Stay married through ‘hurricane’ years, struggles — it’s worth it
- When did marriage, parenthood become about self-fulfillment?
- Government branches must hold each other accountable, not circumvent each other
- Why Christians should visit holy lands
- Making sense of Trump’s negotiations
- Why Trump was right to move embassy to Jerusalem
- Stay married through ‘hurricane’ years, struggles — it’s worth it
- Insanity: NYC mayor wants to enable drug use
- Why it’s crucial that parents examine college faculties
- Why Marxism is cool again — with people who don’t know of its horrors
- A pastor’s perspective on Alabama Attorney General’s ‘Faith Forum’ at Briarwood
- Does archaeology prove or disprove the Bible?
- Don’t get hung up on church numbers — focus on church health, not size
- In the U.K., you only have value if you are wanted
- Startling number of Christians are persecuted around the world
- What is North Korea’s motivation?
- PARENTS: Who is teaching your child, the iPad, the teacher you disagree with, or you?
- Alfie Evans and the ever-encroaching overreach of the state, diminishment of parental rights
- Randa Jarrar and free speech
- Proposed California law will lead to persecution of Christians, possible outlawing of Bible sales
- How should Christians think about Trump’s North Korea stance?
- Barbara Bush and the unique legacies First Ladies leave
- Paul Ryan is understandably ‘bone-tired’ — but I do wish he could stay
- Why the Syrian strike was justified
- Christian colleges: Will you fold under cultural pressures or actually BE what you say you are?
- Transgender chaos playing out as predicted
- Does Facebook smoosh conservative posts? YES. But regulation is not the answer
- What Toys ‘R Us, colleges, and social security have in common
- College class gets it terribly wrong. Christians aren’t privileged — Christianity produces privileges for everyone
- Gender chaos leads to societal chaos
- Cultural Marxism: Do you know what it is and how to fight it?
- How parents can combat Planned Parenthood’s shocking deviant sex education
- Sorry and all, but yes there is a Heaven and Hell
- When elected officials campaign on promises they don’t keep
- Does archeology prove the Bible is true?
- Are the millions of lives lost to abortion less important than lives lost to gun violence?
- We must not sacrifice consistent morality for political pragmatism
- Why do Christians call Christ’s death ‘Good Friday’?
- Single parenthood may be a heroic struggle, but it’s not ideal and shouldn’t be promoted
- Freedoms of speech, religion go hand in hand and are being threatened — even in Christian college classes
- States are trying to criminalize the free speech of those seeking to protect unborn life
- Christian movie revenue shocks Hollywood, blows past estimates — here’s why you need to see it
- Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law
- Why pornography is far from ‘victimless’ and how to quit using it
- Cultural Marxists are using schools, courts to target Christianity
- No, Joy Behar, it’s not a ‘mental illness’ when the Lord speaks to us through his Word
- Despite what Washington Post writer says, Down Syndrome children are only undesirable to selfish, arrogant people
- Facebook’s ‘fact checker’ says the killing of unborn babies in abortion is a ‘disputed fact’
- Be sure your (Twitter) sins will find you out
- Reasons for pro-lifers to rejoice — and double-down — on abortion issues
- How to debate with decorum … and why profane, vulgar arguments reveal weak arguments & minds
- WAKE UP: Pornography is not victimless — it destroys lives and kills people
- Persecution, violence against Christians significantly increased world-wide in 2017
- 3 things contributing to the U.S. drop in life expectancy
- Gov’t attempted to silence this Christian who’s bringing Martin Luther King’s fight to modern times
- Iranian Christians fleeing persecution should get U.S. care and refuge
- What we can learn from the Alabama & Georgia quarterbacks’ post-game responses
- What does academic intolerance of real debate mean for free speech?
- Do you know the frivolous programs your tax dollars fund?
- Blaring Bannon coverage begs question: What’s happened to journalism?
- Call to Christians: Engage in politics & evangelism out of love for neighbor
- New York City votes to fine Biblical counselors for gender dysphoria therapy
- 10 campaign promises Donald Trump kept — or attempted to keep — in his first year
- Is it pointless to make New Year’s resolutions?
- The top 11 news, faith and culture headlines of 2017
- American attitudes about children contribute to our shrinking birth rate
- Here’s what Trump got right (and wrong) in his national security speech
- Tax reform explained: How it helps our culture, our families, our economics
- Advent and Christmas, ever wondered what’s the difference?
- Reformed Christians have lost one of their great theologians, pastors
- The 2 ungodly reactions to politics, current events that Christians must avoid
- Want our trust? The 7 things an elected official MUST do to gain it
- Christian voters faced 4 options in Senate race … only 1 is inexcusable, says Evangelical pastor
- Where the death culture leads: Lawsuits over disabled children who ‘should’ have been aborted
- What’s at stake in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court decision
- How to put Trump’s U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem in historical and biblical perspective
- Pastor Harry Reeder: There is hope and a way forward for the Matt Lauers in our lives
- Pastor Harry Reeder: If Supreme Court gets Colorado cake baker, same-sex marriage case wrong, it will be culture tipping point
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Liberal ‘Christianity’ is antithetical to Christianity
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Abortion industry ‘doulas’ try to normalize killing of unborn, but we know abortion is not normal
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Trump’s judicial nominee list shows his commitment to originalists and constitutionalists
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Some evangelicals disagree, but here’s why it’s good to emphasize church celebrations during Christmas
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Our military is weakening and here’s why we need it strong
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Why would we be surprised when culture lives out sexual sin it has promoted for years?
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Churches must stay on-mission as evangelists, not cultural acceptance-seekers
- Pastor Harry Reeder: The Museum of the Bible is a great idea…provided we don’t worship the Bible
- Harry Reeder on sexual reckoning: Our conscience tells us ‘something’s wrong here’ even while our culture promotes sin
- Reeder: We have to be honest despite history rewrites– Pilgrims gave thanks to God
- Reeder: It is ‘absolutely ludicrous’ to think a mother’s absence in crucial first 3 years has no effect
- Reeder: Australian same-sex marriage survey a ‘profile in cowardice’ not courage
- Reeder: Believers ‘speaking up’ made real difference in adoption tax credit provision
- Reeder: Secular culture wants more than ‘tolerance’, insists upon abortion and sexual anarchy ‘celebration’
- Reeder on Roy Moore chaos: ‘Do the next right thing’
- Reeder: Here’s what Christians should say when traditional marriage views are labeled ‘bigotry’
- Reeder on church leaders not meeting privately with the other sex: ‘I’ll take the criticism….I learned it from Billy Graham’
- Reeder on LGBTQ campus activists: ‘They don’t want to debate what a marriage actually is. They want to silence those they cannot answer.’
- Yes, it’s ridiculous there’s a new religion dedicated to AI….but here’s why it matters
- Feeling any Christmas guilt? Here’s the type you should ignore and the type you should face
- Reeder on Tuesday’s elections: ‘To see this as a referendum on Trump is overstating it’
- Two terminally-ill patients who refused assisted suicide to help others & show life’s sanctity
- Lots of older pastors, not many young ones — what’s going on?
- Commercial Surrogacy: The objectification of child-bearing
- Elitist ‘gender-isn’t-real’ culture has descended into sophisticated imbecility
- Chaplain who refused marriage retreat to same-sex couple is up against elite culture enforcers
- Sen. Booker’s grilling of Pompeo prime example of ‘religious test’ to exclude evangelical Christians from office
- How to avoid going ‘wobbly’ on the truth
Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
NEW STUDY SAYS LONG-TERM MARRIAGES YIELD HAPPINESS
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, World Magazine has reported on a new study: Couples that stay married for the long run end up happier, according to a new study by a Pennsylvania State University sociologist.
Paul Amato and co-author Spencer James of Brigham Young University used 20 years of data from the longest-running detailed study of marriage and looked at reported rates of happiness, shared activities and discord among 1,600 spouses, including more than 200 who have been married for 40 years or more. Contrary to previous studies, that found marital quality deteriorates over time, this new study found marital quality actually improves over the years for couples who stay together.
“Positive outcomes for couples in long-term marriages are the norm,” Amato said in an interview with the Institute for Family Studies. “Contrary to what many people think, marital quality does not inevitably decline; it tends to remain high or even improve over the decades.”
DR. REEDER: When you add the dynamic of a lifestyle engaged in a local church with regularity embedded in the life of the church, it goes out the roof in terms of longevity, perseverance, happiness and affirmation of the relationships and the increasing depth of intimacy between the husband and wife.
ALL MARRIAGES HAVE STAGES — KNOWLEDGE OF THEM IS KEY
Even as the physical and sexual dynamics begin to dissipate because of biological reasons, the emotional intimacy actually skyrockets in those days because of all that they have built upon throughout life and shared in life. And then, if they are surrounded, as I would apply, with the means of grace, preaching, and worship and fellowship then that even skyrockets it. By the way, the dip in this — I like the way the reporter said it — “the hurricane of children,” particularly in their adolescent and teenage years.
TOM LAMPRECHT: Indeed, the report says, after a slight dip in happiness and shared activities in early marriage, the hurricane of young children and careers, for that matter, happiness and shared activities improve over the years and discord declines.
DR. REEDER: Many times, your children arrive at those challenging ages — I think it starts around 11, maybe 12, what we call “being thrown into the barrel” with your kids at that age — and that usually coincides about the same time where some career decisions happen. You’ve been in your career, you’re moving along and now, “Am I going to stay in this career, move to another one or I got to take a step forward? What am I going to do?” The challenge of time devoted to career, time devoted to children, so it’s no doubt that, during those years, that’s where the “slight dip” occurs.
HARD STAGES BECOME FRUITFUL BY BIBLICAL FOUNDATION
Actually, I would like to say when you work through those years, that’s what makes the following years so expansively and explosively enjoyable with each other. What you learn together as you went through it, what you’ve accomplished together, particularly, when you apply the Biblical principles of a man giving spiritual leadership in the home and of a woman bringing that completion of emotional health and insight into the home and that she brings order into a home.
I always share with people that I know, when a home is orderly, there is an extraordinary woman in that home. And I’m not just talking about things are neat; I’m talking about the relationships are orderly. The woman sets that pattern of orderliness and, when there is a depth of concern, then I know a man is doing his job because leadership, according to the Bible, is a servant’s heart that wants to care for people and, if there’s a man who is caring for his wife and his children, that compassionate environment begins to be seen in the home.
Now, certainly, women have that great nurturing dynamic and men have that leadership, “Here’s where we’re heading,” and all of that, but I will just say I have always noted a Christian home where the husband and wife are fulfilling their overlapping but yet unique roles, men will bring that depth of intimacy that flows from their concern for their wife and women bring that depth of order that flows from their trust in the Lord working through their husband and working through them together into the lives of their children. Those things are fleshed out in those “dip/hurricane years” where it doesn’t seem so satisfying and joyous but, yet, on the other side, there’s some things that really develop out of that.
FOCUS ON WHAT DREW YOU TO EACH OTHER AND DEVELOP IT
May I just say, anecdotally, I cannot envision my life apart from my wife, just what she means to me and, hopefully, what I can mean to her. As you know because we’ve been friends for a long time, I always tell people “long courtship, short engagements,” and, in my case, it was “short courtship, short engagement.” It was a three-month courtship and a three-month engagement and that was it.
Some have said, “Do you regret that? Would you have liked to have taken longer courtship?” Are you kidding me? If I could go back and redo it, I would just reduce it down another two or three months if I could. It has been such a great blessing for me to have enjoyed my wife. I am not only attracted to her beauty, but I am astounded by her depth — the very thing that drew me into her life — but what I’m more astounded by is what we’ve been able to develop throughout the years. Tom, when we get in the car now and go on a trip, a lot of our talk is what we’ve enjoyed together throughout the years and our anticipation of what’s in the future.
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, why is it in our society today that people give up so quickly on marriage?
DR. REEDER: Because they give up on everything. We live in a society today that says, “You’re entitled to happiness, not your call to holiness.” That means instant happiness — not only is everything there for you, but it’s supposed to be there immediately for you and you don’t have to work at it. “It’s mine, now, fast,” and that’s why we destroy our partners in marriage because they exist for us instead of we exist for the Lord and now we want to be used of the Lord in their life.
MENTORS FOR YOUNG COUPLES ARE VITAL
TOM LAMPRECHT: Perhaps it might sound simplistic, but advising a young couple who are going through the hurricane challenging years of life, is it wrong just to say, “Hang in there”?
DR. REEDER: Not only, “Hang in there,” but, “Get some mentors.” That’s why I brought out at the beginning to get embedded in a good local church. And I would say to my brothers and sisters in those churches and my pastor friends, “We need to make sure we’ve got good premarital counseling in place and we need to make sure that we’ve got a way for people to develop relationships.”
One of the things we love to do at Briarwood is our Sunday Schools are called “congregational communities” and they all have older couples in them. Our young couples’ classes all have two, three or four older couples they can develop relationships with and learn from. Everybody needs fathers and grandfathers; everybody needs mothers and grandmothers in their lives. They need that all the time and so we want to give that to them.
And then you need to have a solid worship dynamic in a church that’s God-centered. The family that learns to worship God together will be able to stay together for the Lord. Worship sets the thermostat in your Christian life and that includes your marriage.
TIME TO COMMIT TO HARD WORK AGAIN — IN MARRIAGE, TOO
And then the other thing is this: it’s just like pastors give up too quickly in their churches, people give up too quickly at their job, people give up too quickly at a challenge — it’s we want it now and, if it requires effort, then I need to move onto something else.
Your marriage is going to require work — marriage is hard work — but God can enable you and God can strengthen you. He wouldn’t call you to stay together for life if He wasn’t able to keep you together for life. And, of course, it is the power of the Gospel that is life-changing and that allows our lives to change for the Lord and in relationship to each other.
LIFETIME COMMITMENT LEADS TO A LIFE OF CONTENTMENT
I told Cindy the other day, “You know, you had no business marrying me. That was about the dumbest decision you ever made of which I am eternally grateful.”
Marriage for me was like the big date — I didn’t have to take her home; now I got her. Of course, I found out pretty quickly that the big date is not a way of life. And I would wake up — literally wake up — in my first year of marriage and look and there’s Cindy and I would say, “Oh my goodness, this is the rest of my life. I’ve made a commitment. This is the rest of my life.”
That’s the way I was raised — I’d made a lifetime commitment and I’d say, “This is the rest of my life. This isn’t: take a shot and, if it doesn’t work, go try another one.” My dating life, I usually dated and I had someone different every week. So now I said, “This is my life.”
Well, I still wake up — matter of fact, I wake up more at night now than I used to — and I still look at her when I wake up and I no longer think, “This is the rest of my life.” I now think, “I’ve got so little of my life left to live with her and I’m so grateful for her.”
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.