This is the last post in the “How to Be Married” Series. Gosh, what a lot of wonderful advice has been shared. Go back and catch up if you missed a post and share with a young person who could benefit from real-life wisdom gleaned from years of experience. Part One Part Two Part Three
You are in for a treat today! Brad and I LOVE Jerry and Darlene Kinder and admire them for many reasons. They are the NICEST people ever and genuinely live out their love of JESUS in authentic ways. They talk the talk and walk the walk. Their FAITHFULNESS to the Lord and our church family is such a role model to us.
Jerry farmed with us for many years after he retired from Norris Electric and Brad thinks the world of him. Darlene and I laughed with a carload of other great people all the way to Mississippi and back when we helped with Hurricane Katrina cleanup, and we have cried together, too. And she wears such cute clothes!
Drum roll please…….
How to Be Married: Jerry Kinder
I was surprised when Susan first asked me to participate in this. I wondered what I could say. But after almost 53 years of marriage, I guess those years alone qualify me for some opinions. So here goes.
First, taking the wedding vows seriously is so important. Those words are a promise to God and your wife for the rest of your lives. Too many speak the words without considering how difficult they are to live out. Start the marriage by determining that you will give more than you expect to receive. This eliminates scorekeeping which can lead to broken marriages. Having said that, my heart aches over those who through no fault of their own were unable to keep their vow. My prayer is that none of my words here would be hurtful. I have seen God’s grace sustain people through the heartache of divorce, and I hope I can encourage those who still ache. Our God is the God who brings beauty from ashes.
I am so thankful I had the sense to listen to my dad, Wayne Kinder. In 1960, I was moping around one day at home making life miserable for Dad, Mom, and my brother Roger. My dad said, “Go over to the Dougherty’s house and ask Darlene out on a date. Take her someplace and have some fun.” You see, Darlene and I grew up together in church, school, and the Falmouth neighborhood. There was never a time that I didn’t know Darlene. To me she was still the little sister of the Dougherty brothers. I give Dad the credit for seeing what I couldn’t see.
I am also so thankful that I listened to my Heavenly Father when he showed me the gift of Darlene. As I walked from the Falmouth Church of Christ on our wedding day, I knew that God is in control. We are together for a reason and even through the storms of life, He has sustained and blessed our love. That’s why each night I go to bed a happy man because I can’t wait to get up every morning to be with her.
In the first years of our marriage, we were apart 18 months due to my commitment to the Marine Corps in Southeast Asia. We learned early on that you must work to keep the love alive. Every day of married life, look for ways to make each other fall in love all over again. I try to write a poem, or draw special birthday cards, and just surprise her with something to melt her heart again. And nearly every day of my life Darlene sings to me, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…” And she’ll never know how much I love her.
Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your love story with us, Jerry and Darlene! We wish you 50 more years of loving one another.
I’m inspired to be a better wife now, and I hope you are, too!
Update: My parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary a couple of years ago. They know a thing or two about the topic as well. You can read about their big shindig here…How To Plan An Anniversary Party.