The couple met at the University of Texas and dated for about a year and a half before getting married. They went on to have five children and now enjoy 11 grandchildren.
How did you know the other person was “the one?”
Richard: “I don’t think it’s a cognitive thing. You feel as though it’s the right thing. We also had similar values about our faith, family and what we wanted to do with our lives.”
Candace: “It was a mix of infatuation and respect. Sometimes you just get crushes on people, but he was different, I could tell. He had so much depth. It was values, but I also respected who he was.”
What are the secrets to your relationship success?
Richard: “I think it’s three things. One goes back to those similar values – what’s important to us about faith and family. Those are things we enjoy together. Another thing is that we try and do something every day that increases our love, by doing things for each other and helping the other person to be what they want to become. The third thing is to watch what you say. Guard your mouth. You don’t have to say everything you think. Let the little things go by. They aren’t important.”
Candace: “Before you say anything, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If it meets that criterion, you can say it. Also, respect each other’s differences.”
Richard: “We tend to complement each other. She’s more affective, and I’m more cognitive. It helps to balance that out.”
Richard: “Listen first to what the other person has to say. It’s not worth fighting over unless it’s a core value thing, and then you have to work it out. We really haven’t had any major disagreements because we listen to each other.”
How do you keep the love alive?
Candace: “It’s more the little things. Like when our whole family – 22 people – are here, and things are kind of hectic and crazy, Richard may walk by and pat me on the back to let me know he’s here for me. Little things are more important than the big things you plan for a long time.”
Richard: “When you’re young and have five children, there’s not much time for date nights. Now that we’re older, we can do more things together. I agree with her that it’s the little things during the day. If there’s a new peony out in the garden, I’ll give it to her and put it in a vase. Look for those opportunities.”
What advice can you give?
Richard: “Be affectionate. If people aren’t affectionate to each other and don’t touch each other or kiss, they won’t have that sense of togetherness. It’s hard to be mad at each other if you’re also affectionate.
“Also, young people need to spend time on engagement, thinking about what their values are, who they are, who they’re marrying, and how they’re going to be working together and not rush in. Sometimes people look at engagement as just a time to prepare for the wedding, but it’s really a time to learn more about each other. You need to prepare yourself first if you want to have a long marriage and have a relationship that will fulfill each of you, and each of you will grow. To me that’s the definition of love: if you help each other develop your skills and talents and meet your goals.”