How to Stay Married for 50 Years

How to Stay Married for 50 Years

 Unsurprisingly, many marriages end in divorce. When we hear about a couple that has been married for fifty years, we are shocked. What if this changed? What if divorce surprised us? What if being married fifty years was the norm?

Meet Dale and Carol. Dale and Carol recently celebrated fifty years of marriage. Send them some congratulations in the comments below!

This couple is committed to Beating 50 Percent.

The Love Story

Dale and Carol met in college during a Christian retreat, just one week before classes began. Dale was a senior and Carol was a freshman. As their college journeys continued, they remained friends and went on a few dates. Then, Dale graduated and both attended a mutual friend’s wedding, rekindling their friendship. Carol and Dale began dating long distance. Dale lived in Savannah, Georgia, and Carol in Lake City, Florida. During Christmas of 1967, Carol visited Dale’s home town, Pensacola, Florida, and he proposed. They were married six weeks later.  

After sharing his story, Dale said, “That was 50 years ago. Happy, Happy, Happy! We have been very blessed.” 

In today’s culture, some sources claim that fifty-perfect of marriages end in divorce, the statistics of which you can check here. Somehow, Carol and Dale were able to avoid being one of the marriages that ended in divorce. I wanted to understand how they were able to stay married for so long. Here are their answers to my questions:

What do you still remember about your wedding day?

Dale – Carol coming down the aisle with her father. Beautiful! I took her hand and the rest is history.  At 8:19 P.M. we were husband and wife. After the reception, we were off to Sarasota which was 225 miles away. We made it to Alachua, about 20 miles away. Holiday Inn, Rm. 126.

Carol – I remember being very nervous and excited. Because we married after such a short time, I had a lot of loose ends to tie up with my teaching job, last minute details of the wedding, and meeting out of town friends. And, I remember wishing that I had paid more attention when my mother tried to teach me to cook.

What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?

Dale –  Be sure you fall in love with a Christian woman. Done!

Carol – Never marry anyone who isn’t a Christian. I don’t remember actual advice, but formed most of my opinions (good and bad) by observing my parents and other married couples. (I don’t think they had pre-marital counseling back then.)

What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?

Dale – First, love Christ, then love the other more than himself. Be committed and have common goals and objectives.

Carol – The most important attributes are first, love of Christ, then, of each other. Trust and faithfulness are essential.

To what do you attribute the longevity of your relationship?

Dale – Love, determination, commitment to each other and the bond created by Christ and our marriage vows.  We, also, have 3 loving Christian children (2 sons and 1 daughter –  all in Christian ministry).

Carol – We try to put the other one first, and we have developed traditions over the years that bring us closer together. Raising our children was a joint effort and leading them to the Lord was a priority. We have served in our church together teaching various age groups (mostly young married couples) most of our married life. We try to remember that we all have “bad days” and try not to take it personally when the other one is irritable. Love is a commitment to God and to each other. We never, ever say the “D” word. It isn’t an option.

How do you continually nurture and grow your marriage?

Dale – We try to meet each other’s needs, try to put each other before self. We pray a lot and serve Christ and try, in His power, to live as he would have us live.

Carol – As we have gotten older and are retired, we have more time to spend together.  We start each day with devotions, prayer, coffee in bed and discussing our plans for the day. We have had an opportunity to develop closer “couple friends” than we had when we were working. We have been able to travel more which wasn’t possible when we were both working. Dale enjoys woodworking and does projects for our church with a group of retired friends. I do volunteer work and have a Ladies’ Bible Study in our home. We have weekly Friday morning Chick-Fil-A breakfast dates. We recently gave up teaching the young married group, but have remained there as the “mentoring couple.”  We have found that it is really the little things that count.

How has your faith played a role in your marriage?

Dale – Faith is major. It is the most essential element. Love of Christ, then each other, then the children.

Carol – It is major! I have had some serious health problems (breast cancer, with radiation and chemo and removal of part of a kidney). Because the Lord is faithful and because of our mutual trust in Him, we have come out stronger and have been able to help others in similar situations. The Lord is at the center of our relationship.

How do you love each other more today than your wedding day?

Dale – We have a more mature love. Love has become an action verb, not just a noun.  Realizing what a blessing Carol has been to me, her spiritual maturity, unselfish heart, patience and endless expression of her deep love for me. Wow!

Carol – The same as Dale’s answer – just change “Carol” to “Dale”.

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I pray that this has encouraged you to believe in marriage. People can stay married for fifty years and can still love one another.

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