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Husband and Wife


Spousal Encouragement

In 1849, when Nathaniel Hawthorne was dismissed from his government job in the customs house, he went home in despair. His wife listened to his tale of woe, set pen and ink on the table, lit the fire, put her arms around his shoulders and said, “Now you will be able to write your novel.” Hawthorne did—and literature was enriched with ‘The Scarlet Letter’. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Spousal Encouragement

Katherine, the wife of Martin Luther, dramatically revived the depressed Reformer’s confidence in God’s providence. This has been versified by F.W. Herzberger:

            One day when skies loomed the blackest,

            This greatest and bravest of men

            Lost heart and in an oversad spirit

            Refused to take courage again,

            Neither eating or drinking nor speaking

            To anxious wife, children or friends,

            Till Katherine dons widow garments

            And deepest of mourning pretends.

            Surprised, Luther asked why she sorrowed.

            “Dear Doctor,” his Katie replied,

            “I have cause for the saddest of weeping,

            For God in His heaven has died!”

            Her gentle rebuke did not fail him,

            He laughingly kissed his wise spouse,

            Took courage, and banished his sorrow,

            And joy again reigned in the house.

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Duty of Husbands

The Most Important Thing

Men's Life magazine surprised itself with a survey -- asked its readers "What's the most important thing in your life?"  And no, it was not sex, it was not career, it was neither fame nor fortune. 

The most important things to 63 percent of the men were their wives and ninety percent of married men called their wives their best friend. -- Associated Press, 9/4/90



The elderly couple had been married for 50 years - 50 full years of misery.  They had fought every day of their marriage.  It was the typical standoff:  she said she would change when he did, and he said he would change when she did.

The couple's children threw a 50th wedding anniversary party for them.  After the celebration had ended and the guests were gone, the wife turned to her husband and said, "We've lived together for 50 years, but its been miserable.  We've fought every day."

She paused.  "Now I think it's time to change.  In fact, I've been praying that things would change.  I've been praying that the Lord would take one of us home.  And when he answers my prayer...I'm going to go live with my sister in Grand Rapids!" ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching



Dissolving a marriage is not like dissolving a business partnership, or even like deserting from the army. Indeed, many psychologists have stated that it is second in emotional impact only to the death of a spouse. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching



On a television show, “Divorce Wars,” a thriving divorce lawyer found himself on the brink of divorce, even though he strongly believed in family life. As he began to ponder why his marriage was falling apart, he asked a friend the following question: “Max, how did you stay married for thirty five years?”

Max, being older, had a rather illuminating answer: “I guess in our generation we didn’t expect as much from each other—and we ended up getting more. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching



”I will never marry again”—said by Barbara Hutton (who was at the time heiress to the forty-five-million-dollar Woolworth fortune), after divorcing her second husband, Count Kurt Heinrich Haughwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow, in 1941.

“I will never marry again. You can’t go on being a fool forever”—said by Barbara Hutton, after divorcing her third husband, Cary Grant, in 1945.

“This is positively my final marriage”—said by Barbra Hutton, after marrying her sixth husband, Baron Gottfried von Kramm, in 1955.

“He’s a composite of all my previous husbands’ best qualities without any of the bad qualities… I have never been so happy in my life”—said by Barbra Hutton, after marrying her seventh husband, Prince Doan Vinh de Champacak of Vietnam, in 1964

In November, 1966 Barbra Hutton and Prince Doan Vinh de Champacak of Vietnam filed for divorce. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching



 Sylvester Stallone, filmdom’s “Rocky,” was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying, “Boxing is a great exercise—as long as you can yell ‘cut’ whenever you want to.”

Many people go into marriage the same way. They figure it’s great mental, emotional, or even physical exercise as long as you can cut out whenever you want to! ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Effect of Divorce

The results of a 1978 survey reveal that the main causes of loneliness usually have their origins in childhood. Children who were less than six years of age when parents were divorced were by far the loneliest as adults. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Effect of Divorce

The conclusion of a five-year study by Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia on who is most hurt in a divorce is that ‘small boys are the worst victims of divorce and their painful attempts to adjust often lead them into a mutually destructive conflict with their mothers.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching


Responsibility for Divorce

”As a pastor in three different churches, encompassing twenty-eight years, I’m beginning to wonder if there is such a thing as an innocent party.”— Dr. Stephen Olford.



Ivana and Donald Trump have signed yet another legal document allowing both to date other people without influencing any subsequent divorce proceedings. -- Associated Press,  4-25-90



Why do toymakers watch the divorce rate? When it rises, so do toy sales. According to the analyzers, four parents and eight grandparents tend to compete for children's affections, so buy toys.── L.M. Boyd, Spokesman Review, March 15, 1993.



A few years ago, the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO made public 1,300 recently discovered letters that the late President wrote to his wife, Bess, over the course of a half-century. Mr. Truman had a lifelong rule of writing to his wife every day they were apart. He followed this rule whenever he was away on official business or whenever Bess left Washington to visit her beloved Independence. Scholars are examining the letters for any new light they may throw on political and diplomatic history. For our part, we were most impressed by the simple fact that every day he was away, the President of the United States took time out from his dealing with the world's most powerful leaders to sit down and write a letter to his wife.── Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, pp. 15-16.



Seoul -- At his father's funeral, American Carl Lewis placed his 100-meter gold medal from the 1984 Olympics in his father's hands. "Don't worry," he told his surprised mother. "I'll get another one."

A year later, in the 100-meter final at the 1988 games, Lewis was competing against Canadian world-record-holder Ben Johnson. Halfway through the race Johnson was five feet in front. Lewis was convinced he could catch him. But at 80 meters, he was still five feet behind. It's over, Dad, Lewis thought. As Johnson crossed the finish, he stared back at Lewis and thrust his right arm in the air, index finger extended. Lewis was exasperated. He had noticed Johnson's bulging muscles and yellow-tinged eyes, both indications of steroid use.

"I didn't have the medal, but I could still give to my father by acting with class and dignity," Lewis said later. He shook Johnson's hand and left the track. But then came the announcement that Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids. He was stripped of his medal. The gold went to Lewis, a replacement for the medal he had given his father.── David Wallechinsky in The Complete Book of the Olympics, Reader's Digest.



Instead of writing the usual "housewife" title while filling out a form asking for his spouse's occupation, one man wrote in: "Domestic Goddess." 

Mrs. Bob Evans, April, 1980, Reader's Digest.



Bob Greene (in the Detroit Free Press) cited a study by attorney Michael Minton on the monetary value of a wife's services in the home. First he listed the various functions she performs: chauffeur, gardener, family counselor, maintenance worker, cleaning woman, housekeeper, cook, errand runner, bookkeeper/budget manager, interior decorator, caterer, dietitian, secretary, public relations person, hostess. Using this impressive list of household duties, Minton figured the dollar value of a housewife's work in today's (1981) labor market. He came up with the amount of $785.07 a week. That's $40,823.64 a year!

Source Unknown.

Bishop Taylor came the closest of anyone to capturing the sentiment of Proverbs 31 when he wrote: "If you are for pleasure, marry. If you prize rosy health, marry. A good wife is heaven's last best gift to a man; his angel of mercy; minister of graces innumerable; his gem of many virtues; his box of jewels; her voice, his sweetest music; her smiles, his brightest day; her kiss, the guardian of innocence; her arms, the pale of his safety; the balm of his health; the balsam of his life; her industry, his surest wealth; her economy, his safest steward; her lips, his faithful counselors...and her prayers, the ablest advocates of heaven's blessing on his head."

 Today in the Word, July, 1989, p. 44.



In order to uncover the processes that destroy unions, marital researchers study couples over the course of years, and even decades, and retrace the star-crossed steps of those who have split up back to their wedding day. What they are discovering is unsettling. None of the factors one would guess might predict a couple's durability actually does: not how in love a newlywed couple say they are; how much affection they exchange; how much they fight or what they fight about. In fact, couples who will endure and those who won't look remarkably similar in the early days. 

Yet when psychologists Cliff Notarius of Catholic University and Howard Markman of the University of Denver studied newlyweds over the first decade of marriage, they found a very subtle but telling difference at the beginning of the relationships. Among couples who would ultimately stay together, 5 out of every 100 comments made about each other were putdowns. Among couples who would later split, 10 of every 100 comments were insults. That gap magnified over the following decade, until couples heading downhill were flinging five times as many cruel and invalidating comments at each other as happy couples. "Hostile putdowns act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode the relationship over time," says Notarius, who with Markman co-authored the new book We Can Work It Out. "In the end, relentless unremitting negativity takes control and the couple can't get through a week without major blowups."

U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 1994, Page 67.