The Elys, Bardons and Barnes are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with two honoring the longevity of their union, while one toasted the beginning.
Paul and Janet Ely celebrated their 70th anniversary on Feb. 8. Long-time residents of Florida, Mr. Ely said they moved to Charleston to be closer to their family, which includes eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren “so far.”
Brad and Jennifer Bardon were married in 2009. They transferred from Raleigh, N.C., to Columbia for his job, and are making a home in the small parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Camden. She said it has been stressful — moving to a new city, finding a new job, and preparing for their first child — but they keep talking about everything and working it out.
Larry and Minnie Barnes moved south 25 years ago and attend St. Anne Church in Florence. They met at a square dance when they were 16 and were married in 1946. High school sweethearts, Mrs. Barnes said she still calls him her boyfriend.
Husbands and wives may have different concerns on money, jobs and family, and different ideas of what is most important — couple time, family time — but they all agree that the key is hashing it out.
“No marriage is perfect, so we’d just talk it over and get it settled,” Mrs. Ely said.
And if you can communicate with humor, that’s even better.
Mr. Ely likes to joke that every story has a his-and-hers version.
“If we had a disagreement, we compromised and did it her way,” he said, smiling at his wife.
Couples young and old also stressed that having God in your marriage is essential.
Each person said they pray. Instead of asking God to give them strength or patience, husbands and wives said mostly, they offer prayers of thanksgiving.
“I thank God every day for what I’ve got and what I’ve had,” Mrs. Barnes said.
When they do make a request, they generally ask for something that will help the marriage.
“I ask Him to keep me on a road where we can be happy,” Mr. Bardon said. “Sometimes I need a little nudge in the right direction.”
Even as they talk about communication and prayer, the ability to laugh is apparent.
“If you don’t laugh, it’ll be horrible,” Mr. Bardon advised. “And always ask for help when it’s something you can’t figure out.”
Of course, the best person to ask for advice is someone who has been there.
When asked what he would tell couples just starting out, Mr. Barnes chuckled and said, “Don’t argue too much.”
There you have it.