as well as hosted a book signing at The Well Coffeehouse in Fishers.

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