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Ronald Reagan – Happy Anniversary!

On March 4, 1952, actor and future president Ronald Reagan married his second wife, actress Nancy Davis. The couple wed in Los Angeles at the Little Brown Church in the Valley. For trivia lovers, the matron of honor was Brenda Marshall and the best man was her husband, actor William Holden. Nancy Davis met her husband in 1949 while Reagan was serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild and Nancy was embroiled in an effort to remove her name from the notorious McCarthy-era Hollywood blacklist of possible communist sympathizers. The two fell in love and were married three years later. Ronald Reagan became governor of California in 1967, a position he held until 1975. In 1980, he became president, serving for two terms. For her part, Nancy embraced the role of governor’s wife and later, First Lady. Thought of as America’s first couple, the Reagans appeared to embody traditional American values.

The Reagans were married for 52 years, until the president’s death in 2004. What made their marriage special? One of Reagan’s press secretaries said, “They never stopped courting.” Mr. Reagan once wrote to Nancy, “Whatever I treasure and enjoy, all would be without meaning if I didn’t have you.” When he was in the hospital in 1981, she slept with one of his shirts to be comforted by his scent.

In a remarkable letter in 1994, Reagan wrote, “I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience.” Four years later, while he was well into his disease, Nancy told Vanity Fair, “Our relationship is very special. We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it’s true. It did. I can’t imagine life without him.”

Happy anniversary, Mr. President. Happy anniversary, Mrs. Reagan.

 

Keys to a Great Christian Marriage

Surveys show the average couple gets married when the man is 31, the woman 29. For someone who is age 30, their average life expectancy is 82. So the average couple getting married in 2016 can expect 50 years of marriage, barring divorce. So what makes for a happy marriage, based on the principles of God? I offer a few suggestions.

1. Put God first, not your marriage. When couples marry, they always assume the best. But when God brings two sinful people together, they don’t leave their sin nature behind. And people are self-centered. That is because of sin. So don’t give your spouse a God complex. Only God deserves to be on a pedestal.

2. Do unto your spouse as you would have your spouse do unto you. Consider the consequences of our words and actions. Ask how you want to be spoken to, and speak that way to your spouse. The Bible says, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, or criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment” (Luke 6:27 The Message).

3. Learn to defer. I met a couple last week, who has been married for 56 years. I asked the man the key to a lasting, happy marriage. He said he learned to say two words: “Yes dear.” The Bible says believers are to submit to one another. That works better in marriage than anywhere else.

4. Put friendship before intimacy and you’ll get both. Sex is not the key to an enduring bond – friendship is. The typical couple spends less than five minutes a day in conversation together. They share only two meals a week. They drift. And then, too often, they divorce.

5. Love as God loves – unconditionally. Until God is at the center of your life, he won’t be at the center of your marriage. God’s love is like an airplane. It overcomes gravity because it is built according to the laws of aerodynamics. What happens if it loses power? The natural law of gravity takes over. A successful marriage is not natural. It is dependent on the power of God, understood or not.

6. Avoid debt. In the first year of marriage, studies show three things are toxic: sexual issues, in-law issues, and money issues. Read about debt. Get on a budget. The Bible speaks of debt a lot. And it never has one good thing to say about it.

7. Learn to forgive. This may be the most important thing I’ve learned in 33 years of marriage. A great marriage is the union of two forgivers. Don’t wait for the apology. True, biblical forgiveness is unconditional.

Finding a Good Man

Recent surveys indicate that 52 percent of those over the age of 25 are single. I am not naïve enough to believe these single saints are all interested in getting married. Some of them are too smart for that!

But if you are a single woman, and you opened today’s blog in hopes of fining dating advice, you came to the right place. I am here to help. The answer to finding the right guy is prayer. You must pray, asking the Lord to direct you to the right man, the man who will make you happy all the days of your life.

And for those of you who don’t know how to pray, I can help you with that, as well.

Here, I offer a prayer. Use it as your own. Don’t even feel obligated to tell God where you got it. He probably already knows, anyway. So ladies, if you are looking for a guy, here’s your prayer: “Father in heaven, hear my prayer, and grant it if you can. I’ve hung a pair of trousers here; please fill them with a man.”

If you pray that prayer from your heart, it’s just a matter of time till you meet that special man. Perhaps you’d like to come up with your own prayer. The point isn’t the words anyway. God listens to your heart.

The Rushmore Report – Does Falling Out of Love Justify Divorce?

Divorce isn’t justified just because one spouse has fallen out of love, says theologian and Desiring God founder John Piper. In a podcast posted Friday on the Desiring God website, Piper was asked a question from an anonymous listener whose adult son was planning to get a divorce. The question elicited a direct response from Piper.

The individual said, “I’m totally perplexed by the timing. I don’t understand why he feels unhappy, but he claims he is ‘no longer in love’ with his wife anymore. What would you say to someone who has ‘fallen out of love’ with their spouse, and why that’s no ground for divorce?”

Piper responded that falling out of love is a bad reason to divorce because, in his opinion, married couples oftentimes fall in and out of love, yet remain together.

“It is, in my judgment, almost ludicrous to think that we experience ‘being in love’ the same for the entire 60 years, just like we felt at the beginning of the relationship,” said Piper.

“In a relationship between two sinners forced to live as close as married couples live, it is naive to think that every season will be one of warmth and sweetness and sexual romance. That’s just contrary to almost the entire history of the world and contrary to every makeup of fallen human nature.”

About the Author

Michael Gryboski writes for The Christian Post.

Black and White

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, “Why is the bride dressed in white?”

“Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life,” explained her mother.

The child thought about this for a minute, then asked, “Then why is the groom wearing black?”

Marriage is a sacred thing. It was the first institution of God, and many who have been married end up in an institution.

I heard about a woman who decided to have her portrait painted. She told the artist, “Paint me with diamond rings, a diamond necklace, emerald bracelets, a ruby broach, and a gold Rolex.”

“But you aren’t wearing any of those things,” he replied.

“I know,” she said. “It’s in case I should die before my husband. I’m sure he will remarry right away, and I want his new wife to go crazy looking for the jewelry.”

Some of us don’t wait to drive our spouse crazy. That’s what makes marriage so fun. The last thing I want in my marriage is predictability. It is fun being married. Marrying Beth was the best decision I ever made. And for the record, my tux was white.

The Rushmore Report: The Top 5 Reasons Couples Fight

I love to talk about love – even some of the darker parts of coupledom like arguments, fights, and problems. After all, without the dark we wouldn’t have the light! Most of us don’t realize there are patterns to how we fight. Your arguments might be more common than you think. There are really just five reasons most couples fight.

Here are the five most common issues over which couples fight:

  1. Free time
  2. Money
  3. Housework
  4. Physical intimacy
  5. Extended family

More important than the issues over which we fight is the way to turn fights into positives. Here are six ways you can use the science of couples to help your relationship:

1. Adopt a new mindset.

How to fight better: I want us to shift the focus to fighting better as opposed to fighting less. Why? Fighting better is about having discussions, not arguments. It is about respectfully hearing one another.

2. Identify the issues.

One of the most interesting discussions I have ever had with my husband was identifying our “perpetual issues.” We sat down and thought about the problems and topics and looked at the patterns. The main issues keep coming up – they need to be identified.

3. Localize, don’t globalize.

One reason that little arguments can erupt so quickly is that a small disagreement can be tagged into one of your larger arguments and immediately explode into the big fight. Avoid saying things like, “You always . . .” or “You never . . .” Don’t focus on the big picture nor the past. Focus on the local issues.

4. Start with agreement.

If a gridlocked issue comes up on a daily basis and you need to approach it, start with agreement. Successful couples master gentleness. They start with their common purpose, what they want to achieve as a family.

5. Look beyond the argument.

This is the hardest one to do. It is also the most important. Sometimes there are underlying issues beneath the gridlock. Think about what is happening behind the argument. This will help you to turn the situation to an exploratory discussion, rather than antagonistic.

6. Choose acceptance.

Knowing that your issues and where you stand can help you avoid having the same argument over and over again. Agreeing to disagree and naming the issue can prevent arguments in the future. Acceptance means placing a higher value on the person than the position.

About the Author

Vanessa Van Edwards is a marriage expert and the author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.

The Rushmore Report: Top Ten Reasons for Divorce

Marriage isn’t always easy and the sad reality is that not all “I dos” end with a “happily ever after,” no matter how much two people may love each other. It’s estimated that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages fail, as well as 60 percent of second marriages. This can be hard to grasp for someone who is about to get married or is happily married. So how does this happen? Why do so many marriages end in divorce?

What are the real reasons for divorce? Let’s look at the ten most common reasons for divorce in hope that you can learn from the mistakes of others.

1. Infidelity

Extra-marital affairs are responsible for the breakdown of most marriages that end in divorce. The reasons people cheat aren’t as clear as we may think, though anger and resentment are common underlying reasons people cheat.

2. Money

Money makes people funny. Everything from different spending habits and financial goals to one spouse making considerably more money that the other, power struggles often emerge. Money issues bring stress, and stress leads to divorce.

3. Lack of communication

This is crucial in marriage and a failure in this area leads to frustration, impacting all aspects of a marriage. On the other hand, good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage.

4. Constant arguing

From bickering about chores to arguing about the kids, incessant arguing kills many relationships. Couples who seem to keep having the same argument over and over often do so because they feel they’re not being heard or appreciated.

5. Weight gain

It may seem awfully superficial or unfair, but weight gain is a common reason for divorce. In some cases a significant amount of weight gain causes the other spouse to become less physically attracted while for others, weight gain takes a toll on the person’s self-esteem. Either leads to a break-down in intimacy.

6. Unrealistic expectations

It’s easy to go into a marriage with lofty expectations – expecting your spouse and the marriage to live up to your image of what they should be. These expectations can put a lot of strain on the other person, leaving you feeling let down and setting your spouse up for failure.

7. Lack of intimacy

Not feeling connected to your partner can quickly ruin a marriage because it leaves the couple feeling as though they’re living with a stranger or more like roommates than spouses. This can be from a lack of physical or emotional intimacy and isn’t always about sex.

8. Lack of equality

When one partner feels that they take on more responsibility in the marriage, it can alter their view of the other person and lead to resentment. Every couple must negotiate through their own and unique set of challenges, and find their own way of living together as two equals who enjoy a respectful, harmonious, and joyful relationship.

9. Not being prepared for marriage

A surprising number of couples of all ages have blamed not being prepared for married life for the demise of their relationship. Divorce rates are highest among couples in their 20s. Almost half of all divorces occur in the first ten years of marriage, most commonly in years four through eight.

10. Abuse

Physical or emotional abuse is a sad reality for some couples. It doesn’t always stem from the abuser being a “bad” person; deep emotional issues are usually to blame. Regardless of the reason, no one should tolerate abuse, and removing yourself from that kind of a relationship safely is critically important.

About the Author

Shellie Warren writes for marriage.com.

Why God Created Eve

Why did God create Eve? While scholars might weigh in, we will jump the gun with ten reasons we see that God must have taken into consideration in coming up with his finest creation. Here you go . . . ten reasons God created Eve.

1. God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because He knew man would never ask for directions.

2. God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote because men don’t want to see what is on TV; they want to see what else is on TV.

3. God knew that Adam would never buy a new fig leaf when the seat wore out and therefore would need Eve to get one for him.

4. God knew that Adam would never make a doctor’s appointment for himself.

5. God knew that Adam would never remember which night was garbage night.

6. God knew that if the world was to be populated there would have to be someone else to bear children because men would never be able to handle it.

7. As keeper of the Garden, Adam would never remember where he put his tools.

8. The Scriptural account of creation indicates that Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.

9. As the Bible says, “It is not good for man to be alone,” as he only ends up getting himself in trouble.

10. When God finished the creation of Adam he stepped back and scratched his head and said, “I can do better than that!”

The Rushmore Report: Couple Married 68 Years – ‘The Thing that Matters Most in Marriage’

Bill and Anne McDonald met on a blind date in 1944. Both were students at Duke University. They seemed to be “exact opposites,” according to Anne. Still, Bill and Anne – both age 91 – have made it work. They have been married for 68 years. And they’ve never been happier. The McDonalds recently sat for a short interview, and they opened up about the keys to a successful marriage. At the heart of a great marriage, they say, is one thing.

Trust.

It wasn’t always easy. Their differences presented struggles early on. Anne recollects, “Whenever he said, ‘Let’s dance,’ I said, ‘Not now.’ If he said, ‘Would you like some punch?’ I would say, ‘No, thank you. Let’s dance.'”

Still, Anne thought he was devilishly handsome. Bill, who’d been dating a few women, “immediately dropped them,” she says. The couple spent their first five years of marriage far from family. Two sons would come later, but those early years forced them to rely on each other, working as a team, “to make the foundation for our marriage a success through thick and thin,” Anne added.

Bill says, “We discussed almost everything. One of us would propose something and say, ‘What do you think of this?'” When they couldn’t discuss things – Bill’s 32 years in the Navy required regular stints at sea in the days before cellphones and the Internet – they had to rely on trust.

“I think that’s the most important thing – trust,” says Bill. “We have to trust each other in daily living, when we’re apart. When we’re together, we trust each other for our expertise.”

Do Bill and Anne McDonald know what they’re talking about? I’m guessing yes. You can read a lot of books and articles on what it takes to make for a long and happy marriage. And they give good advice. But I’d rather learn to fly from someone who has flown – a lot. I’d rather learn how to cook from someone who has already done it successfully – a lot. And that’s what makes Bill and Anne worth hearing. They have done marriage well – a lot.

So there you go. According to a couple who has done it well for 68 years – and counting – the key to a great marriage can be summed up in one word.

Trust.

Making Marriage Work

Grandma and Grandpa were sitting in their porch rockers watching the beautiful sunset and reminiscing about “the good old days.” Grandma turned to Grandpa and asked, “Honey, do you remember when we first started dating and you used to just casually reach over and take my hand?”

Grandpa looked over at her, smiled, and gently took her aged hand in his.

With a wry little smile, Grandma pressed a little farther. “Honey, do you remember how after we were engaged, you’d sometimes lean over and suddenly kiss me on the cheek?”

Grandpa leaned slowly toward Grandma and gave her a lingering kiss on her wrinkled cheek.

Growing bolder still, Grandma said, “Honey, do you remember how, after we were first married, you’d kind of nibble on my ear?”

Grandpa slowly got up from his rocking chair and headed into the house. Alarmed, Grandma asked, “Honey, where are you going?”

Grandpa replied, “To get my teeth!”

I’ve been married for nearly 35 years. We aren’t to the rocker stage yet. But when we get there, I hope to have a step up on Grandpa. I hope to still have my teeth.

Whether you are still nibbling on your spouse’s ear, kissing his or her cheek, or just holding hands, rejoice if you are blessed to have the husband or wife of your youth. Marriage was the first institution of God. It must never be taken lightly.