‘As long as you both shall live:’ Advice from married couples
When a married couple reaches the 63-year-anniversary milestone, it’s reasonable to offer a bit of advice when asked.
“You just have to have your faith to stay with it,” said Lucille Wolbach of St. John Vianney Church in South Burlington who has been married to Robert for 63 years. “You have to say a lot of prayers and have faith in God.”
Mr. and Mrs. Wolbach were among 22 couples celebrating significant anniversaries that were honored at a World Marriage Day Mass earlier this year at St. Joseph Cathedral in Burlington.
Robin and Mark Fyles of Holy Angels Church in St. Albans marked 30 years of marriage. Asked for her advice for a long and happy marriage, Mrs. Fyles said communication is key. “Always be honest and respectful with one another even when it’s challenging to do so,” she said. “Agree to disagree and never go to bed mad.”
She said it’s important to marry your best friend because “a strong marriage begins with friendship first.”
And “trust is key,” she added.
“I agree with everything she said,” Mr. Fyles said with a laugh.
Doris and William Van Mullen of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Williston have been married for 50 years, and prayer is integral to their marriage. “Keeping our faith strong has helped us,” she said.
Patience and understanding are important too, her husband added. “Yes, calm, patience and understanding help balance a couple,” Mrs. Van Mullen said.
Joseph and Mary Myers, also of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, have been married for 30 years. “You have to work at it and compromise,” she said of a successful marriage. “In tough times, you turn to God and to each other and to family.”
Indeed, faith is integral, her husband said: “You have to have a faith base that you share as a couple.”
Albert and Anita Wells of Holy Angels Church in St. Albans have been married for 50 years. “You have your good days and bad,” he said.
Faith and prayer are important to them and their family. Their daughter, Lisa, said her parents taught their three children the importance of family, trust in God, prayer, kindness to others and avoiding being judgmental.
Bernard Hemond Jr. and his wife, Linda, parishioners of Holy Family Church in Essex Junction, have been married for 50 years. Along with faith and love, they agree a sense of humor is integral to a long marriage. “He’s the boss, and I give the orders. We’re good,” she said with a laugh.
They share a love for the Church and are involved in various parish and service activities.
Marriage, they agreed, takes love, faith, respect and trust. “If you’re both strong in your faith, you have that to share,” Mrs. Hemond said.
—Originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.