For the last two weeks, this column has covered Christian romance novels which have become very popular among the faithful. Now, we’ll turn to some real-life romance with couples married 40 years or longer who trust that God has both brought and kept them together.
Our couple this week is the Rev. L.T. and Albertha Gordon of Friendswood who were married in 1961. He began by saying that both family lines were filled with faithful marriages which endured.
“I believe this is how God prepared us for marriage,” he said. “We believe in God and we are committed to him daily in all we do.
We were brought together because I asked God to bless me with a good, godly wife while I was at the alter of prayer, during prayer worship service at Bell Zion Baptist church, where I had been a member since my youth.”
Meantime, his future wife, Albertha, was also looking to God and the future.
“I prayed that the Heavenly Father would send me a husband,” she said. “When I first met L.T., I realized that he was the one for me. Thanks to Jesus Christ, I knew he would become my husband.”
God’s answer didn’t start at Starbucks, but it came as close as it could dawning at the island’s Armstrong Coffee Shop, which was an institution here for several generations.
“God answers prayers,” the reverend said. “Soon after that prayer at Zion I met the love of my life in Galveston while I was at Armstrong. I was introduced to Albertha by a college friend. After I got the blessing of both parents; we were married six months later in Baton Rouge on June 10 1961.”
It won’t be news that marriage is currently in disfavor in the U.S. The State of Our Unions study, conducted in 2011, found that, “The marriage rate continues to decline in the United States. In fact, there has been a decline of over 50 percent from 1970-2010 in the annual number of marriages in every 1000 unmarried adult women.”
There’s a second reason that the next generation will feature fewer long-term marriages, even among the faithful: Folks who do marry are waiting much longer to tie the knot.
The same study found that, “The median age of those married for the first time is currently 28.3 for men and 25.8 for women Compare this to the numbers from 1960, when the median age was 23 for men and 20 for women.”
Still, for the Gordons, God will always be the mainstay of their union of 56 years and counting. No marriage can be all romance. Every one includes its share of trials and tribulations, the pastor noted.
“God has been our help in times of trouble,” he said. “We live and depend on God. Whatever happened to us, we looked to God. He has been there for us to answer and supply all our needs. What ever I needed I asked God. He never failed us yet.”
His wife added, “Tribulations require patience. I learned to rejoice in hope and to continue to pray.”
For those of any age who would like to follow the pastor’s formula, he offered, “Don’t follow your fleshy desires, but ask God to direct your life. Go to a good christian church counselor to guide and direct you in your choice for life. God will bless and keep you under his care.”
Albertha Gordon considered the question and said, “I would advise newlyweds to always worship and praise the Lord and to cover their families in prayer and to join a good church.”
TheRev. Gordon is an associate minister at Texas City’s Hopewell Baptist Church.
We hope to revisit this topic from time to time, so please invite your favorite couples married 40 years or more to email if they would like to share their own stories of faith and marriage.
Next week in Our Faith: Part two of our exploration of faith and romance with couples married many years.