Marital Bliss

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Marital Bliss

Chuck and I have just celebrated our thirtieth anniversary. While we were having dinner in a local restaurant last week, the waiter asked us how we made our marriage last so long. I knew right away how Chuck was going to respond because I’ve heard his little joke a thousand times over the years: His answer was, “Yes, dear. Whatever you say, dear. How could I be so stupid, dear?” Yet, for the first time I realized that it was so true! Chuck was right. These words have helped our marriage. Maybe he wasn’t joking all this time!

Early on during our courtship, we had a friendship first. Working together at WPDE-TV 15 gave us an opportunity to get to know each other and develop a respect for each other long before cupid sent his arrow into our hearts. That has been simply essential throughout our life together. We started out as friends, and we are still friends, and we continue to work together everyday, proud of the business we’ve built without any investors: Just us, and the bank! For many couples, working side by side does not work. The stress causes them to fall apart. For us, it has been a blessing.

In 1995, after years of paying on the lot, we built a house that we live in to this day. Many of our friends asked us if we were building our dream house. I replied that I never dreamed I’d ever build a house. All I ever wanted was to own a house. Chuck felt the same way. This was more than we ever had dreamed. Friends told us that building a house could destroy a marriage because of all the stress involved. Ironically, it bolstered ours. We were so proud of every rafter.

When we first decided to pursue fertility treatments, friends and even the physician warned us that patience with the process, as well as with each other, was needed as this kind of pressure could rupture the best of marriages. They had seen it happen many times. However, those very stressful four years may have left us childless, but our relationship was amazingly strengthened. We both understood that this was not in God’s plan for us, and we had to move forward with faith and love.

Last year we attended a wedding in Charleston where we listened to the most beautiful ceremony we had ever heard. The minister spoke to the bride and groom and said there are three words that will always save any marriage from destruction. I’m sure everyone in the church was thinking, “I love you.” But the minister’s words were, “Be kind, friends.” He explained that if you are always kind to each other and talk to each other as you would to a friend, you would never go wrong. He went on to say that being kind shows respect for each other and even though there will always be disagreements, there will never be anger or malice if you remember to “Be kind, friends.”

So in many ways, Chuck’s little joke had it right all along –“Yes, dear. Whatever you say, dear. How could I be so stupid, dear?” Whenever we were heading towards a disagreement during our stressful times, Chuck repeated this mantra, and now I realize he was actually being kind. He wasn’t being a wimp, but rather chose to prevent arguments by choosing not to argue. Most of all, he knew that those lines always cracked me up. Laughter really is the best “medicine” even for a marriage that is already in perfect health! Ours is marital bliss, sealed with a kiss.

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2 Responses to “Marital Bliss”

  1. “Be kind, friends” — what great advice for a marriage. Thanks for sharing it, Diane.

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    You have a gem of a husband. If “BE KIND” was the mantra and practice of young marrieds, there would be less divorce. this was heartwarming.

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