Region 8 Church Celebrates Nearly 2000 Years of Marriages

February 15, 2004 -- Posted at 2:06 p.m. CST

PARAGOULD -- Valentines day was Saturday, but that doesn't mean cupid has put up his bow and arrows just yet. Love was certainly in the air Sunday at the 7th and Mueller Church of Christ in Paragould, as 24 couples who have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary rekindled that ole' spark.

Good health can be the secret to a long life, but what's the secret to a long marriage?

"Stay in church mostly. We have 5 children and we've done good," said Dorothy Hurt who has been married 46 years next month.

Dr. Bill Crabtree has been married to his wife for 50 years. His advice, "being married to a stubborn wife who won't give up."

And his wife Bonita agrees, "It's a commitment, not to give up."

Most couples say it's a relationship of give and take that makes a marriage work.

"It takes a lot of love and a lot of give and take, and a lot of good Christian, good Christian home is very important," said Thelma Pickney whose marriage has lasted 55 years.

Mary Lou and Louis Richardson were married on July 14, 1952...and they say the secret to their 51 year marriage has been compromise.

"It's a give and take proposition. You give a little and take a little and in fact you give a whole lot," said Louis.

"It's also a lot of compromising, and it does help to say your right once in a while, and I'm wrong. I found that's works pretty good for us," laughed Mary Lou.

Pastor Larry McFadden says it's an inspiration to see so many couples in his church have such long marriages....and he's not alone...he and his wife will celebrate 39 years in august.

"They have been an example to all of us over the years of how to deal with marriage and it's problems and it's joys and we've been excited to be a part of it and you can see with this group, it's a large group and a fantastic group that have been real leaders for us in this church," said McFadden.

And one last piece of advice from yet another expert...

"Marry a good Christian woman like I have. she's been wonderful for more than 50 years," said Dr. Crabtree.

"He thinks I'm going to cook supper for him. He's buttering me up," laughed his wife, Bonita Crabtree.

And buttering up your spouse never's ceremony also honored widows who had been married for at least 50 years. Total, the 36 marriages represented nearly 2000 years of married life.