Day by Day
Best marriages are built on respect, care, friendship
By Liz Thompson
Apr 21, 2019
This Week News
He walked into a classroom at Ohio State University and saw the woman who – just two weeks later – would become his wife.
I don’t know his name. We met at an optometrist’s office, and he started talking tenderly about his wife of 61 years, who had died last April.
“What do you think makes a good marriage?” I asked.
Without much hesitation, he said, “Companionship. Caring for each other.”
“The for-better-or-for-worse part of the wedding vows, you mean?” I asked.
He scowled and said, “I don’t remember much ‘worse’ part.”
I rephrased: “You were there for each other, no matter what was happening?”
“Yes,” he said with a smile.
We agreed friendship is important for a long-lasting marital relationship.
This month, my husband and I celebrate 41 years of marriage. I’m thankful Bob and I are good friends and have been from the start.
We didn’t marry two weeks after meeting, but one year later.
My soon-to-be father-in-law told us before we married, “Remember you are getting married because you love each other.” Plain and simple.
He likely was thinking of 1 Corinthians 13, also known as the Bible’s “love chapter”:
“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. Love never fails.”
These words often are spoken at weddings. I sang them at a cousin’s wedding many years ago.
My parents, Jim and Mary Day of Westerville, were married from 1945 until my father died in 2011. My mother says marriage has a lot to do with forgiveness.
“You have to really listen to each other,” she said. “You have to talk it out and get over it – really care for the other person.”
Carol McClellan of Grove City, married 57 years, agrees with my mother and the unnamed gentleman in the first paragraph.
“Caring for each other and thinking more about the other person’s well-being” is crucial, she said.
Bob and Ann Gray of Westerville recently downsized after being in the same house for more than 40 years. What to do with all the things they acquired was a true dilemma.
Bob and I moved 15 times in about the same timeframe. When you have to pack, move, unpack and find a place for all the things at the new residence, the boxes become fewer.
We let go of a lot of things that truly didn’t matter and kept the things that did – a good analogy for marriage.
Bob and Ann met in Texas in 1966 at an A&W Root Beer drive-in. He was stationed at Webb Air Force base, and after they dated for a year and a half, he was shipped to Vietnam on April 1, 1968.
After corresponding for nine or 10 months, Bob decided that Ann was the one he wanted to marry. He wrote:
“January 1969 I sent a letter of proposal and awaited her reply. The answer soon came, it was positive and things were set in motion for a wedding as soon as I got back. I arrived in San Francisco on April 1st, 1969 and I flew directly to Midland (Texas) for the April 3 event.”
Throughout their now-50 years of marriage, their relationship matured, and so did their faith. They learned their marriage is a triangle “with the Lord at the apex.”
“We take our wedding vows seriously, Bob said.
He said that involves respect, resolving differences, making wise decisions for the family as a whole and relying on God – especially when there are bumps in the road.
Marriage shouldn’t be a race to see how long you can stay together. To me, it’s how you live day by day, learning and growing together and leaning on one another.
I thank God every day that Bob and I have each other as we travel through each new day.