Celebrating Marriage (60+ Years)

Recently I heard a statement that a church is what it celebrates. With Valentine’s Day this Sunday,  what better way to celebrate than to spot light long term marriages in our church.

We have 3 couples who have been married over 60 years each!  Those couples are Mike and Marylyn Dahl (married 67 years), Jim and Almeda Curtis (62 years), and Howard and Mary Lou Rice (60 years).  That is a combined 189 years of marital wisdom!

All three couples graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us about their marriages.  Here is what we learned.

Mike and Marylyn Dahl - Married 67 Years

Mike and Marylyn have been members of Alive In Christ since 2011.  They have 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.  

Q - Where did you meet?
A - Augustana University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I had returned from service in Korea and Marylyn was in her first year of study in the Education field.

Q - Secret to 60+ years of marriage?
A - Our work took us to 5 states (some more than once).  We found a church for support each time.  It worked!

Q - Advice for young people in seeking a spouse?
A - Does your potential spouse have a similar family background to the values you were brought up with?

Jim and Almeda Curtis - Married 62 Years

Jim and Almeda Curtis are charter members of Alive In Christ, signing the official Alive In Christ Charter on November 15, 1992.  They have 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren (and another 3 on the way... or as Jim put it with "triplets in the hopper").  Many of their grandchildren and great grandchildren have been Baptized right here at Alive In Christ.

Q - Where did you meet?
A - In Ashland, MO at the American Legion Hall at a Saturday night dance.  Almeda was a "country girl" from Ashland and Jim was from the big city of Columbia. After the dance Jim asked Almeda on a date for the next day.  They met in December and were married in September of the next year.

Q - Secret to 60+ years of marriage?
A - Seek the Lord in all you do.  Pray together every day. Talking to the one that can change everything.   In addition they stressed talking to each other, learning "I'm sorry" and emphasized praying together, especially before bed (it's hard to pray together & remain angry).

Q - Anything else that you would like to share?  
A - Jim and Almeda shared extensively about the early years of their marriage and the challenges of those early years.  Soon after they married Jim enlisted in the military.  He was active duty for 13 years (33 years combined active duty and reserves). Almeda had hardly left the state of Missouri before she married.  She soon experienced the challenges of being a military wife.  She moved several times including a move to Alaska.  They also experienced a year apart as Jim was deployed  overseas and Almeda was left caring for young children at home.  During that year they only talked one or two times by phone.   That year apart was what convinced them that it was time to settle down.  They came back to Columbia and built on Almeda's parents farm.  They have been here ever since.

Howard and Mary Lou Rice - Married 60 Years

Howard and Mary Lou joined Alive In Christ in 2002. They have 3 daughters and 1 son, 11 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren soon to be 9.  Their oldest daughter, Christina Knapp and her family are members of Alive In Christ.

Q - Where did you meet?
A - High School.  The first time I saw Howard Ray, I fell in love with him.  Throughout high school he treated me like a sister, until he graduated.  He moved to St. Louis then he called me for a date. Six months later we were going steady, a year later we were married. I fell in love as much as a teenager feels, but it did develop and is still true 60+ years later.

Q - Secret to 60+ years of marriage?
A - We are from a generation - we don't give up on each other.  We each attempt to put the other first.  And of course lots of prayer and by the Grace of God.

Q - Advice for young people seeking a spouse?
A - Howard Ray is asked this often by people.  He usually tells them to take time to make sure to choose the right person to be your partner in marriage.  Because we all make mistakes, if you choose the right person they will overlook the mistakes and get past it.  Howard speaks wisdom and truth to so many young men who have told him, they go into the marriage thinking, "if this doesn't work, I'll get out and try again."  Mary Lou says, I am careful about giving advice.  But suggests to remember when you are dating, you will not change the habits in him or her.  If it isn't what you want now, it won't be later.  Take time to think and consider marriage as long term, forever.  And above all - Pray and seek God for counsel.

Q - Anything else you would like to share?
A - We stand amazed and grateful for the years and the family (our children, their children and their children's children) God has graciously blessed us with.

50 + Years

There is certainly a lot of wisdom to be learned from those 3 couples!  If you are looking for more marital wisdom and tidbits, spend some time with the following couples of Alive In Christ who have been married 50+ years!

* John & Jan Dean (59 years)
*Mervin & Marilyn Bettis (59 years)
*Darrell & Jeannie Hill (58 years)
*Bob & Carolyn Bartels (58 years)
*Bill & Sandy Biere (56 years)
*Clyde & Sandra Engel (54 years)
*Marv & Betty Wulf (53 years)
*Rob & Nancy Kriete (51 years)
*Tom & Mary Hoien (51 years)

If we inadvertently left anyone off from the list of 50+ years of marriage, please let the office know at aicoffice@aic.org so we can update our records.
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Tim Morris - February 11th, 2021 at 6:58am

I LOVE this! I just stand AMAZED at God's goodness to AIC for blessing us with such GREAT witnesses! I loved each of their stories and Wow! We've got some marital wisdom! Thanks for posting this...it made me smile all the way through reading it!

Carol Thompson - February 12th, 2021 at 8:07am

What a testimony! I remember when I was in the ministry so many of the young people approached marriage- if it doesn’t work out. I can always get divorced! I think it should be I am marrying the person I love forever!