Worship. Pray. Learn.
Never stop learning. Don't take each other for granted. Realize differences can be strengths. Stay close to God.
This advice comes from Rod and Charlene Giles of Tulsa, Okla., whose marriage has survived a roller-coaster ride. They have endured hard years of rearing difficult teenagers, dealing with job losses and living through health scares, including Rod's heart attack and his current battle with prostate cancer. Yet, they have also relished what Rod calls "sweet times" sharing worship and fellowship at a church they love, developing a strong ministry partnership based on mutual love and respect, and receiving rich blessings from praying aloud with, to and for each other.
"God has helped us keep our 38-year marriage strong," Charlene said.
Charlene is a licensed marriage and family therapist on staff at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa; Rod is in the insurance business. This powerful ministry team encourages couples to find something to do together to glorify God.
Rod and Charlene are facilitators for the Dynamic Marriage program and helped establish and grow an innovative ministry, Couple to Couple, for engaged couples.
Faith and a relationship with Christ are essentials for building a strong marriage, they agreed. That doesn't mean it will be easy. "We need to remember that Christ said, I'm sufficient for you,'" Charlene said.
The church has always been a cornerstone in their lives. "We worship together, we pray together," Rod said.
"We just continue to learn," Charlene added.
|Charlene and Rod Giles|
|Courtesy Rod Giles