Q&A: Nearly 50 years of marriage advice shared

Publisher’s Note: My father and mother, Wayne and Kathy McDaniel, were married for nearly 50 years when he died of dementia complications on April 22, 2015. They emulated love, trust and respect throughout their marriage, and I thought a Q&A with my mother would be helpful (and hopefully entertaining) for those preparing to wed. I am indicated by JR (Judith Roberts) and she by KM.  

JR: Thanks for doing this after I called you about it, you know, just this morning. So let’s get started with something easy: how long were you and Dad married? 

KM: Now, Judith, I thought about this – I’m not sure. We married in ‘69, May 16.  

JR: How do you not know this? Okay, we can do this. So you just need me to subtract 2015 from 1969 and get the answer? I can do that. (Pause.) You think I can do that?

KM: I don’t know about your math skills. What did you get?

JR: 46 years.

KM: Just say about 50 years.

JR: Okay, 50 years then. How did you know he was “the one”?

KM: Oh, dear. Well, you know, I met him at a dance. He was 19 and I was 18. And he came up and asked me to dance and my first thoughts were, “He’s too short – I’ve got these little heels on, and he looks really young.” But then I thought – he’s just asking to dance, big deal. So I danced with him, but then he never left my side. And we did have so much fun. And then he asked if he could take me home. Well, I had my old car there so I grabbed Clifton
(her brother) and I gave him my keys – Clifton was shocked because I never let anyone take me home – and Wayne took me home and made a date for the next day, which was a Sunday afternoon to go to the show. And what I didn’t know then was he had to go tell his girlfriend he was breaking up with her. I found that out afterwards.  

JR: (laughing) That’s funny.

KM: When he told me about it, it was not funny.  

JR: But you ended up eloping, right? Did you wish you had had a big wedding? 

KR: There was no way that was going to happen. I was in three weddings before this with my girlfriends, and I saw what a problem it was and the expense of it. But truthfully, we’d never have gotten both his parents there and it would have been a big mess. But we were married by a preacher. 

JR: If you had gotten to have a big wedding, what kind of dress would you have had? 

KM: What I had thought about as a teenager was a winter wedding with a white velvet dress.  

JR: Aw, that sounds pretty. 

KM: And poinsettias. Red ones. But I would be dressed in white velvet. 

JR: Why white velvet? 

KM: I don’t know. Well – one reason, I always felt like satin – which I had to wear in one of the weddings – and I think it was yellow satin, which was ugly on me to start with – was not becoming. 

JR: What advice would you give couples about to get married? 

KM: Make sure you know what each other expects. Talk about goals and what you want. Make sure they line up.  

JR: Okay, that’s it. Anything you don’t want me to publish? 

KM: Not what I said to you, I don’t think. Your daddy was wild, but I knew it beforehand – and I was so glad I married him.