The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update


June 22, 2013

Hallmarks of marriage

Advice from the pros



“Marriage is a commitment — and a commitment that you work on every day,” said Wendy.

Don and Mary Pat Marstall, married 50 years

Wedding date: February 23, 1963

Children: Four grown children and two grandchildren

How they met: Mutual friends

Make friends that support your marriage

“We have friends that would tell us to stick it out,” said Mary Pat, who worked at St. Mary’s Pastoral Association for 18 years and traveled to lobby for the Right to Life Movement. “If we were going through a rough time, they would say: ‘We’ll pray for you and you pray for us.’ We share a strong faith and have been surrounded by a faith community that has helped keep our marriage strong.”

“When we had our first dance at our 50th Anniversary, we asked all the other couples who had been married 50 years to dance with us,” said Don, who has owned a service station, a storage business and rentals. “Six to eight couples stood up and danced. It was wonderful.”

Argue carefully

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was about how to argue and not come out with too many bruises,” said Mary Pat. “We made up rules for arguing, such as no bad language, not using words like ‘always’ or ‘never’ and only disagreeing on the topic at hand.”

“You need to understand your own weaknesses,” said Don. “Sometimes you know you are wrong and don’t want to admit it. You have to concede. We both do this and we have worked it out pretty well.”

“It’s important to ask for forgiveness,” added Mary. “When you say you are sorry, you only involve yourself. When you ask forgiveness, you bring the other person into it. After 50 years we are still going through things, but as we get older, our expectations are more realistic.”

“Mary’s quote has always been that we never quit at the same time,” said Don. “We had disagreements over the years, but she hung in there when I was down and I hung in there when she was down. We never let ourselves off the hook.”

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