5 Keys to a Great Marriage

This long-term couple shares some core values in achieving a fulfilling marriage.

Posted in , Jun 27, 2017

James Motter kisses his wife Eileen. The Ohio couple has been married 65 years.

Content provided by Good Samaritan Society.

It’s been nearly 70 years since James Motter met Eileen Staley, the girl of his dreams, at a diner in Williamstown, Ohio. When he stopped by her house the next day to ask her on a date, Eileen didn’t remember who he was, but she said “yes.”

Two years later, on Aug. 17, 1951, Eileen said “yes” again, and the Motters have been married ever since. Through 65 years of marriage, seven kids, good times and bad, the Motters have remained true to each other.

For James, a strong marriage starts with finding the right partner. “I wanted to make sure that I married somebody that would live for the Lord with me,” he says.

“We just try to please each other,” Eileen says. “Once in a while we’ll have a little disagreement, but we don’t dwell on it. We solve the problem and go on with life.” The Motters say they’ve learned a few things along the way that have helped their love endure.

  • Find the right person. “Look for someone with the idea this is the only person I’m ever going to marry,” James says. “I never had any idea or feeling that I’d ever want to break up with her.”
  • Say “I love you” every day and mean it.
  • Compromise. Let cooler heads prevail and don’t fly off the handle.
  • Find the humor. “Laughter is good for the soul,” says Eileen.
  • Pray and worship together. Read and live by God’s Word. “It’s a good guide for our lives,” say the Motters.

Partners for life

Two years after being married, the young couple with a 6-week-old daughter faced their first big challenge. James was drafted into the Army and sent to Korea.

The Motters with their seven children.

Tucked in the pocket of his uniform was a photo of the couple from their wedding day. James may have been in a far-off country, but his thoughts were always with his wife back in Ohio.

On a furlough to Japan, James pulled out the photo and asked a street artist to draw it. Today, that weathered pencil sketch still hangs in the couple’s living room as a reminder of their time-tested love. Through the middle stages of their life, James and Eileen were busy raising and supporting their growing family.

James held various jobs, from working at a tire plant to owning his own refrigeration business and later making car parts. “I had to work a lot of hours because we had a large family,” he says.

Eileen stayed home to care for the couple’s seven children. When she wasn’t attending a school event or making meals, she was teaching the couple’s children from the Bible. "We would sit down before we went to bed at night and we would have our Bible study.”

Even with the long days, the couple always made time for each other. “We were doing things together,” Eileen says. "You know, going places together.”

Today, the Motters live in Arlington, Ohio, just few miles from where they met. With their children grown, James and Eileen sit side by side in their apartment. They say they’re blessed to have each other. “I’ve always loved this lady ever since I married her,” James says. “I try to tell her every day I love her, and I mean it.”

Tags: Marriage,Aging
View Comments