It’s Valentine’s Day!
These days, it is rare to find couples who have committed themselves to loving each other — especially with the many curves life throws everyone’s way. Still, NewsOne found 10 couples who wholeheartedly believe in the sanctity of the institution and were willing to share their gems of wisdom to making one’s relationship survive the test of time.
1) Betty and George Wilson, married 56 years, five children (pictured above)
Even after 56 years as husband and wife, our relationship is STILL a work in progress! Love is an ongoing process and we consciously work at it every day; we have to if we want to continue to be successful at it.
Our marriage is built on love and Godliness.
When we were first married, we stumbled upon a biblical passage that we have tried to live by ever since. It is found in 1 Corinthians, 13:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Whenever either of us feels frustrated with the relationship, we are comforted and fueled by reading these words. The verse reminds us of what marriage is supposed to be and why we signed up for it in the first place. Family is also everything to us; they can actually keep you from throwing in the towel, and we are so blessed to have a supportive network of love all around us.
2) Peter and Delisa Gibbs, married 35 years
Being together 35 years is no small feat! Delisa and I staunchly believe that the most-important lesson to be learned from being married is that we have to be committed to staying the course no matter what happens. We feel any situation that could rock the boat in our marriage is workable — as long as we both are willing to work together as a team.
When two people have it firmly entrenched in their minds that marriage is forever, then when situations arise that could be detrimental to the union, the couple will be more open to learning lessons from them, that they can use to continue building upon the marriage.
Delisa and I have worked really hard on building this marriage from the ground up, and there is an important credo that we live by:
Do not relive the past, move on. If you forgive, then forget. If you don’t completely forgive, then move on from the marriage, it will not work from that point on.
We are firm, passionate believers in the institution of marriage and have even started a movement, The Celebration of Marriage Movement. We offer insights on the intricacies of marriage and are working together on an upcoming book to help couples sustain a healthy marriage over time.
3) Debbie and Frank Wallace, married 34 years, 2 children
Every day we try to make an effort to communicate, laugh, and embrace the other person’s idiosyncrasies. There are days when Frank drives me crazy, and yet, there are those days when I can’t wait to hear this voice, see his smile and feel him snuggle up against me in a warm bed.We never let a problem fester to the point that we cannot solve the issue
Oh, but don’t get me wrong, we’ve had scream fests, non-talking days, even one busted-wall day, but we learn to forgive and move on. We truly just try to enjoy those moments we have together because time flies by so quickly.
As we age, we’ve come to realize that it’s our history that has glued us together. No one knows more than your spouse all that you’ve gone through to get to this point.
Last but not least — through richer or poorer in sickness and in health — we have and will continue to support each other. On this roller coaster ride called “life,” we have encountered some pretty rough patches during our journey together as a couple, but we’ve always managed to pace ourselves, brace ourselves, and think to ourselves, I sure am glad I’m riding this out with you!
4) Judy and Marc Jenkins, married 25 years, two sons
A wife should always have a younger man on the side as a backup, as long as he doesn’t look like Rick Ross! Oh, and the art of masturbation is crucial!
OK, so my husband and I don’t know what the hell has kept us together for a quarter of a century.
There is no secret formula as to what is making our relationship work except for the fact that we laugh one hell of a lot! I’ve got jokes, he’s got jokes, our boys have got jokes, and even when we’ve been faced with life’s messes, we always seem to find humor somewhere.
We also love each other, and that is the common denominator, so we’ve built up from there. Besides, I’m sexy as hell and can STILL rock his world, so where is Marc going?
5) Linda Rivera and Beatrice Talms, together 20 years, married one year, one son
We run our household like an efficient governance: we each have assigned roles and our relationship is pretty smooth. We don’t believe in one person ruling over the other, this is how discourse comes about.
We are united in a purpose, and from the very beginning, we made the decision to work every single day on creating a loving, mutually satisfying relationship that is founded on the precept of cooperation, and this way no one feels slighted in any way. We have noticed that in many relationships, there seems to be a power struggle. Not here!
The person who ultimately gains control can only find themselves being distanced from their partner and the inequality that will come about from such a move will only result in a failed relationship.
6) Ed and Stacey Martin, married 19 years, 2 childrenEvery morning before we get out of bed, we cozy up to each other and whisper a prayer to start our day
Just because we’re married doesn’t mean we have to take each other for granted! When we get home from work, we greet each other with a kiss and ask each other about our day.
Calling, texting, sending smoke signals — every single day we communicate with each other a few times during the course of our day just to check in.
I might call Ed just to say, Hi, handsome! or send him a text telling him to have a beautiful day, and he’ll do the same for me. We also love having date night sans the kids. We also remember to do little things for each other that shows the other person they are appreciated and loved: I get up every morning at 5 a.m. to prepare for work and Ed doesn’t have to get up until 6:30 a.m. In the winter, Ed will go out at 5:55 a.m. to warm up my car for me.
Kids will also stress a relationship to no end.
We have two teen girls, but Ed and I try to always be on the same page, especially when it comes to disciplining them. Overall, marriage is hard work, as a matter of fact, it is a full-time job!
One thing to keep in mind is that like anything else, the more you put in to it, the more you get out of it. We have invested quite a number of years in this relationship and we refuse to let our good years go to waste! Nineteen years down the drain? We don’t think so!
7) Barbara and Monte Croft, married 15 years, one child
Monte and I have been married 15 years…and together another 4 before we jumped the broom — that’s damned near 20 years! How do we do it?
One day at a time.
Monte’s folks were married nearly 50 years before his dad passed, and my folks have been married 60-plus. I think we both had great role models.
Neither of us are inclined to throw in the towel even during those hard-to-deal-with moments. When you’re young and your boyfriend/girlfriend pisses you off, you can just walk away. Okay, next?
But when you find someone with common values, goals and you have a mutual respect for each other, then you know they’re a definite keeper.
Being married is not always easy. There are times when Monte or I feel underappreciated or undervalued, this is the time when we talk about it, hash is out, letting our feelings be known is tantamount to this relationship.
We listen to each other, then consider tweaking our ‘tudes or adjusting our perspectives.
Another important key toward maintaining our relationship is that Monte and I also allow each other to grow, evolve.
The bottom line is that both Monte and I are constantly keeping our eyes on the prize: each other. Just one more thing, it doesn’t hurt to have the hots for each other!
8) Yolanda and David Soto, married 13 years, two sons (pictured right)
One of the things I believe helps David and I maintain our marriage is that we had already invested so much time and energy in to our relationship even before we said “I do.”
We dated for 10 years before he put a ring on it!
We were/are friends. Like friends, we have our good and bad days, but we’ve always understood that at the forefront of this relationship is that this, was a forever thing.
I am a product of divorce and want no parts of it. As far as spice, truthfully, there isn’t as much of it as we would like there to be, but we now find that the emphasis, romantically, is on quality and not quantity.
When we steal away from our boys, ages 9 and 6, we make romance count. David and I make an effort to plan an outing that reminds us of those DINK days ( double income no kids), be it a fancy dinner, play, or fun night out with other couples.
Another bit of marriage savvy advice is that I know my husband only too well and try not to take him for granted. I respect the fact that I cannot change David. So I pick up the socks he leaves in same place every night and just keep it moving.
David is a good father and a good man, many of us know people who do not have the luxury of saying this.
So I keep praying and doing my part.
He keeps praying and doing his part too and we try to be patient with one another. Bottom line, David and I are reminded of the fact that we are in this together, and we try to hold on to that loving feeling and remember why we said, “I do,” in the first place.
9) Antoinette and Daniel Atoukui, married 10 years, two sons
Sometimes when things get a little rocky, I choose to look at my husband as my friend instead of my husband. I find the husband title sometimes lends itself to expect more, and certainly, to tolerate less.
10) Melvin and Anesha Clark, married 21 years, three children
My wife and I are friends and business partners, a combination that is not easy but somehow we’ve made it work. Before we entered in to our restaurant business, we were warned by many that working together all day can either make or break you as a couple, and thankfully, we’re still here and very much in love.
We have some ground rules that we live by like working toward a common goal, having a shared vision. We also agree to disagree but always make difficult business decisions together.
There is no place for power struggles in our relationship; business or otherwise, we’ve come to appreciate each other’s strengths.
Most importantly, we trust each other and know that when each of us says something will get done, it gets done! There are times when life’s load gets a little heavy, but we feel secure in the fact that we have each other’s backs no matter what.
My wife is my bud, my rock, my life, and she feels the same about me and somehow knowing and trusting in this keeps us going strong.