I met Mrs. Elouise and her husband, John, when I lived in Florida; they were in their 80s. They were approaching 50 years of marriage, and she was troubled about how to count the years. “Everybody knows he left me, but he never divorced me, so do I count the 33 years that we have been together and the 17 years he was gone?”
Soon we were planning their 50th wedding anniversary. That Sunday afternoon, her pastor, church friends and family gathered for the celebration and renewal of the couple’s wedding vows. They both were very happy.
Mrs. Elouise said problems in her marriage drove her to Jesus. She attended Sunday school and church every Sunday, while Mr. John stayed home and watched CNN and sports. He went to church with her once a year, when the church had a wedding vow renewal ceremony for all of the married couples. That made her happy. Her stewed apples and pound cake made him happy.
Mrs. Elouise said, “If you can stand a person long enough, you can understand them.”
Ten years later, Mrs. Elouise went home to be with her Jesus, and Mr. John went to church with her one last time. I know that made her very happy. The simple things you do for each other that make you happy, make a happy marriage.
Alberta McCrory, Gaines Chapel AME Church, Anniston
It’s like building a home
Marriage is absolutely one of the most beautiful and wonderful things. Good marriages give a deep fulfillment that is impossible to copy with a cheap trick or a one-night stand. They settle the soul and create simple peace. But good marriages don’t just happen. They are intentional. They are built.
Somewhere between the altar and the attorney, too many couples just stop building.
I hear the stories of unfaithfulness. More than affairs and other lovers, unfaithfulness is putting the hammer down. It’s refusing to hold the ladder. When that sort of gross selfishness replaces selfless love, the building stops.
My wife and I are building something together. Our children deserve parents who are faithful to one another and to seeing the blueprint through.
We often sit and dream of what our holiday table will be like. We want to create a special place for our family.
I believe a happy marriage is worth the work, and that is what it will take. Don’t underestimate that. Three years in with kids isn’t the time to decide if you’re up for the dirty hands and calluses. If your marriage is in trouble, there is help out there. Find someone to help you work through the process of rebuilding.
If you are thinking about marriage, find a couple with a great marriage, schedule dinner and ask lots of questions.
Brock Stamps, Harvest Church of God, Anniston