[From Noel] Bruce and Marnie Boland both serve the Niagara Falls Church of Christ in various capacities. Marnie has developed a remarkable monthly kids program for SK – Grade 3 called the F.R.O.G. Club (Fully Relying on God) that has been successful in blessing kids and parents in Niagara Falls. Bruce and Marnie also run the Club R.O.C.K. (Relying on Christ the King) for Grades 4-8, Youth Cafe for Teens and a host of other ministry efforts. Bruce works full-time with the Niagara Falls church along with Darrin Douglas.
I have heard both Bruce and Marnie talk about the challenge of marriage, particularly in ministry but also in light of being parents too. They are real, and honest, and so darn good looking it almost makes you sick. 🙂 Julie and I went to school with Bruce at Great Lakes and I met Marnie while we were studying at Brock University a few years later. They both have something wonderful to share in response to our question ‘What changes in your spouse have surprised you the most since you’ve been married?’
[From Marni] I love the way my husband has grown over the years of our marriage … somehow he’s managed to stay the same in the areas that I fell in love with, and to become stronger in the areas that our family has needed him to be. On our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to the song, “Can You feel the love tonight?” from the movie “The Lion King”. A verse from that same song became an anthem in my mind and in my belief about my husband, “Why won’t he be the king I know he is, the king I see inside?” The first few years of our marriage I believed more in my husband and what God could do through him, than Bruce did. We both had many areas in which to grow and mature, but I felt that Bruce had so much potential to really lead our family spiritually. We hit a lot of bumps those first few years…me, wanting him to lead and him, not ready to do so. Then over a course of a few years, much prayer, and God’s nudging, something changed…a longing, and a passion stirred in Bruce: a conviction to be a dad who is intentional, present and engaged in the lives of his two sons and little girl, a hungering for God on a personal level, a passion to encourage brothers in the faith and in their roles as dads and husbands, and a desire for us as husband and wife to be a team in whatever God places in our lives. Bruce has grown so much in his walk in the Lord and it has been a blessing to me, our children and our church family. I’ve always been grateful for him, but today, nearing 16 years of marriage, I am overflowing with gratitude to God for placing in my life, the right man to lead me and our children. He sees the eternal implications of his role in our home, and takes them seriously. He sees now, that only one man is called to lead his family, and that is Bruce Boland. I’m glad Bruce now sees what God has always known – what a difference one righteous man can make in his family and the world around him.
[From Bruce] As I have been thinking about the ways my wife Marni has changed since we’ve been married I am reminded of how much I did not measure up to the fairytale husband she had pictured in her head. I was handed a pink slip from my employer a few days before our wedding, what a great way to start. I remember back to how she wanted so bad to be a great house wife for me but was learning from scratch how to cook and manage a house. She had lived at home up until we were married, with very little hands-on training! I remember the first time she made spaghetti and actually mixed the sauce in with the noodles instead of pouring the sauce on later. Who does that?? That was not how my mom did it. I remember how much she loved to babysit kids from church and I just expected that having our own kids was going to be a piece of cake. I mean she loved to change diapers and read stories and put kids to bed…this was going to be easy! To see how badly she wanted to be a good mother and not to make any mistakes was a huge concern for her. I remember going through one of the toughest times in our marriage when we lost a child 5 months into her pregnancy. It was an incredible experience of sorrow, reliance, bonding and emotion. I remember holding him before the nurses took him away and I can still see his small frame and his tiny little fingers and the incredible gift from God he was for us even though he was taken way too early. The love I had for my wife in that moment was stronger than ever as I felt helpless in that circumstance. I think of how my love for her grows every day and how proud and blessed I am to have her. I look back at those adjustments or changes we both had to make in our lives and I believe we are stronger from it. I wouldn’t change a thing. It is through the conflicts that we grew to love each other like we do. Our marriage is not perfect but God is leading us through the times that we don’t see eye to eye. I can honestly say that I am a blessed man who has been blessed by an amazing God. It is the changes in my wife that I will always cherish as God molds her into the woman He created her to be. I am so thankful that I get to share my life with her.