By Cynthia Jessup
Like many couples, Springfield residents Robert Ward, 75, and Beverly Ward, 72, have had their ups and downs during their 50-plus years together. As newly retired directors of religious education who often gave talks on married life, they are well-equipped to explain their success. When they married in August 1964, Bob was a lieutenant in the army, and Bev was a junior in college. Their life together began with a rocky start as they adjusted to being apart during Bob’s deployments, but through the years, they have relied on their shared faith. When things got rough, they would turn to prayer, and when things were good, they turned to prayer in thankfulness. But what are some of their other tips for maintaining a marriage for the long haul? Here are the words of wisdom they had to share.
Love is a choice.
“When we got married, from our cultural perspective, divorce wasn’t an option—that was it,” Robert says. “To us, marriage has another meaning, which is mystery. You don’t fall in love, and you don’t fall out of love. You choose to love a person. You make a decision every day to love that person.”
Let the other in.
“Always communicate, whether writing letters or using Skype,” Robert says. “It’s very important to keep each other in your daily lives and decisions and remind each other of their love. After the war, we would go on ‘talking walks.’ We would walk around and talk to each other about their day.”
Nurture the relationship.
“In many marriages, when you first meet, you each have your own active lives. When you start dating, you always focus on each other. If you’re not careful, after you get married, you start separating back into your separate lives, so it’s very important to do activities as a couple.” Robert says.
Find all our Sex, Love and Ghosting articles on this month’s pop-up blog here.