A Forever Kind of Love

February 14, 2018
Real couples give real advice for a long, happy marriage
By Ayana King - American House

Happy Valentine’s Day!  All across the world, lovers are celebrating with their sweethearts. At American House, we’re celebrating too, remembering love, when nurtured, can last a lifetime. We sat down with two couples, American House residents, Chuck and Shirley Dunn, and Dick and Shirley Critchfield, to get the lowdown on how they’ve kept the love alive. Here, a few tips for enjoying a long, happy and healthy marriage.

Commit and don’t quit: Between them, the Dunns and Critchfields boast more than 130 years of wedded bliss. Both couples agree, they’d decided early on in their marriages quitting wasn’t an option. Talking about marital expectations before reciting your vows is paramount. And of course, “Make sure you’re in love”, Dick advises.

Dream about the future: Happy couples envision a future together – raising children, planning vacations, enjoying their golden years - and they work towards turning those dreams into reality. Count it a blessing to share your life with someone who will not only support your goals, but who will experience the journey to fulfillment with you.

Be the best of friends: You’ve heard the saying, “happy wife, happy life” - but a happy hubby is important too. Chuck and Shirley Dunn say they’ve been able to enjoy 63 years of marriage largely because they enjoy spending time together. The two reminisce about trips to Florida, Hilton Head Island, and a favorite getaway on the popular cruise liner, the “Love Boat”.  Shirley adds, even when vacations were few and far between, just being together was enough to keep her happy. Dick and Shirley Critchfield agree, saying their companionship has been essential to the success of their marriage. “I know she’s always there for me,” Dick said. 

Practice patience: Like any healthy relationship, marriage requires patience. The Dunns and Critchfields say even a long, happy marriage will present opportunities for both husband and wife to exercise forbearance, humility, and forgiveness. Want a long, happy marriage? Dick advises making prayer a priority, exercise self-control, and practice patience.

It’s impossible to remain married as long as these couples without having weathered a few storms. Shirley Critchfield is a breast cancer survivor; but after hurdling serious health challenges, she and Dick are more in love than ever. They were barely out of their teens when they fell in love, got married, and started a family. Now, celebrating their 71st anniversary,  on this Valentine’s Day, Shirley still blushes when she talks about Dick. Shirley Dunn, celebrating 64 years with Chuck this November, gives the simplest, yet most profound parting advice to couples hoping to withstand the test of time, “Commit yourself, every day, to your true love,” she said. “And always kiss each other good night.”

 

 


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