Kate Braestrup said her recently published book “Marriage, and Other Acts of Charity” began as an effort to answer questions that came from readers about her previous work “Here If You Need Me.”

The earlier book described the Lincolnville resident’s experiences before, during and after the loss of her first husband, Drew Griffith, a Maine State Police trooper who was killed in a car accident while on duty.

“I think the first book talked about marriage as a prelude to being a widow,” she said Jan. 12 in an interview at her home. In the new book, she said, she approaches marriage from a lot of directions.

Now in her second marriage, to artist Simon van der Ven, Braestrup is a Unitarian Universalist minister who has performed marriage ceremonies and counseled those who wish to dissolve their unions.

“I thought I had all these perspectives,” she said. “All my books are about the same theme. Love.” Because of that, she said, she wanted to write about how people approach and experience that powerful emotion.

“Here If You Need Me” was about love in the face of death, Braestrup said.

“Death is very clarifying; it’s absolute,” she said. “That isn’t true about marriage.”

She said that is why people spend so much time talking about marriage.

“We didn’t used to be free to not marry,” Braestrup said. “Historians tend to focus on marriages of the ruling classes because they’ve been documented.”

She said such a perspective creates a cynical view of marriage because those relationships are blatantly political and manipulative. For less well-known people, marriage has until recently been an expected and required way for adults to live.

“Marriage was always taken for granted as a platform for survival,” she said. “The reason that there isn’t a whole lot said about the importance of marriage in the Bible was because it was taken for granted.”

She said marriage, as a legal matter, is a fairly recent development.

“What hasn’t varied is that, as far as I can tell, marriage is the state that occurs when a society throws its weight behind a pair bond,” she said.

“What this book is about is how different and educational it is to bring the kind of love that I have been talking about that is about the well-being of the beloved — that we are called to offer to neighbors, enemies, spouses and children — how difficult it is to really love someone when you need them and they’re irritating.”

Braestrup said “Marriage, and Other Acts of Charity” was much harder to write than “Here If You Need Me” because of its wider range.

The book includes stories from her marriage with Griffith, which she said was that of two opinionated young children “… not completely formed. Children with kids, with a fierce determination to be good and not enough experience.”

“We loved each other,” she said. “We were dedicated to the same principles. We had the same values. And we fought like fiends.”

She said part of the book revolves around the moment when she learned to stop fighting, something Griffith learned long before she did.

“Women are convinced our gender makes us the default virtuous person in a relationship,” she said.

This realization informed her understanding of what it means to love anyone, she said, including relatives who are sometimes harder to accept.

“I was good at loving people I didn’t know,” she said.

Braestrup said the book doesn’t say much about her relationship with van der Ven, “because it’s all good.”

She said that had Griffith lived, that marriage would have most likely grown to feel the same way as her current relationship, because she and Griffith would have learned to value what they had.

Braestrup is a mother of four who works an average of 20 hours a week for the Maine Warden Service, counseling wardens and those with whom they come in contact, especially when there has been a death or serious loss. In addition, she is an affiliate minister with the First Universalist Church in Rockland.

Unlike many writers, she said she doesn’t have the discipline of a regular writing schedule, but writes as opportunity and inspiration allow, a habit she developed while raising her family.

“I do everything in bursts,” she said. “The other night I sat down at 4 p.m. when the kids went out to eat and go to the movies. I was still writing at midnight when they went to bed. The next time I looked at the clock it was 4 a.m.”

She said she gets a great deal of support from van der Ven, who brings her meals and takes care of chores so she can keep writing. This second marriage is as good as she could hope for, she said. Her next book, already in the works, is about prayer and skepticism and she said she tries to keep humor in all her work.

“Marriage is a school of becoming, or in my case becoming less self-absorbed,” she said of the subject matter in “Marriage, and Other Acts of Charity.”

She said she reminds readers that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, but 100 percent of all relationships end.

“We will lose everyone we love and everything we love,” Braestrup said. “To know that is to be inspired either to love no one or to love more. It requires a lot of courage.”

Braestrup will read from and sign “Marriage, and Other Acts of Charity” at a book launching on Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Camden Public Library.