Summary: Reflections on George and Elsie Walton’s 60 years of marriage
Elsie and George’s Diamond Wedding
George and Elsie have come here today to give thanks to God for their togetherness that began with their marriage 60 years ago on 22nd December 1945.
They met at a dance in 1942. I am told Elsie was a good dancer - which explains why she’s been leading us on a merry jig ever since.
And George was “propping up the bar” to use his own words. It was love at first sight for both of them
What do you say to a couple who have been together for 60 years – when you’ve only be married for 23!
Someone once defined marriage as
“a voluntary life sentence with no remission for good behaviour.”
When I asked George what he thought about marriage – his reply was:
“ If I’d committed murder, I’d have got less”
In marriage you are there to support and cherish one another and the two have become one.
I like what one young husband whose wedding I performed said about his new wife at the Reception. He said:
“I asked her to marry me, not because I have found someone I can live with - but because I have found someone I cannot live without”
Some people have some very strange ideas about what marriage is all about.
Take Elizabeth Taylor – who after seven marriages and five divorces - said this:
“I think it’s fairly obvious why I was married. As strange as it may sound, I am a very moral woman. I was taught by my parents that if you fall in love, if you want to have a love affair, you get married. I guess I’m very old-fashioned.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)
And some have even stranger ideas about what makes a good partner!
Take Agatha Christie, the famous novelist who once said: “ An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.” She should know – she was married to one
What is wonderful is that for George and Elsie their marriage vows have meant a lot to them.
They have been through thick and thin together – working together to build a better life together
In a recent US survey , the three most important keys to a healthy marriage were:
1. good communication,
2. ability to resolve conflict and
3. close friendship
1. Good Communication
So much harm is done by miscommunication.
Story: The speaker at a women’s club was lecturing on marriage and asked the audience how many of the women present wanted to “mother” their husbands.
One member in the back row raised her hand.
“Do you really want to ‘mother’ your husband?” the speaker asked.
“Mother?” the woman replied. “I thought you said ‘smother.’
2. The ability to resolve conflict
The second important quality in a marriage is ability to recognise our mistakes (isn’t it Elsie) and say sorry quickly goes a long way in solving conflicts.
St Paul in the Holy Scriptures says: “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”(Eph. 4:26)
But don’t follow the corollary of the Best Man - at a wedding I recently took - who said - in his Best Man’s speech:
“The Vicar told us in the service this afternoon that we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger. He’s quite right.
You should stay up all night fighting”
3 A close friendship
And the third key to a successful marriage in that US survey was that husband and wife are first and foremost good friends – they like each other’s company.
4. The presence of God
The final ingredient in a good marriage - which the US survey missed - is the presence of God.
The wonderful message of hope - that the Christian Gospel brings - is that you can commit all your problems and share your joys with Jesus in prayer.
As the Scripture says: “Two are better than one because they gain a good reward in their toil. For if one will fall, the other will lift his companion but woe to the one alone who falls when there is no other to lift him up! So if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one alone keep warm. Although one may prevail against him who is alone yet two will hold out against him, a threefold cord is not easily broken.” (cf Eccl 4:12)
George and Elsie - you have come today to renew your vows in Church before God.
It is great that you want to involve him in that – may I encourage you to involve him also in all the nitty gitty of life together too.