Hometown: Rome, NY
Wedding Date: September 12, 1970
Family: 3 Children, 8 Grandchildren
What has been your favorite part of marriage?
Dan: I think the companionship of sharing life with someone you love.
Elaine: I agree. Sharing life with Dan has been an adventure. Not boring, for sure. He’s challenged me to climb that mountain, kayak that stream, shoot for par, write that book.
On the spiritual side, I’d say seeing God work in our lives individually and as a couple has been an exciting and favorite and humorous part of marriage. Our lives are proof that with God nothing is impossible.
Of course, raising a family together has challenges, but would also be one of my favorite parts of marriage. And now enjoying the next generation of grandchildren fills our hearts over the top.
What has been the most challenging part of marriage?
Dan: Balancing self-interest with realizing that decisions we make affect two people. Doing what’s best for the couple not just what I want.
Elaine: Those child-raising years were our biggest challenge, in my opinion. We didn’t always agree on how to raise a child.
Dan and I are so different, but we respected our differences and worked to achieve common ground. I guess it goes back to Dan’s answer of putting the needs of a marriage before the needs of an individual.
What is the biggest change in your marriage now after 41 years versus the first 5-10 years?
That’s funny. The early years were rough. We didn’t know what to do about our differences, so we argued and demanded our own way. Today, I can’t remember the last time we were angry with each other. After 41 years we finally figured out how to get along as a married couple.
There is great joy in enduring love. We’ve grown together, suffered together, experienced life together. We have learned how to live in harmony with each other because we’ve come to know each other so well.
If you could leave your grandchildren with one piece of advice for their marriages, especially given the direction of marriage in our culture today, what would it be?
Dan: Follow the Biblical teaching of Philippians 2:3-4, “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.”
Elaine: God and Dan give good counsel. Each putting the needs of the other above their own needs, reaps a win-win marriage.
My advice would be to hold on. There may be days or years when you want to let go and give up. You don’t feel like you love your husband or wife. But circumstances change. Stress lessens, children grow up, spouses mature, finances improve, love returns. The person you are married to today is not the person he/she will be in five or ten days or months or years. On a better day you may be thankful you held on to your marriage. I guess it comes down to the word, COMMITMENT. Be committed to your marriage, hold on, don’t let go.
Elaine, you write encouraging books for marriages that share a lot of your own stories. What makes marriage a topic of passion for you?
We were almost a divorce statistic. I thank God for the work He did in our lives and for my husband’s commitment to our marriage. Dan refused to let me go. I adore my husband and I shudder thinking what my life would have been like had I successfully thrown him away. Too many marriages give up too soon for too little reason. My passion is to give hurting couples hope that their marriage can survive and thrive. I pray that, like us, couples will be ecstatic they held on and stayed married. Growing old together is a treasure!
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