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Lasting love

"Lasting love" Continued...

Issue: "Iraq: Unity in adversity," Feb. 12, 2005

The Lord did. Mr. Tremmel returned to his wife and son on Christmas Eve 1945. The post-WWII housing shortage left them without a place to live, but they endured that and other trials, said Mr. Tremmel, by practicing forgiveness. "Jesus Christ is our propitiation," Mr. Tremmel, 83, says. "If He can forgive us for all the dumb things we do, we can surely forgive each other for the little things that come up now and then."

He worries that couples today don't know the meaning of the word commitment. But the Tremmels have modeled it for their children. "Sometimes when you don't like what's happening [in your marriage], you just have to plough through," Mrs. Tremmel said. "Somewhere, somebody sees that and takes it to heart."

Ron & Mary Lou Davis

The Chapel
Akron, Ohio
Married 55 years

In 1947, when Mary Lou was a sophomore in high school, she learned that the school's Future Farmers of America chapter had planned a party. Among the invited guests: members of the Future Homemakers of America, a club to which Mary Lou belonged.

"I'm not going to any farmer's party!" Mary Lou told her mother. "If you've been invited," her mother replied, "you most certainly will go."

Mary Lou is glad she obeyed. That's where she met Future Farmer Ron Davis, a handsome senior and her future husband.

Ron came from a broken home: His father had abandoned his mother, and his grandparents raised him and his younger brother on a farm in the Allegheny Mountain region of Pennsylvania.

Ron knew he wanted the solid, traditional home life he had not had as a boy. Mary Lou wanted Ron to have a happy home like her own. Two weeks after she graduated, the couple became Mr. and Mrs. Davis.

Tough times followed. In 1957, they moved to Ohio, where Mr. Davis earned a living as a long-haul truck driver. "I was by myself a lot. It was hard during those times," Mrs. Davis says now. She believes one thing that kept the family strong was their decision that she would not work outside their home. "Just him knowing I was there, that when he came home, the whole family was there, that was important."

Mr. Davis agrees. "She handled it a lot better than most women. I knew a lot of men in the trucking industry and there was a high divorce rate because of adultery" by both husbands and wives. "We never had that problem. We attribute that to our obedience to Christ."

Not that they've had a perfect marriage. "We've had differences. We still do," Mrs. Davis said. "But we pray about things and we talk it over and everything seems to work out. I have to think back, what made me fall in love with him years ago? He's still the same person now."

"Wait a minute, you told me I was a better person," Mr. Davis says. "And that if you stayed married to me another 50 years I'd be perfect!"

They laugh, still best friends.

Daniel & Rachel Craig

Saddleback Church
Lake Forest, Calif.
Married 56 years

Rachel Craig fell in love with her future husband when she was only 9 years old. Daniel was the son of a British missionary who traveled around Argentina planting churches. She was the daughter of European parents who had emigrated to Argentina. When their paths crossed at Plymouth Brethren Church, Daniel was 18 and taught Sunday school to elementary-school boys. Rachel's elementary-age class met in the same room, but she didn't learn a lot that year: "I spent all my time looking at him."

Seven years later, when Daniel was 25 and Rachel was 16, he asked her to marry him. For Rachel it had only been a matter of time: "I knew when I saw him in Sunday school that he was for me."

The Craigs traveled a lot, living first in Argentina, then in London where they moved with Daniel's career as a manager for a worldwide steamship company. In 1953, they returned to Argentina to raise their children, the eldest of whom was 9. But soon, Eva Peron swept into power and her dictatorship absorbed the country's political and educational institutions. Daniel was pressured to join the Peronist party or face losing his salary. At the private British school their children attended, the lessons began to revolve around the life of Eva Peron.

"We decided that wasn't for us," Rachel said. "No matter what, the Lord was going to come first." The Craigs applied at the American embassy for resident visas and moved to the United States in 1959. "We came seeking freedom for our children, freedom of religion, seeking the Lord in every way."

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