Long Lasting Marriage - Life Stories Robert and Margaret Brock
There was something that happened one afternoon on May 9, 1965 that would forever change our lives. My cousin Charles Brock and I were driving around town as we did often, looking to meet up with pretty girls. This was what most of the young people did back then, as the boys and girls drove around Pineville, around the Court House Square, usually stopping at one of the local drive in’s to get a coke or a root beer, hoping to meet someone. This day we drove to this little drive in, called Goodin’s Drive In, located just below the Pineville Hospital, where many of the young people hung out. It was a drive in where the waitress would come to the car window, and you would order and then they would bring your order and hang it on your car window. I am not sure which one of us got there first, but I remember driving up and looking over at the car to the right of us.
In it was my beautiful cheerleader, with the dimples and the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. She was who I had literally stalked for three years, and I did not even know her name, and now she was here looking over in my car at me. Well the rest is history, as after 5 dates which lasted about 8 hours total, and 10 days later, I asked her to marry me, and fortunately she said yes. I don’t know why I waited 10 days, as I wanted to ask her that night, but had to get to know her name first, and just a little more about her. Each time we would meet after that night, and the five dates, I wanted to ask her to marry me, but could not get up enough nerve and courage, so I endured for 10 long days before finally asking her to be my wife. I need to add just a few more details, and let her add her input to make the story complete.
She was with Gwynn Brock, who was also my cousin. We talked just a few words and then Charles asked them to come over and set in our car. My dream girl slid into the seat beside me, and Charles and Gwynn got into the back seat. After I had wrecked my 1960 Bonneville, on a snowy road going to class at Union College, the insurance company had replaced it with a new 1962 Pontiac Bonneville, which was Red and White, and had White Leather bench seats. The car was beautiful, as it had a big engine and everyone around Pineville, was always looking at it when I would drive it. But back to my story, as It was the most fantastic feeling when Margaret slid into the seat next to me. We sat at the drive in, for a few minutes, and I don’t remember if we ordered anything or not, and then all of us drove around Pineville for a little while, talking and getting to know each other. I cannot remember how much time we spent together that afternoon, but we all talked and had a good time.
It was during this time that I finally found out her name Margaret Sue Lefevers, although I can’t remember if I even knew her middle name at that time or not. While we were driving around Pineville someone suggested that we should all go bowling together the next night. I am not sure if any of us had been bowling before, but there was not much else to do around Pineville, so we decided to try it. I don’t remember much about bowling that second evening, as I was only interested in being with her. It must have been a good time however, as we decided to all get together and go out again the next night, as we all had a good time together. There was a destruction derby being held in Middlesboro, which was about 12 miles from Pineville, and the biggest town in Bell County, and at first everybody said we would all go. But as the evening progressed Charles and Gwynn somehow knew they were not needed any longer, and they both found excuses to not go, which left Margaret and me on our first date together. When I picked her up at her house the next day, she slid right over next to me on the front seat, which was something that I will never forget. My baby was right where she needed to be, by my side. She sat by me and I remember her putting her hand on my knee, as it was warm and I was wearing shorts. Naturally we both enjoyed our time together at the destruction derby, and had a very good time just talking and getting to know each other better. We did have an event that happened that night at the destruction derby that we have talked about all through the 52 plus years we have been married.
We noticed a little girl, shortly after we got there, who was probably 8 to 10 years old that seemed lost, and appeared to just be wandering around with no one watching her. We walked up to her and asked her where her family was. She did not know, and after looking and trying to find her family, we decided to drive her home, as she appeared to know where she lived and gave us directions to her house. We found her home and dropped her off at the front door, as her family was there. Can you imagine what would happen today, if someone picked up a young girl and drove them away from a public event, they would have spent years in prison, but at the time it was something you just did to help anyone that needed some help. It is so amazing how times have changed since those days.
I don’t remember much else we did that evening, as we watched the destruction derby and I drove her back home. I just remember that I drove her home really slowly that evening as I did not want the evening to end. We listened to songs on the radio all the way to her house, and just talked. She scooted on the seat over next to me as I drove her home. I can’t remember what time it was when I got her home, but it was probably before midnight. We also set up another time two days later, as I had to go to Pikeville the next day, which was another one of the offices that I worked at. This time we just drove around town for a couple of hours and got something to eat at one of the local drive-ins, and spent time just talking and listening to the radio. Again it was so difficult to take her home and we drove really slow, and then parked in front of her house and talked for an hour or so, and listened to songs on the radio. I believe the next date was a couple of days later and when I picked her up I went up on the porch at her house and met her mother and father and one of her brothers. I am sure I was nervous to meet them, but everything went well and I believe they liked me, as we spent probably an hour talking to them. Margaret and I then drove back to Pineville and got something to eat and talked and drove around Pineville for a couple of hours, listening to music on the radio. Again we tried to spend as much time as we could together driving slow getting back to her house and again parked at her house and talked for an hour or so. A day or so later on another date I took Margaret to meet my mother and grandmother. This also seemed to go well as we probably spent half an hour to an hour just talking with them. After meeting with both our families, they both tried to find out about each of us, and to see who our families were. This all seemed to work out ok as there was evidently good reports about both of us and our families. During each of our dates I was a bundle of nerves as each time we spent together I wanted to ask her to marry me, but each time I was afraid that she would say no, and didn’t get up enough nerve to ask her.
To the best of my memory we had one more date, and this time I picked her up and we drove about a mile or so above her house, to a small lake that she knew about. It was a secluded small lake, maybe a hundred yards off the main road. We parked the car and after talking for a few minutes, which seemed like hours, I finally got up enough nerve, to whisper to her, “What would you think if we got married”? I had been wanting to ask her ever since I saw her the first night and she slid into the front seat with me, but had chickened out each time we had gotten together on our 5 previous dates, as I was afraid she would say no. So instead of asking her directly, I sort of put it into a question. I don’t know what I would have done if she had said no, as I was expecting her to say no, since we had not known each other for only about eight hours on the few dates we had. But she said yes, and said that she would have said yes the first time she saw me. I told her I wanted to ask her the first night, but was afraid, and didn’t even know her name. I have never been any happier in my life than to hear her say “yes”. I now had my baby, that I had stalked for three years and now she was saying she would marry me, and be my wife. We told both our families the next day or so, and set a date of about sixty days for our wedding. We were married July 10, 1965 and this year we will celebrate fifty-four years together. We have three wonderful children, Pamela, Rob and Christopher, and seven beautiful grandchildren. All of our children know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and all are teaching their children about God, as if God is the center of the family God guides the family.
Over the fifty-four years that we have been married God has blessed us so much, with a wonderful family, health, good jobs and the wealth to provide for our family. During our life together, there are twelve aspects of what a family with God in control need to follow, which leads to a life which God blesses.
God’s Presence in the Family
One of the main ingredients in a healthy family relationship is that the presence of God must be at the forefront of every lasting family. God created the family and through the family unit, the husband and the wife, the human race will continue. God intended the family to produce children. In our situations we both came from Christian families who loved the Lord and demonstrated their faith in God throughout their lives. It was easy for us to continue this in our own family and demonstrate this to our children as well, as our parents had taught us the things that are necessary to live our lives for God.
Prayer and the Family
Prayer is such an important element in the family that parents must pass along to their children. Margaret has done such a wonderful job throughout the years in stressing this to our children. They have seen her be a true champion of prayer in our family as they could witness her faithfulness to pray constantly for our family and especially for them. A scripture that she has passed down to our children through her daily worship. Margaret loves to read daily devotionals and has done this for most of our married life.
The Importance of the Church In the Family
Presence of Love in the Family
True love is another essential item in the success of a good family relationship. I knew that when I first met Margaret I knew immediately that she was the only woman I would ever love. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her and knew I wanted her to be with me for the rest of my life. I wanted to protect her, provide for her and do anything that was in my power to make her happy. I have grown to love her even more as the years have gone by. She has fulfilled my dreams and exceeded my expectations of what a good wife and mother should be like.
God tells us that a man must leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one. This is what our marriage has been like over the years. We have become one flesh, and through God’s guidance and help have established our family. In God’s eyes marriage is a legal contract. It is a covenant, an unbreakable promise. It is a life commitment. It means “for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”. It means loving someone when you don’t feel like it, staying faithful and working through difficulty and bad times together. When we leave our parents family and take the vow to marry our spouse we take them as they are. It is true that we will leave our father and mother, but we also get each other’s family as a package deal. Don’t kid yourself and think the family of your spouse doesn’t matter. Your spouse grew up in a family that taught them how to be who they are today. The values your spouse grew up with were a primary force in the development of what your spouse is like today. However when you become one you must mesh the values of both of these individuals into one, and this is where true love of your spouse comes into play.
No marriage should begin with the thought that you can change the other. You need to pay attention to the red flags you see during the dating relationship, especially if there are some serious problems that you have difficulties with. Chances are that these things won’t improve but will worsen after the honeymoon is over. There will be differences between a husband and wife, but these should not be a major problem as long as the differences are not about life values and morals. Incompatibility doesn’t kill a relationship. The real issue is how you handle your differences. You need compatible styles that work for both people. You will discover that there may be some minor differences, and some things that you will want to do different than you had been doing before you were married. You must go into the marriage with a willingness to change some of your behavior. We are not talking about the red flag types of things, but minor things that may be irritations to your new spouse. An unwillingness to change is rooted in rebellion. It’s doing things your way versus God’s way. This requires each of us to look at our own behavior and work towards being more like Christ. Change doesn’t happen when you don’t embrace it. You can change but it requires desire, obedience and God’s help.
“We are to continually walk in love being guided by love and following love.” (2 John 1:6, NLT)
When God puts love and compassion in your heart toward someone, He’s offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life. He placed in each of us the potential to have a kind, caring, gentle and loving heart. We each have the ability to feel compassion, and to feel the hurt that other people are feeling and we especially must have this ability to feel compassion and to feel the hurts of our spouse. This is the kind of love we must have for our spouse, but too often because of our selfishness, many husbands and wives close their hearts to each other. The husbands and wives that don’t feel compassion for each other need to ask themselves if they are really concerned about each other, or are only concerned about themselves.
When you come together as man and wife you must come together with a true love of your spouse. True love is giving of one’s self to the other fully and completely. True love is wanting to care and provide for the other in a way where there is no fear. True love is respecting the other wishes. True love is being concerned about the others feelings. True love is sharing dreams together. True love is feeling the others hurt and pain. True love is showing compassion to the other. True love is sharing the others joy and happiness. True love is wanting to spend all your time together. True love is being lonely when we are apart. True love is enjoying tender moments together. True love is eating together. True love is watching television together. True love is enjoying and listening to music together. True love is going on trips and vacations together. True love is caring for the children together. True love is celebrating birthdays and Christmas together. True love is going to church together. True love is worshipping God and praying together. True love is all of the above and hundreds and thousands of other things. Our children need to see this kind of love being demonstrated in their families by their parents so that they will feel secure in their family and know that there is always love between their parents.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)
True love is sharing your life, your children, your God and all the other things that have meaning and purpose in your life with the one you truly love: your wife or your husband. This is what the true essence of marriage should be like. When you take the marriage vow and walk down the aisle with your future spouse you need to love them with all the fibers of your body and soul. They are your soul mate and the one you will spend the rest of your life with. You will spend the rest of your life with them and have your children together, and enjoy the pleasure they will bring to your lives.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33, NLT)
Without love in the home and family everything mentioned above will have no meaning, and life will not have the pleasure a marriage should bring to both of the marriage partners and to their children
Creating Family Values and a Positive Attitude
Families Must Listen and Communicate
It is important to listen to your wife and find out what is going on in her lives, and it is equally as important for the children to listen and learn from their parents. Good communications are necessary between all members of the family to enable each one to know what is happening in the lives of the other family members, and to let everyone know what their roles are, and to establish the guidelines and values that the family will follow.
Families Must Show Respect For Each Other
The Relationship Between a Husband and Wife
From the time God created the heavens and the earth and everything that was in it, including Adam and Eve, God had intended for there to be a family unit that was to carry on the lineage of man who was made in the image of God.
God gave man dominion over all things, the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air and over every other living creature that God created. We are to be the masters of the universe under God’s watchful eyes. He has given us the knowledge, the wisdom and the power to control everything that God created. God created all these things for us and through the Bible has given us the wisdom and knowledge to be master over everything that he has created. When God created Adam and Eve he made both of them in the image of God and because both share God’s image, they were to share the responsibility of ruling, as indicated in the above scripture. He blessed them for their mission of governing and filling the earth. They also share the dual responsibility of raising their families as without the virtues that both bring to the table the children would not have the opportunity to witness the different gifts that God has given a man and a woman. When men and women become Christians, God provides a similar but profoundly richer blessing to a husband and wife.
God intends good for women and men through the work of Christ. Women and men are equal in worth, for Christ died for both. The genders are different, but not different in worth, so when he created Adam and Eve he placed equal responsibility on both the man and the woman to work together as husband and wife in raising, protecting, providing for and caring for their families. Nothing can be closer that the relationship of a husband and a wife. In unity they are one flesh in a similar way that God is one. Nothing should divide them. But between the two of them, they bring significant differences. Those differences were created by God, and they should be used for each other’s benefit. I believe that Adam was originally focused on purposes and goals and activity, and Eve was focused on relationships, and together they are intended to function well.
In just a few months we will celebrate our wedding anniversary, and we have been happily married fifty-four years. We have three beautiful children and seven wonderful grandchildren. All our children are born again Christians, and have married wonderful Christian husbands and wives. God has blessed me greatly in my life and continues to bless me. My wife has brought so much joy to my life over these fifty-four years. She has been there to lift me up when I was down, she has stood by me when I have had to make tough decisions, and she has seen me stumble and has been there to pick me up. She has been there when I have had health problems over the years. And most of all she has been there to provide the spiritual strength for me and my children. She possesses the kindest spirit and heart of anyone I have ever known, and everyone who meets her can sense this. Her faith never wavers and she is devoted to worshipping God. She is the perfect wife and mother to our children. Her heart is always thinking about someone else and the welfare of her family. She is so precious to me that words cannot express. God gave her to me for a reason.
“It is not good for a man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18, NLT)
I believe God made Margaret especially for me, as she is my most precious treasure, and I will forever be thankful that she is in my life and will always be by my side. This now leads us to how the husband and wife are to function together and fulfill God’s plan to bear and raise their children. God gives us throughout the Bible instruction as to how men and women are to conduct their lives and raise their children. There is one scripture in the Bible that exemplifies Margaret and her following of God’s word throughout the years we have been married.
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” (1 Peter 3:1-2, NLT)
I hate to admit it but this is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, not because it says that my wife must be submissive to me, but because it says that any who does not believe will be won over without words by the behavior of their wives. As I have stated in several other devotions from the time we were married my wife has been the spiritual leader of our family as although I considered myself to be a good man and always had good moral values, but when it came to the spiritual side of our family my wife was the leader. She has never preached to me over the years, as I always went to church with her and our children, but there was always something lacking in my life when it came to really taking in the work of God and having a close relationship with him Just as the scripture says above, my wife’s behavior along with some other things won me over, and my life has never been the same since. There has not been any time during our marriage that she has turned from God. Her devotion to Him has established a foundation for our family that can never be destroyed. I know I have never seen a person with more faith and trust in God than my wife. She has inspired me to accept Jesus through her actions, and as the scripture says the purity and reverence in her life, and I will be eternally grateful for this.