It seems as though school breaks and climbing temperatures are the inevitable cue for ringing wedding bells.
Summer is the most popular time of year to say “I do,” with June, August and September at the top, according to theknot.com. While many young lovebirds embark on their new journey, couples with more life experience can offer some timeless advice for the future.
68 years and counting
Eugene and Eloise Lichty will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary Aug. 20.
Eloise (McKnight), a Quinter native, and Eugene, a man from Iowa, met at McPherson College in 1942. A freshman, she first saw him when he sang as a new member of a men’s quartet as a junior. She was a singer herself and was intrigued.
“Maybe it was meant to be,” she reflects.
They didn’t talk until later that year, when he offered her a ride to the train station on her way back home. Not long after that, they began dating, and after two years, he proposed in the fourth floor of what was then Harnley Hall, where they spent many hours practicing as musicians.
Their love of music continued to tie them together throughout their marriage, and they sang duets for many celebrations and churches.
“It’s something we both enjoyed,” Eloise said.
They’ve also enjoyed traveling. Eugene worked for about 25 years as a pastor and also volunteered for various causes around the world, including locations in Italy and Japan. Anticipation of their next adventure and their shared experiences kept them close.
On a day-to-day basis, he often kept one piece of advice he received from his home pastor.
“Other people can take your place as a pastor, but nobody can take your place as a father,” he said. “We felt family was really important.
“We’ve tried to set an example for our children,” he said of his five kids, who have now given them 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
This example was best exemplified in their continued steadfast commitment to each other from their wedding day.
“The vows we took were that we would stay together until death do us part,” Eugene said. “We figured it’s a lifetime commitment.”
But the couple agrees it’s not always easy.
“Never go to bed angry,” Eloise said. “I think that’s very good advice. If there’s tension, it’s best to get it worked out.”
Eugene added they rarely go to bed without a kiss.
After almost seven decades of living together, they have become skilled at anticipating each other’s behaviors, wants and needs.
“You do become one as you live together,” she said, referencing a Bible passage. “We can predict each other pretty well. It would be pretty uncomfortable if you didn’t.”
Page 2 of 2 - But they have also come to find adjustments are needed at all stages of a relationship. Retirement, for example, has meant more time together at home than ever before.
“It’s been a good life,” Eloise said. “It’s been a great life together.”
Merlin and Jody Miller will celebrate four years together Aug. 17.
Both residents of McPherson for decades, they knew of each other but had never met until a community bread festival about eight years ago. Only a few days later, they attended a fitness class together, and he asked her on their first date.
They “went together,” as they call it, for four years. Some of their favorite things to do then — and still today — are eating out at restaurants, seeing movies at the theater, attending local athletic games, playing musicals and other community events.
“We just like the action and the people,” Merlin said. “We’re both persons that like to be with people.”
In addition to that commonality, they also have an appetite for adventure. Dotted throughout their home are various travel books.
“We’re outdoor people,” Jody said. “We love being outdoors.”
Similar interests like this is important for the Millers. Values are also a priority, such as house maintenance or church attendance.
“You have to have the same likes and dislikes,” Merlin said. “You have to be compatible. If you clash, it’s not going to work.”
But they don’t to everything together. Merlin often hits the greens and plays a round of golf with his friends. Meanwhile, Jody enjoys reading, cooking and playing bridge with friends.
But at the end of the day, they are glad for the companionship. Both had been married before, and starting a life together at an older age has offered them a different perspective than young newlyweds.
“When you’re in your first marriage relationship, you’ve never experienced all these things before,” Merlin said, citing housekeeping, jobs, bills and personalities as examples. “When you’re older and you get married, you’ve been down that road. Your love grows quicker. It doesn’t take you a lot to do all of those adjustments.”
Regardless of the individual, the Millers know marriage takes tolerance and understanding.
“Any relationship has a lot of adjustments to make,” Merlin said. “There’s a lot of giving and taking.”