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Keeping your valentine for life

In a world with an increasing divorce rate and many broken hearts, it’s easy to give up on love.
Relationships are often a struggle, and yet many marriages last until death do they part. The key? A lot of love, forgiveness and laughter. Washing the dishes doesn’t hurt either.
“Just love each other, and just help each other around the house and do things for each other,” said Lester Heavner who has been married to his wife, Faye, for 50 years. “Appreciate them. Tell them you love them every now and then and show it.”
Heavner fell for his wife the first time he saw her – she was working at a hot dog stand.
“I just came out of the service, and I guess she fixed me a hot dog and a hamburger, and we just started talking and one thing led to another,” he said. “She was the girl for me, and I guess it was love at first sight because we’ve been married 50 years and had no problems hardly, everyone has a little scuffle here and there.”
The beginning of Ermintrude and Lester Mullen’s relationship got off to a bit more rocky start. They first met when he saw her driving an old 1919 automobile down the road.
“I was driving around, and he started following me,” she said. “He said he wanted a ride.”
“I was curious about the automobile,” he said. “Well, I kind of liked the looks of the chauffeur, too.”
The couple didn’t become serious until many months later and one no-show date.
“I’ve been paying for that stand-up ever since,” he said.
They credit God and laughter for their long lasting marriage, which is now going on 65 years.
“I don’t think I could make it this far if I couldn’t laugh,” he said. “I even laugh when I’m hurting.”
Her easy going nature has also helped the relationship.
“I have a forgiving heart,” she said. “If I get upset I don’t let anyone know about it.”
Of course, she can’t hide anything from the man who’s been at her side for 64 years.
“I can always read her like a book though,” he said. “Her face gets longer.”
The Mullens make sure to spend time together – they volunteered for Meals on Wheels for 10 years and traveled the world. They also spend time apart at separate hobbies – he’s a painter and she collects antiques.
Mable Hedgepeth, who has been married to her husband, Carl, for 50 years, also enjoys a little independence in her marriage.
“We don’t hardly ever fuss,” she said. “If I want to go anywhere with my daughter, well he says nothing, and if he wants to get out and ride around, he does.”
Hedgepeth also believes her marriage has lasted because she found herself a good Christian fellow. The two met in church.
“I think the church has a lot to do with it,” she said. “It’s a better place than a honky tonk.”
Her husband has stayed on the straight and narrow throughout their years together.
“He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t run around,” she said.
Of course, a few flaws can be forgivable. It took Lester Mullen a good long while before he gave up his cigarettes. His wife never smoked.
“I did the coughing,” she said.
Still, his charitable nature made up for his cigarette habit.
“He’s gotten many a man out of a ditch,” she said.
The couple has kept God alive, made sure to forgive and forget and, most importantly, remembered why they got together in the first place.
“We’ve never thought of splitting up,” she said. “We’ve always been in love.”by Sarah Grano

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