Candace Nassar 

Hello. Well, welcome, everyone. This month we’re talking about how God wants us to put his love into action in our relationships. Many people feel like this is the hardest with our spouses because marriage is hard. And there are some scary statistics out there that might feel daunting, but listening to podcasts like today shows commitment to growth and a deeper relationship with your spouse. So we just thank you for being here. 

Do you ever feel like your marriage hit a rough patch and you can’t seem to get out of it, or it’s just downhill from here or that you’re settling for everything is fine just because it’s the easier path? Or how about those couples, you know that have been married for decades and decades? How in the world do they truly seem so happy? Today we’re going to hear from Barbara and Joe Bland, longtime Austin residents who have been married 42 years almost. Okay. Yes, you heard right. 42 years. They’re going to share their story of how God transformed their hearts and showed them how to truly love each other over the years. So, hi, guys. It’s great to have you on. 

Joe Bland 

Thank you. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah, it’s just so great. Thank you for coming on. Barbara is one of our mom Q mentors, and if you know Barbara, you love her. She has so much wisdom and grace, and our leadership team are all big Barbara fans. 

Barbara, you’ve been on the show before. You and Annie did a deep dive into marriage back in December, I believe it was. And you told us some of yours and Joe’s story then. And I just knew that I had to have you on again. And so this month being the month we’re talking about love and relationships is the perfect time to have you come and talk about it some more. And this time you brought your better half. 

Barbara Bland 

Yes. 

Joe Bland 

To defend himself. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah. To defend himself. That’s right. So welcome, Joe.

Joe Bland 

Thank you. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah. And welcome, Barbara. 

Barbara Bland 

Thank you. 

Candace Nassar 

So, Barbara, give us an update. What’s been going on since I guess I saw you last before the holidays? 

Barbara Bland 

Well, just getting to have a lot of good time with my brand new little granddaughter. She’s three months old now, so I get to spend Tuesdays and Thursdays with her and just enjoying life, getting to play with my grandkids and work on stuff. 

Candace Nassar 

Doing all the many things that you do volunteer wise. MomQ, and you have a small group and you guys are involved in education, connection, a local education, reading ministry. And I know you’re a big workout queen. 

Barbara Bland 

Well, I don’t know about that. I mean, I don’t know about queen, but we’ll see. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, Joe, why don’t you introduce yourself to our listeners, if you would? 

Joe Bland 

I told Barbara, I was going to say I’m Mr. Barbara bland, but you could call me Joe. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, that’s funny. I don’t think so. I think you’re both a power couple. I see you guys everywhere.

Joe Bland 

I was actually born and raised here in Austin, and we’ve got our two sons that have two wonderful daughters in laws, and then, of course, two grandsons by one, our oldest son and a little granddaughter, with our youngest son just three months old, like Barbara said. So that’s really rewarding. And I get the best job of all. I get to work with my sons. Both my sons work with me and my construction company a little like I did with my dad. I followed him. We’re a third generation construction company that dates back into the late 50s in Austin. 

Candace Nassar 

I didn’t realize that. That is remarkable, first of all, that you were born and raised in Austin and still live here. 

Barbara Bland 

He’s never lived anywhere but here. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah, that’s mind boggling since most people you ask have only been here, I guess, an average of probably ten years at the most. So that’s so good. And the fact that you get to work with your sons, that speaks volumes of your relationship with them. And that’s really awesome. 

Joe Bland 

Barbara doesn’t understand, though, because she asks me when I get home in the evening, you know, how were the boys? I go, well, they’re fine. 

Barbara Bland 

You know, emotionally, spiritually? What are y’all talking? 

Joe Bland 

But did you not ask them about how they were doing? I said, “No.” 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah, that’s cute. That’s something. I can hear my husband saying that, too. That’s such a man thing, for sure. All right, cool. Well, let’s do this. Let’s crack open the box and get to it. So, Barbara, how about you start by telling us how you and Joe met?

Barbara Bland 

Well, we met. I was living in college station with one of my best friends and a whole bunch of our friends who graduated from A & M and moved to Austin. So we would come here and visit them and I actually met Joe and his good friend on the San Marcos river. But we were just friends for several years. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, really? I love that. That’s actually how Jaime and I started out, too, as friends. That’s a good way to start. So you were out of college or not doing the college thing. 

Joe Bland 

Not doing the college thing. 

Candace Nassar 

Okay. And so when did you start dating then? 

Barbara Bland 

Well, so he broke up with his girlfriend and I broke up with my boyfriend. And it just kind of happened gradually, we started going out dancing, and that was a common love between both of us. And we just kind of fell in love. 

Candace Nassar 

I want to see you all dance sometime. 

Barbara Bland 

It’s been a while. 

Candace Nassar 

I love that! 

Joe Bland 

We hope it’s like riding a bicycle. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, I love that. Did you ever go to the Broken Spoke?

Barbara Bland 

We did, of course. All the places. 

Candace Nassar 

So fun. Okay, so how long did you date? Well, first let me ask you. How long did you know until you knew you were going to get married? 

Barbara Bland 

Well, this is so funny, because one of the things we were talking about is how did you propose? Did I propose? Or did you. 

Joe Bland 

I remember going to Katie because we were sober driving down the highway. 

Barbara Bland 

We probably weren’t sober when he asked me to marry, so it’s kind of not in the memory bank. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s so interesting. 

Joe Bland 

But remember going to Katie and asking your dad? 

Barbara Bland 

And he said no. He came back in and said, “Well, Joe asked me and I said no”. They were just kidding. They love Joe, I think, more than they love me. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, that’s funny. Now everybody does their proposals on social media, so you can’t forget them. 

Joe Bland 

Right. Well, you have a big party. All your friends are hiding.

Candace Nassar 

Yeah. Before you propose. I know. It’s so different. All right, well, then, how long did you date before we got married? 

Barbara Bland 

Do you know? 

Joe Bland 

Off and on. Probably a year and a half. 

Barbara Bland 

Not too, too long. 

Candace Nassar 

Long, because you’d already been friends. 

Barbara Bland 

But we dated for quite a while and I broke up with him. I wasn’t used to normal, nice men, and so I broke up with him. But of course, all along I thought he would die without me because that’s how much he loved me. I thought his life would probably just end. Well, he just picked right up and started dating a friend of mine. And I thought, 

Candace Nassar 

Smart man. 

Barbara Bland 

And I thought, you know, I think I did kind of like him. And it was about three months, and he broke up with that girlfriend and we got back together. And I knew then. I knew then. It took being apart and losing what I had to know how awesome he was. 

Candace Nassar 

Okay, that’s so good.I love that. So what was your faith like at that time? 

Barbara Bland

Nonexistent. Well, I had been saved as a teenager or younger than that, and it was the real deal. I really had a relationship with Jesus. But through high school and then as a young adult, I just walked away from it. My family quit going to church. We moved to a new state, we moved to a new town. We just quit going to church when I was like in 7th grade, which was critical. And so I traded God’s approval for my friend’s approval. And so I just turned into whatever they wanted me to be because I was so dying for attention and acceptance. 

Candace Nassar 

I can relate. You and I have had this conversation. Wow. So you got married. Your faith was non-existent. And you did not have faith, correct Joe. 

Joe Bland 

No. Now, I attended the Methodist church mostly with my dad. He was a regular attender and a member of the University Methodist church. And so I went every Sunday to help usher. But the idea of having a relationship with Jesus, if that was taught at that church, I wasn’t there that day because it was all religious for me. God was nowhere near that. You could reach him, you prayed to him and they were like just shots in the dark. And there was no real relationship. Right. I didn’t have a lot to walk away from, but I sure got away. I ran away from it as quickly as I could. 

Candace Nassar 

So you were punching a ticket basically, when you were doing those things. 

Joe Bland 

It never really was personal. It was more processional. 

Candace Nassar 

So then walk us through how the change happened. 

Barbara Bland 

Well, even though I wasn’t walking with the Lord, I still had that huge yearning. Something was so empty inside of me and I knew what it was. And we were living in Westlake then on Spyglass, and there was Park Hills Baptist right there on the corner. And that’s the denomination I grew up in. So one Sunday I just got up and went. Now, a few times in these years when I would go back home to visit my sister and my mother, I would go to church with my sister and, oh, I knew what I was missing. I knew what I was missing. I’d rededicate my life and then I’d get back home to our lifestyle and just didn’t have community. And so I walked into the church one Sunday morning and I thought, I’m home.

Candace Nassar 

Well, how did that go over? 

Joe Bland 

Well, here was my fun party girl wife that all of a sudden wanted to become a church one and she wanted me to join her. But I say all the time that when she would come home from church and she would say,”If you die today, you’re going to go to hell, Joe Bland. 

Barbara Bland 

I just said that one time. 

Joe Bland 

One time. Haha! Honestly, Candace, that was spot on the truth. But I will tell you and tell your listeners that’s no way to lead your husband to Christ. 

Barbara Bland 

I thought it was my job. I was going to get him saved. And he obviously couldn’t hear the Holy Spirit, so I was going to have to really be the Holy Spirit for him. It worked really well. 

Candace Nassar 

Okay, so, Joe, how long did that go on? 

Joe Bland 

Oh, it was several months, several arduous ones. Then she would come home and not speak. And then one day she came home from church and said, may I talk to you? And I said, sure. And I thought, oh, God, here it comes again. There’s going to be another angle at death. And she sat down and she said, I need to earnestly ask for your forgiveness. She said, I’ve been trying to do what only God can do, and I’m your helpmate. I’m your wife. I’m here to help you and assist you, and I just need to ask you for forgiveness, and I apologize. 

And I’d love to tell you that the heavens opened up and the doves fluttered down and you could hear the harps playing in the background. But it did start bothering my heart, because I knew in my heart of hearts that she was right and I was wrong. And for her, who was a very successful, very attractive, outgoing, successful hair salon owner, to be able to come and humble herself and ask me to do anything; she did point out, she said, you’re the spiritual leader of our family, and it’s not up to me to judge how you’re doing.

Well, let’s see. Do a little self examination. It didn’t take me long to say she doesn’t need to judge, because I can figure this out. And I’d go a couple of weeks. A month later, I went to church, and I’ll never forget, I walked in that little old church, and I didn’t realize that every woman in the church was praying for me and every woman’s husband was praying for me. And so I walked into the church, and a friend of ours that’s in San Antonio, Mark Roy, he’s a big old barrel chested guy. He came up to me and gave me the biggest hug, lifted me almost off of the ground, and I was, like, going. I didn’t realize that I was an answer to prayer for all these people. 

Candace Nassar 

Just walking in those doors, 

Joe Bland 

Just walking in the doors. So that took a little adjustment getting used to. I’d like to tell everybody, it’s like the first time at a men’s retreat when they ask you to hold hands and sing a worship song. But we started going to that church. We had a great pastor, Bob Nichols, that taught a very life equipping message, took the big words out of the King James Bible and put it into layman’s terms that we could understand and 

started making a difference in our lives. It didn’t all happen at once. 

Candace Nassar 

It’s a process. 

Joe Bland 

I was drugged across the finish line, kicking and screaming the whole way. But ultimately I knew that was the right thing to do. 

Barbara Bland 

And as long as I came at it trying to control and make him, he had to get defensive. He couldn’t receive that from me. And God was not going to ever let that work. 

Candace Nassar 

I love it how so many people were praying and you just trusted in that. AYou just backed off and you apologized, and then you just trusted in God and trusted your community. And then there you came in. 

Joe Bland 

Yeah, I wanted to go see what kind of church taught a headstrong, independent, determined woman to humble herself to her husband, who was not in the right, who was not living by God’s word, but to cling to

the truth in the Word that is, you are the spiritual leader. How you’re doing is between you and God. Yeah, that’s got to. Self examination is a wonderful tool if you’ll compare yourself to Christ. 

Candace Nassar 

The other thing I was going to say is just the fact that you were open, that you had that enough teachability in you and you had, I guess, just allow the Holy Spirit was obviously drawing you in, that you could hear that and be curious. So that’s really great. 

Joe Bland 

Yeah. It was self evident that the drinking and the partying and that lifestyle was not anywhere in God’s design. 

Candace Nassar 

And she was obviously changed, and you saw it. 

Joe Bland 

She was battling as hard as she could to change, to get out of that entrapped world, that the prince of darkness has and get involved in the light of our savior. 

Candace Nassar 

I’m sure you had to change friends and social type things at some point. Or did you? 

Barbara Bland 

I’ll tell you what I changed. It was my clothes. And that was so ridiculous. I turned into a little church lady there for a while. I mean, I had some party clothes now, some disco party clothes, and I just felt like I have to get rid of everything, of my past. I have to get it all out. And I was trying to be what I thought those church ladies wanted me to be and expect me to be because I still didn’t know about grace. It got legalistic there for a while because I didn’t know. I thought I had to get rid of all the old. And I remember one day, God put it on my heart that I loved you when you were doing all that I loved you. I’ve loved you the whole time. You didn’t have to change all that for my love, which was really sweet, because I thought I did. I thought I had to look the part and act the part. So it was kind of like my partner, my poor business partner who’s here today. But anyway. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah, that’s great. Well, so you’re going through this time. When did you have kids in this process?

Joe Bland 

Ways after that. 

Barbara Bland 

Thank God. 

Joe Bland 

This was in the early 80s. Mid 80s. I’m sorry. And what we were having during this time was I was in the construction business. And we had all types of financial problems. We had an employee that died in an accident on the job. 

Barbara Bland 

On the job. 

Joe Bland 

I was the first person ever charged with criminally negligent homicide, third degree murder associated to a construction activity. And there was a county attorney at that time that was on the news at night stating contractors like Joe Bland who killed their employees. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh my gosh! 

Barbara Bland 

It was. God, it was dark, dark time. 

Joe Bland 

And what I found out was all my business associates, which is the life I was living. I was headstrong with being a millionaire by the time I was 30, which when I was 30, a million dollars was a lot of money. It probably isn’t so much nowadays, but I wanted to be a millionaire by the time I was 30. I had memberships at two or three golf courses. I had a cigarette boat up here at the lake. I had all the toys and material attachments. And when that crime happened, because that’s what I was charged with. 

Barbara Bland 

And the economy. 

Joe Bland

And the economy was crashing at the same time. We had a big client that filed bankruptcy. The company depends on surety relationships and insurance. And the banking of the bank got closed by the FDIC. I went down to the bank to make a deposit one day. And the doors were chained shut. Like, what the heck? And of course, the people that took over the bank weren’t interested in working with anybody. They wanted you to just move all your debt. 

Candace Nassar 

Hard times. 

Joe Bland 

Yeah, it was hard times. But losing everything materially was absolute the best part of our lives. 

Barbara Bland 

We were talking about yesterday. Neither one of us think we would have remained married, because we didn’t have any foundation. All we knew to do was party and play all the time. We didn’t know how to be married. 

Joe Bland 

We definitely hadn’t read any of Solomon and Ecclesiastes where it says consider all a waste, meaningless. Because I knew.. And I was trying really hard to make a good life for my wife. But I was just spiritually as dead as the doorknob. So while we were starting to grow with Christ, it wasn’t the enemy that was stripping away all this. It was God. 

Barbara Bland 

God used it. 

Joe Bland 

God used it to grow us closer together. I remember I told her one time, I may go to jail. I’m facing two to ten years in jail. 

Candace Nassar 

That is so scary. 

Joe Bland

I said, if you want a divorce, this isn’t what you signed up for. That’s another thing I learned from her, was she said, well, I married you for you, not your money. 

Barbara Bland 

Darn! Yeah, what was I thinking? 

Joe Bland 

I think she shouted that out at a woman’s conference once. But, no, I had to kind of sit back and reflect on that. Because you grow up thinking, at least for a project minded boy, that my parents’ love was conditioned on good grades, keeping my room picked up, washing the car when I was supposed to, mowing the lawn. And all that stuff. If I did all of that, they loved me. And if I didn’t, I never understood until I had kids that you’re no longer able to be the best friend of your child. You have to be the parent. And so in realizing that, I’d never experienced what, in my opinion, I never knew unconditional love. And that’s just the preview, for a wife who’s willing to wait on you while you go to jail, that’s just a preview of what God’s already done for you. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s so good. 

Joe Bland 

Wow. You’re impressed with that? Joe, think about what I did. Think about what I did for you. 

Candace Nassar 

Wow. So somehow things worked themselves out. 

Joe Bland 

The publicity surrounded my arrest, my booking, and the trips to the county courthouse. Gosh, it was several years later, that was in 87. About five years later, the county attorney had a bigger fish to fry. The city had some oil storage units down on Airport Boulevard. And those tanks started leaching oil and fuel out into the groundwater. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s some big stuff. 

Joe Bland

And so the county attorney redirected his attention to that. And I went down and paid $1,222 in court fines. 

Barbara Bland 

And pled no contest. 

Joe Bland 

Pled no contest. And it was dropped. 

Barbara Bland 

But God got what he intended. I mean, his will was accomplished because it brought us to our knees before him and to each other. 

Candace Nassar 

I cannot imagine going through that in the first few years of your marriage. 

Barbara Bland 

And even the fact that he lost an employee. I mean, that was devastating, because he had never had anything like that. Never. 

Joe Bland 

We actually. We turned around, we had another employee fell asleep on the way to work. 

Barbara Bland 

Like, right at the same time. 

Joe Bland 

It was two years later on I10, we were doing a job in West Texas, and he hit a bridge abutment and died. You knew these guys. You had to go tell their families they’re not coming home. It’s a horrible thing to go through. And thank God that he was starting to be as strong an influence in our lives as he was. Because if I’d have been self medicating, it just wouldn’t. There’s no way our marriage would have lasted had we not turned to Christ. 

Candace Nassar

This is so good because couples go through so many hard times. And it’s just like we were talking about last week with our MomQ gatherings, with building the foundation on Christ. I mean, we’re going to go through hard times, but because you knew the rock personally, you knew you could depend on his sovereign care, and you were able to get through it and grow and stay married, grow in your marriage, grow in your faith. So all those things we don’t understand when we’re going through them, but you can look back and you can see it. 

Barbara Bland 

And when you’re going through it, you think it’s forever, but looking back, I just see God’s hand all through the whole thing. 

Candace Nassar 

So good. 

All right, so we know that raising kids is also a really hard time for marriages and for couples. So what are some tips, if you can think back to some of the things that you did to get through those times? 

Barbara Bland 

Well, church was number one priority. They grew up in it. We never missed a Sunday. Joe and I were still being discipled. We would go to classes at 6:00 a.m. in the morning all the way over into central Austin to our church, to be discipled in these classes. And so they were our family. And most of those ladies, because I was an older mom, I didn’t have Colin until I was 35. I didn’t have Cole until I was 38. So most of these ladies that were so much more mature than me were younger than me, but they just helped us raise our kids. If we had brought kids into our life without Jesus, that would have been two mortal lives just so messed up. 

Joe Bland 

Yeah, we were fortunate that we waited. I think we both realized we just weren’t ready. When young parents say, well, we’re just not ready now, we really weren’t ready. There were a lot of bad habits. There was lots of drinking, lots of drugs, social drugs. There was just a lot of baggage that we both had sense enough to know that we weren’t ready for kids. And then when we got ready for kids and we were blessed with she’s pregnant. And then there was a miscarriage. 

Barbara Bland 

At 4 months. But God even took care of that. But one thing I was going to tell you that we were in church every Sunday, but Joe and I went to all these parenting classes and seminars and just anything we could to try not to do what maybe we saw growing up. For me, for sure, I can say that. And just a biblical way of raising our family. So, of course, we still had, as you can imagine, I don’t remember us really disagreeing

a lot on raising kids. I always kind of thought he needed to be a better spiritual leader of the family, always. But I don’t remember us. Maybe just because you wouldn’t fight. It’s hard to fight by yourself. 

Joe Bland 

And I’m going to say this, and I want to explain it, because Barbara said, you’re mixing up your stories. I honestly believe that when God tells us as a couple to leave and cleave and become one flesh, I’m sure that that means standing in the gap, protecting your bride from an overprotective mom and or the bride telling her mom to stand down, or a dad. That’s sure. Leave, cleave, become one flesh. 

Candace Nassar 

Good point. 

Joe Bland 

But when you’re parenting, it is so important that you parent on the same page. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, yeah. 

Barbara Bland 

As one flesh. 

Joe Bland 

And that the dads don’t fall into the trap of the youth sports. My kid’s going to play in the major league and become obsessed with that. And or the mothers separate the children from the dad, and the dad all of a sudden says, well, I’m not needed here. I’ll just go play golf on Saturdays and I’ll go fishing and I’ll go hunting with it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with doing that unless it’s displacing the needs of your family. And we were so fortunate. Our kids were in youth sports and they were great little athletes, and they were good enough that when they would tell us that, well, if I don’t go to the practice, I’m not going to get to play if I have to be in church. And I just told him, I said, well, if you’re good enough, you’re going to play. And that means you might have to work a lot harder because you’re not going to have as much reps as the rest of the team. I don’t think that hurt them. I work with those two guys. I see their determination and their grit. I see the confidence they bring to the table. I see the strength that they saw from their own hard work, the reward. I don’t think it hurt them at all. But yeah, there were Sundays where we’d have kids in the pews in basketball uniforms. 

Barbara Bland

And if they had friends spend the night, they had to go to church with them the next morning. So that was just kind of fun. 

Joe Bland 

And there were a lot of their kids, their friends, I think that enjoyed it. Enjoyed it. They would never probably tell you that. 

Barbara Bland 

That’s because we took them to eat at Toronto’s after church. 

Joe Bland 

That’s right. Or I fixed them pancakes. 

Candace Nassar 

So it was a non negotiable, all of these things. 

Joe Bland 

That’s correct. 

Candace Nassar 

And that showed the priority. And it also kept you guys, like you said, united. So that would be, I guess the biggest thing you would say is just to make sure you’re united in your parenting and prioritizing church. 

Joe Bland 

and don’t put the children above God. Your priority can’t be your bride; it can’t be your kids. It has to be God. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, yes. 

Joe Bland 

And think of a triangle with a husband and a wife. And think of God up here at the apex. Well, you’re on the x and the y axis and you’re trying to get closer. If you stay down here and it’s some type of an interchange, you never get to draw closer. And we always knew that I needed to be in men’s Bible study,

she needed to be in women’s. We needed to go to parenting classes, we needed to go to marriage seminars. Since two years into our marriage, three years into our marriage, we’ve been attending marriage classes. 

Barbara Bland 

We’ll get to that later. 

Candace Nassar 

Well, it’s okay. We can jump. 

Joe Bland 

You want to go ahead? 

Candace Nassar 

Marriage classes? Absolutely. I love that. And I know you guys have been in counseling. 

Barbara Bland 

Counseling, absolutely. And three day marriage clinics and Re-engage and we’re due for a tune up. I mean, so easily those old thoughts and those old patterns can slip back in. I am so selfish and I am so controlling. And I could just be so much more comfortable if I could control everything. Well, God’s never going to let that work. So all these marriage classes and seminars and everything, that just helps remind me of the stuff I already know. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah. So if you had to think of maybe something that was. Well, I guess you’ve already kind of told us a really hard thing you went through in your relationship, but is there something else you can think of between the two of you that was a struggle at some point that you had to overcome? 

Joe Bland 

Well, I’ll make perfectly clear. For a guy to go Friday night to a marriage class and then go all day Saturday to a marriage class and then go to after church the half a day Sunday. It is not the first choice. It’s just not. And maybe it is for some, but it wasn’t for me. 

Candace Nassar 

No, probably not.

Joe Bland 

But I would walk out of the church at the end of the weekend and have heard something that I was convicted of that I knew that I needed to change. I had something to work on that I felt would help me align myself with God. 

Candace Nassar 

You know, what I’m hearing from both of you quite a bit is just the teachability that you both had, just being open to what the Lord was leading you to change and to work on. And I think that’s probably a key to why you’re still married. 

Barbara Bland 

Absolutely. 

Joe Bland 

Well, it didn’t hurt that we hit the wall and lived through the accident, so to speak. We lost everything in the world. We had to sell our condo overlooking the city and move into a rent house. We had to sell her red Mercedes and bought her a little bronco too. The boat was gone. The country club membership was gone. 

Barbara Bland 

My horse was gone. 

Joe Bland 

Her horse was gone. I mean, 

Barbara Bland 

it was best thing that ever happened. 

Joe Bland 

Yeah. God stripped all that away. And I think, so you’re teachable of the fact that everything you put your heart and your trust and your desire into was shifting sands and it washed out to sea and you had to find a rock. And I tell a lot of people that personally I was searching for something I could cling to because my bank relationship, my bonding company, all the business relationships, my friends at the club, I like to tell 

this story. The only member of the club that would play golf with me was John Amy of Wilkie, Amy, Clay Funeral home. And it was great. You’d play with mortician. And he talks like a mortician. And one day I was telling him, he said, joe, how are you doing? And I just essentially threw up all over. Know, this is bad

accounting, attorney’s bad, my bank’s been closed, blah, blah blah. And when I got all done, he looked at me, he said, well, joe, tell you what you need to do. Come on down to my shop and spend a day. 

Joe Bland 

It’ll pick you right up. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh, gosh, yes. Perspective change. 

Joe Bland 

Exactly right. 

Candace Nassar 

Oh my goodness. Yeah. I guess after that you started thinking a little differently. 

Joe Bland 

Yeah, that’s right. 

Candace Nassar 

Well, I think that is. Have you ever experienced anything that in the year since that was as dramatic, as much growth for you all? 

Barbara Bland 

I think constantly we’re growing. We make it sound like, oh, that’s behind us and now everything. It isn’t. It’s still hard work. It is still a struggle. We still have things. 

Joe Bland 

We live in a fallen world, right? 

Barbara Bland 

And we’re fallen. 

Joe Bland

We’re fallen. The wife that I married expects me to change, and I don’t. And I expected her to stay exactly the same, and she didn’t. 

Barbara Bland 

And she changed. 

Joe Bland 

And she changed. That sounds really cliche, but if you think about it, it’s so true about both. We’re both aging, we’re both getting older. In this world we’re aliens. We’re in this world. We’re not of this world. 

Candace Nassar 

There’s plenty of things that the devil’s constantly up to to divide you, and then if not, it’s your own flesh and all the things. Right? 

Joe Bland 

Exactly. 

Candace Nassar 

Yeah. 

Barbara Bland 

Very good. I still struggle horribly with trying to control situations, everything. 

Joe Bland 

And there’s something needs to be said about that because she beat the demon that was in the control by being humble and submitting herself to God’s word. That’s important. And also note that if you’ve got this controlling wife and she’s trying to change you, why don’t ask yourself why? And you got to take a little ownership in the fact that if you’re not fulfilling your role, and get this, our role is to deliver you gals as a blameless, perfect bride to Christ. How are we doing all that? That’s what we are committed to do out of marriage. That’s what Jesus did with his church. That’s what we’re to do with our brides. If you think about that, it just changes your perspective. You give a little more grace on the control because I’ve learned over the years that, okay, I need to go dig down through all this rubbish that she’s dumped on me and find the truth and fix the things about it, because I am part of the driver to her need for control. 

Candace Nassar

That’s so wise, Joe. I love that. 

The last thing I was going to ask you about is just if there was one thing you could tell couples that are struggling or just getting started in their marriage, what’s the most important thing you could tell them? We’ve been talking about, our theme is love and relationships and how love is a choice. And the things, I’m sure just some of the things you all learned throughout your 42 years about love. What is one thing you would say to these, to young couples or couples that are struggling? 

Barbara Bland 

Communicate, communicate, communicate. And don’t wait till things get bad to make some little tune ups. 

Candace Nassar 

That’s good. 

Joe Bland 

Yeah. God’s word is truth. And just rest in that. You can’t hardly tell your new bride that you’re number two. That doesn’t work very well. But in reality, she needs to be. She needs to be the second most important thing in any man’s life. His first thing must be his relationship with God. And what’s wrong with pouring yourself into being a good husband? What, are you afraid the boys, the pool hall are going to make fun of you? Or who’s the audience that you’re playing for? 

Candace Nassar 

Absolutely. It’s a big responsibility. 

Joe Bland 

It is. And she’s right. Communicate. Because I will tell you that what she has thought in solitude is far worse than what I communicate. By that, I mean if I will talk to her, if I don’t talk to her, I’ll leave it up to her to think what I’m thinking. And I don’t ever think what she thinks I’m thinking. I’m kind of a meat and potato, black and white guy. Mix the two together, you get gray. And it’s never as complex. It’s just so much easier just to talk about it and communicate. 

Barbara Bland 

The first signs. 

Joe Bland 

It’s awkward. Sure it is. But so is living a life without it. Without Jesus there to run interference for you in your conversations, without him in your life to guide you and really drive your speech and your actions. It

would be hard. Like we said earlier, I don’t think we’d be married if we hadn’t found the Lord and known that we needed to invest and learn his ways and then try to live a godly life. 

Barbara Bland 

Pray, pray, pray 

Candace Nassar 

Very good. Very important. Well, guys, thank you so much. I love how much you shared and you all are just the cutest. 

Barbara Bland 

And thank you for having us. 

Candace Nassa

Yeah, I really appreciate it. 

Joe Bland 

Our prayer would be that through our experiences, that it would bring life to someone and that they would be able to maybe not have the same missteps that we’ve had. And they would be able to draw closer to God by knowing that he really is there. He really does care and love us and protect us and provide us a wonderful marriage. 

Candace Nassar 

Love it. Thank you, guys.

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