With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage.
When Margery was a senior in high school, she worked in the camera department of a Missouri drugstore. Gary, a police officer at the time, stopped in one day and kept coming back. He claimed he was “shopping for a camera,” but soon he worked up the courage to ask Margery for a date.
Margery ended her senior year with a whirlwind month: In May, 1958, she turned 18 on the 2nd, graduated from high school on the 18th, and got married on the 24th. Their wedding photographer worked at a local newspaper, and they paid him $20 for their 11 black and white photos. Says Gary, “It’s the best twenty dollars I ever spent.”
Two years after they were married, Gary joined the military and the couple moved from a small town in Missouri to Camp Pendleton in California. Away from home and family for the first time, Margery and Gary learned to depend on each other. And they continued to depend on each other through many months apart, when Gary served three tours in Vietnam. Margery said that though she and Gary only spoke once or twice on the phone during that time, “He wrote every day.” Gary explains it was simply “Because I missed her.”
He missed her so much that he remembers the moment in 1964 when he returned from a thirteen month tour in Okinawa and finally saw Margery. He recalls the vivid memory of meeting and embracing on a street corner and says, “She would not let me go.”
Once the couple was back together again, Margery said the hardest adjustment was getting used to making decisions as a team again. For so long, she made decisions for the family and “gave the kids their orders.” But with time, they began making those decisions together again.
Fifty-four years later, Margery and Gary now spend most of their time together, taking long cross-country trips in their RV and visiting their grandkids and great-grandkids. Gary’s piece of advice for newlyweds? “Try to say I love you every night.”