Readers speak out on love

How blessed I have been this past week to open the many e-mails I

have received from those of you in the community! Your pearls of

wisdom have blessed my life as I poured over your stories.

I found several common factors in the advice sent to me. I would

like to share some with you. Prayerfully, these tips will help all of

us enjoy the lasting love I wrote of in my last column.

My first letter came from David Stane of Glendale. He shared the

story of his two successful marriages. His first marriage was to

Charlaine and lasted 46 years. He wrote that good and bad times

abounded and even before they were married they experienced a trial:

Charlaine told David she could not live through childbirth. They

married and later adopted three children.

The trials then continued. In 1940, Charlaine had a tubercular

gland removed from her neck. In 1955, she had a cancerous growth

removed from the same area. A few years later, she had her thyroid

gland taken out. And in 1987, she lost her larynx. A few months

before she died, she had one lung removed.

What kept their love alive? To begin with, they both came from

good Christian homes. David’s father was a minister. Secondly, they

fell deeply in love. They cultivated their relationship by spending

time talking and sharing their ideas. And they listened to what the

other was saying. They also enjoyed activities together, serving at

their local church.

After Charlaine went to be with the Lord, David, who was living in

Texas, visited his sister in Los Angeles. He came in contact with an

old friend, Barbara, whom he had known 49 years earlier. They ended

up falling in love and later married. Barbara was a seminary graduate

and had taught Christian education for years. She had never been

married. Together, they were lay ministers.

But again hardship struck. Barbara had a quadruple bypass in 1998.

She recovered well from this, but later had a stroke. She has been in

a nursing home ever since. David sees her every day and is thankful

for the time they have together. He says they enjoy every visit.

David wrote love has to go beyond physical desires. Having a great

marriage takes concern, communication, sharing and friendship. Both

of his wives were his best friends. He mentions the movie

“Shenandoah,” with Jimmy Stewart. In the movie, Stewart is the father

of a young girl whose boyfriend asks for her hand in marriage.

Stewart’s character asks the boy: “Do you like my daughter?” The boy

proclaims his love. Stewart explains that he should like her as well

as love her.

David’s letter to me continued, stressing that marriage is not a

50-50 proposition. It takes 70-30. He says that above all else,

people need to listen and understand their spouse. And they must

exercise deep affection.

Another member of our community, Donna Railey, a pastor’s wife in

Pasadena, sent me some wonderful tips I thought noteworthy to include

in this column.

I have placed them in bullet form so they are easy to clip out and

post. As you read, may God bless your marriage. May he bring you the

lasting love many of the people in our community have experienced. A

suggestion: How about starting the new year exercising these tips in

your own marriage? Blessings to you as you read:

* Take one day at a time.

* Pick disagreements carefully. Do not sweat the small stuff.

* Keep your marriage and spouse first and foremost in your mind.

* Stay fearlessly loyal to your life partner; think of how your

actions could affect him or her before you act.

* If you think something you are about to say may hurt your

spouse, do not say it! Even in the heat of an argument. You cannot

take those words back.

* Always say, “I am sorry” and mean it.

* Forgive. This is an art that must be learned (remember an

earlier Family Faith article on this topic?)

* If you are about to jump off a bridge, and you do not know how

deep the water is, take your spouse with you -- you will keep each

other afloat.

* Never go to sleep without kissing good night.

Please continue to write. I love hearing from you! Happy New Year

and happy marriages!

* The Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian’s column runs alternating Fridays.

Contact her by e-mail at; or by mail at Holy House

Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, 9641 Tujunga Canyon Blvd., Tujunga, CA 91042.