SIDNEY — Valentine’s Day brings thoughts of hearts and flowers, and a recent poll says that 6 million people are expecting to get or give a marriage proposal on that day. With the national divorce rate nearing 50 percent, one might wonder if those proposals can lead to anything that will last.
Although they were not engaged on Valentine’s Day, D. Vincent “Bud” and Marilyn Ford are proof that true love lasts. It may not always be easy, but it lasts. Bud and Marilyn celebrate their 60th anniversary this year.
‘We were married on a summer night on June 14, 1957, and there was a summer rain storm. I looked in the sanctuary and fear came over me and I said to my best man, “Let’s go!” Fortunately for me, my best man, Bob, stood in the way,” said Bud.
Their story may have begun like a scene from a movie. They met while he was on leave from the Navy and she was on break from college. Friends set them up, and there was even some comic relief, in hindsight.
“We met at Long’s Swimming Quarry. I had just broken up and was looking for a girl. There were some other people at the Quarry and they fixed me up with a good-looking girl, my future wife Marilyn. We went on a date that evening and fell in love. The only thing was, I couldn’t remember her name all night. I had to keep asking the boy we went on a double date with, and all night he had to keep telling me her name. I soon remembered her name, and I never forgot it,” confided Bud.
After an unconventional courtship, they married.
“We were married a year after we met, but we became engaged two weeks after we met. (We did not tell our children that until after they were married because we didn’t want any of them to do the same.) Bud went back out to sea and I went back to college, so most of our courting was through mail. People who knew us both said it would never last,” confided Marilyn.
“We decided two weeks wasn’t long enough to get married so we became engaged and planned to get married when I got back from overseas. We went to the jewelers and got a ring. I wish now we had waited because I could have gotten her a nicer ring. We got to know each other through the mail, and I also sent a couple letters to her parents. They were wonderful people and were nothing but accepting and kind to me – after the initial shock of their daughter being engaged to me,” added Bud.
Marilyn knew Bud was the one from the beginning.
“He was so good looking with black, wavy hair and brown eyes, and he was so exciting, yet tender and caring. He was also decisive and determined – traits I truly respect,” said Marilyn, “I didn’t think of anyone else after we started dating. I just knew he was the right one for me. We shared a deep love for each other, which has continued through the years.”
As their lives together began, it was necessary for them to make decisions about education and careers. Marilyn had obtained a “cadet” certificate, which was a two-year program that would allow her to teach. Once her three children were all in school, she returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree and more.
“As I always thought I would, I became a teacher and taught grades kindergarten to third-grade. I taught 22 years in the public schools and 23 years at Christian Academy here in Sidney. I loved teaching and enjoyed getting to know the families as well as the students. It was a great career for me. I also took classes at home from the American Association of Christian Counselors to become certified as a lay counselor,” said Marilyn.
Bud decided that his future was in the schools, as well. He had his bachelor’s degree and was teaching at a high school in Athens, Ohio, where they lived. He decided that he wanted to earn his master’s in school administration. Later, he pursued his PhD.
“In the meantime, while I was in the PhD program we moved to Sidney. Marilyn’s folks were getting elderly and we wanted to be close to them; they lived in Lima. We decided to take the first job offered, and that was Sidney, at Fairlawn. I received the PhD soon after we moved to Sidney. I was at Fairlawn for eight years. After that I became superintendent of Christian Academy Schools for eight years, which was when I retired,” recalled Bud.
The couple agreed from the start to have three children, and they did-two boys and a girl. They agreed on how they should raise and discipline hem, and felt that it was very important to have a home without conflict. They stayed in Athens until their youngest child was in college. They felt that continuity was very important. All three children have gone on to be successful in their own rights.
“Our children are all good people,” said Bud, “We’ve also been blessed, so far, with 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.”
Although religion is an important part of their lives now, it was not always so. At first, Marilyn felt it was important to go to church and pray daily. Bud went along because it was important to her.
“After retiring from Christian Academy Schools I took courses in Christianity and graduated. I didn’t worry about getting a degree because I had a PhD, but it was very helpful. I spent 10 years after graduating, in having a ministry and I worked in Sidney, Jackson Center, MCI (Marion Correctional Institution) and Dayton,” said Bud.
The couple attributes the success of their marriage to God and to love.
“We have turned our lives, our marriage and our children over to the Lord, and He has led us and had always been there for us. Because of His guidance our marriage has been, and still is, a success. Another reason for the success is that we have always loved and honored each other and put the other first. We have talked over any problems that have come up and worked them out together. Communication is very important to us both. It is essential that couples communicate regularly with each other and work through problems together,” counselled Marilyn.
Bud summed it up by stating,” Being in love and staying in love, even when things are tough, has always been the core to our relationship. I don’t understand why people don’t do this. It is really easy. Just look at that wonderful woman beside you, she may not be beautiful like so many women in the magazines but she is committed to you and you too her. Most important, we have committed our lives to Christ and He takes first place in our marriage.”