Some Truths Marriage Has Taught Me

Some Truths Marriage Has Taught Me

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

Yesterday marked thirty years of marriage to a woman I met when she was still technically a “girl” almost 32 years ago. God has blessed her with extraordinary beauty and youthfulness, but He has blessed me by her in ways far deeper than that. She constantly encourages my spiritual growth, helps me read my spiritual compass, and drives me to be closer to God and do His will better. This is not only a daily benefit I enjoy in marriage, but a benefit I typically enjoy throughout each day! Yet, she is also fun-loving, has a great sense of humor, and loves life and people profoundly. I could not have asked for a better mother for my children, and I could not have dreamed for a better companion to travel life’s road with.

Paul indicates that God created the marriage relationship to illustrate the relationship Christ would have with the church (Eph. 5:22-33). That’s profound! The Author of the most intimate relationship on earth wants us to learn and grow through this transformation connection we call marriage. He teaches us vital truths throughout His Word that we grasp and understand to our great benefit. Consider a few of them.

  • “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Prov. 12:4a).
  • “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22).
  • “House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 19:14).
  • “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:10-12).
  • ““You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, with a single strand of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than all kinds of spices” (Song 4:9-10).
  • “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself” (Eph. 5:28). 
  • “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Col. 3:19). 
  • “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). 

I am impressed with how much God honors and upholds marriage. He invented and instituted it (Gen. 2:18-25). It was His sweetest gift to humanity, second only to the sacrifice of His Son for our sins! He has given us an instruction manual to help us navigate the many ups and downs that are a part of it. It can bring us some of life’s most difficult and excruciating moments. But undoubtedly, it will give us some of the sweetest, most memorable, and sustaining moments, too. 

So much happens in three decades of life, especially in the marriage context. While it seems like just a moment ago that we stood before my dad in Manchester, Georgia, that Friday afternoon, seeing three grown, married children and some inevitable physical changes in the mirror tells me more time has passed than it seems. In the treasure chest of my heart, there are so many memories and events over the span of those years. Invariably, right there in my mental picture of them all is the sweet, pretty face of that blonde, witty, and intense beauty who grounds me, balances me, and pushes me to be my best me. 

It scares me to think about where I would be without her. It humbles me to think she chose to spend her life with me. It blesses me to think that, as the Lord wills, I get to do life with her today and for as many days as He gives us together. Thank God for the blessing of marriage! May I bless my Kathy as she has blessed me! 

“A GREAT WIFE”

“A GREAT WIFE”

Dale Pollard

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Hey men, what makes a good wife?

 If I had the courage to ask a few random guys watching the football game at the local Applebees, they might give me a few stereotypical male answers. Some of them might say, 

“Well a good wife should be a good cook!” 

or “A good wife makes sure I got tea in my glass when I sit in my chair at the end of the day.” Or “A good wife keeps the house nice and clean.” 

The question isn’t what makes a good maid— but a good wife. 

I’m one day in to my second year of marriage. I still have no idea what I’m doing. However, I know exactly what makes a good wife. 

Here are five qualities of, not just a good, but a great spouse. I’m incredibly blessed to see these things in my bride every day. 

A Good Wife Is…

  1. Filled with a desire To please God, more than her husband. 
  1. Not sinless but not satisfied with the status quo— she seeks to always grow spiritually.
  1. Constantly encouraging, but not afraid to be honest about the faults in her husband.
  1. Focused on eternity and helps her husband focus on eternity. Every day.
  1. Forgiving, just like Jesus. 

According to scripture, a good wife is someone that’s always growing but will always be a child of God. 

Proverbs 31 

Now, excuse me— my wife needs me to run an errand for her. 🙂 

Showing Love To Your Mate In Ways That Count

Showing Love To Your Mate In Ways That Count

Neal Pollard

1–Do Something That Is Truly Meaningful To Them (Acts Of Service)(Phil. 2:3-4)

2–Say Something That Is Essential To Them (Cf. Col. 4:6)

3–Pray Something That Is Helpful To Them (When You’re Close Or Not, It Will Benefit You Both)(1 Pet. 3:7)

4–Lift Something That Is Too Heavy For Them (Your Thoughtful Compassion Will Be Appreciated)(Gal. 6:2)

5–Show Them Something That Is Useful To Them (Your Example)(Eph 5:22-33)

6–Give Them Something That Is Appreciated By Them (Forgiveness, Patience, Understanding, Etc.)(Gal. 5:22-23)

7–Go Somewhere That’s Special To Them (Sentimentally; Geographically)

8–Study Something That Pertains To Them (The Bible, Of Course, But Also Other Books On The Subject)

9–Hope Something That Is About Them (Their Best; Their Salvation; Their Happiness)(1 Cor. 13:7)

10–Be Someone That Is Respected By Them (Eph 5:22-33)

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How To Improve Your Love Life

How To Improve Your Love Life

Neal Pollard

  • Even when provoked, endure without complaining.
  • Give your spouse a gift (not necessarily monetary) as an act of kindness.
  • Avoid intensely negative feelings toward your spouse’s success and jealousy over them.
  • Avoid an exaggerated conception of yourself or an inflated ego.
  • Avoid behaving in a way that shames, disgraces, or embarrasses your mate.
  • Don’t be selfish and self-centered.
  • Don’t be easily stirred to anger and irritated toward your mate.
  • Don’t keep score.
  • Don’t derive delight and happiness from the sinful in your marriage.
  • Delight in the things that God promotes and delights in.
  • Put up with annoyances and difficulties in your marriage.
  • Have faith in your mate.
  • Think positively about and anticipate the future with your spouse.
  • Dedicate yourself to standing by your mate’s side, for better or worse, in sickness and health, etc.

No, that does not sound like what the world’s “love doctors” will tell you, but it’s a short summary of the 14 characteristics of love that Paul gives as part of the inspired definition of that word (1 Cor. 13:4-7). The love he writes about is that highest form of love, exclusive, totally committed, totally trusting, uplifting, edifying, unselfish, connected to faith and hope.

When we pore over those qualities and see how God defines it, it leaves us fully aware of the fact that each of us, in our relationships, has so much room for growth and improvement in the “love life” of our marriages. My prayer for each of us who is married that, not just on days like today but every day, we will focus on how we can improve the love we demonstrate in our marriages.

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Giving Away Your Wedding Ring

Giving Away Your Wedding Ring

Neal Pollard

Brooklin Yazzle, a Mesa, Arizona, wife and mother, apparently handed out her wedding ring with the Halloween candy last week.  She had taken off her ring and put it in a candy jar to help her children carve pumpkins.  Later, things got hectic and she absentmindedly dumped her ring along with the candy into a candy bag to give to children.  Complicating things, among her treats were plastic rings.  She has made an appeal through the news to get it back, stating that while it isn’t worth much monetarily it has great sentimental value (FOX News).

Many of us can relate to such a mindless blunder.  To my everlasting chagrin, I lost my wife’s High School class ring back while we were dating (she married me anyway!).  It is not uncommon for a person to remove their wedding ring to work or play, but removing it in such cases is to protect it from harm or loss.

The American Community Survey and the Daily Beast collaborated to provide a list of the “Divorce Capitals of the U.S.”  The ignominious top ten list, from “top” to bottom, is: (1) Panama City, FL, (2) Sierra Vista, AZ, (3) Charleston, WV, (4) Medford, OR, (5) Reno, NV, (6) Deltona, FL, (7) Pueblo, CO, (8) Palm Bay, FL, (9) Jacksonville, FL, and (10) Grand Junction, CO. In six states, the divorce rate is between 12.64-14.35% per 1,000 people, age 15 and older (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, and Oklahoma). Yet, the best of states still average 6.05-7.65% (Ashley Reich, The Huffington Post, 11/4/13).

This survey is but an example of a trend that is only tempered by a falling marriage rate, as more and more couples are living together without the sanctity of marriage. It shows that the dissolution of marriage is not confined to one area of the country, or more like in a “Red” or “Blue” state.  Are there steps we can take to keep our wedding rings?

  • Spend time together.
  • Have shared interests.
  • Focus on pleasing your spouse more than being pleased by him/her.
  • Make marriage a priority, not an afterthought or a “no thought.”
  • Make spiritual investments together (devotions, prayer, serving, etc.).
  • Spend time with couples whose marriages are healthy and happy.
  • Practice hospitality together.
  • Keep romance alive.
  • Keep Christ King of your home.
  • Avoid pettiness.

This list is not exhaustive, but it already gives all of us areas to work on and improve in.  We should remember God’s feelings, who said, “I hate divorce” (Mal. 2:16). Let’s hold on to our wedding rings!