Richard and Arlene Baughman have been married 75 years and claim they’ve never had an argument.
“If we had differences we just talked about it,” said Richard.
Arlene joked, “We always said, we didn’t have dishes to throw or shoes to throw because we couldn’t afford it. So, we had to get along!”
The Sheldon, Wisconsin, couple, age 97 and 96, was recently featured in Time magazine, as well as several other media outlets. Their courtship began when they went to a movie with some friends and soon became a couple.
“We talked right from the start; he was really easy to talk to,” said Arlene. “I’m still wearing my original wedding ring,” as she proudly showed a TV reporter her thin gold band.
The couple has shared the peaks and valleys of life. Two years after they were married in 1940 Richard was drafted during WWII. “There was no way of getting in touch with him, letters were scare so we hardly knew how he was or where he was,” said Arlene.
After returning home 14 months later, Richard had to cope with PTSD and later deal with the death of their oldest son, one of their six children.
Arlene said, “Without him I don’t know what I would have done, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Richard added, “I’m still in love with her, she means everything to me.”
The couple’s advice for a happy marriage is to not fret over the small things and to keep faith in the Lord alive.
After reading this story, there are several lessons to learn about how to stay married…even for 75 years.
(1) Be Committed to each other.
God’s plan is what Richard and Arlene have followed. One man for one woman for life. Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:6). That takes commitment. Dedication. Loyalty.
(2) Loving Communication.
Richard is right. If you have differences, just talk about it. Don’t shout. Bicker. Squabble. Or fuss. Kindly and lovingly communicate your thoughts, ideas, and feelings to your spouse.
(3) Compromise when differences arise.
The ability to accomplish this depends on the first two qualities–commitment and loving communication. “Love doesn’t demand it’s own way,” wrote Paul in the famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13.
Marriage counselors admit that more marriages die from inflexibility than from alcoholism, abuse or adultery.
(4) Courtship after marriage.
It’s apparent in watching the video the Baughman’s loving and tender feelings for each other. “We’re happy for just another day together,” said Arlene.The Preacher of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Life joyfully with your wife whom you love all the days of your life.” And the wise man counseled, “Rejoice with the wife of your youth…and always be enraptured with her love.“ (Eccl. 9:9; Prov. 5:18-19).
(5) Christ as the Center of Your Relationship.
Faith gives you the resolve of commitment, the motivation to lovingly communicate, the will to compromise, and the pleasure of your intimacy.
In an age when the relationship of marriage is under siege, where couples are forgoing marriage to shacking-up, and divorces are occurring for frivolous and selfish reasons, Richard and Arlene Baughman are shining lights in a sin-darkened world.
“A good marriage isn’t something you find;” wrote Gary L. Thomas, “it’s something you make.” Just ask the Baughmans
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman