What I Learned From a 70 Year Marriage
When you think marriage what’s the first word that comes to mind? I believe it’s safe to say for many the word “hard” would be their first thought. Today’s startling statistics related to divorce would certainly support the fact that marriage has been hard for many couples. No statistic is needed to see that there are few positive examples of long-lasting marriages anymore. I’ve never actually seen one for myself until recently.
Last month I had a refreshing conversation with a couple who are approaching their 70th year wedding anniversary this coming Christmas. Mr. Lawrence McElvaine still has his Christmas present since 1946, his lovely wife Mrs. Rosie McElvaine. The couple met in church when they were just teenagers at 14 and 15 years old, now both approaching 90 years old, they are still able to laugh and joke around together. When asked, does the romance have to die?” Their daughter quickly interjected, “NO, they are still lovie dovie.”
Technically still being a newlywed myself, I was excited to pry and figure out their secret sauce. How is it that this couple is still able to stay together and have fun after 70 years, when couples are getting divorced every 10 to 13 seconds (by the time you finish reading this post, at least 10 couples have divorced)? I was expecting some deep and surprising answers as I inquired about their journey but the McElvaines responses were quite simple, yet profound. What I learned was that:
1.Marriage doesn’t have to be hard: The ingredients for a successful marriage is simply two compatible people. “Marriage isn’t hard, the hardest part is finding the right person to marry,” Mr. McElvaine said. Simple but it makes a lot of sense, right? Of course there will be challenges but if you’re with the right person you’ll be able to get through them. Divorce was never a thought for the McElvaines. Even through the hardest season of their marriage, Rosie spent her time in prayer. She didn’t complain or contemplate divorce but she cast her cares on the Lord.
I don’t believe society today takes marriage as serious as it really is. Are we thinking through the decision on who we marry as thoroughly as we should? Or do most ignore the red flags? Do we take into account the consequences of what being unequally yoked with someone would really be like?
2.God’s way still works. As much as I love the idea of change, growth, and individualism, God’s design for marriage is key to a successful marriage. The McElvaine’s may appear traditional to some but the truth is that they simply followed God’s order. Seeing that God’s word is eternal they couldn’t go wrong. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Both Lawrence and Rosie served their homes in the way God recommends through scripture. Lawrence was proud to say he was able to financially provide and support his home and family. His wife Rosie enjoyed being a stay-at-home wife and mother. She managed the home and sought after their needs. Rosie reminded me in many ways of the Proverbs 31 woman. She loves God, is praised by her husband and children and she managed her home successfully.
3. Have fun. The overall theme throughout my interview with the McElvaines was to have fun. There were several times Mr. McElvaine would say, “we had fun together.”
After leaving their home I had an enlightened perspective of marriage as a ministry. I was encouraged and motivated to serve my family, plus have more fun with my husband.