The Couple: Arthur & Ruby Lawrence
Location: Rhode Island
Relationship Longevity: 73 years
Best advice to young couples: “You have to forgive no matter what he/she has done. Even though you won’t forget you must forgive.”
Due to the history and wisdom associated with this interview I thought it only proper to give a background introduction on this wonderful couple. At the age of sixteen and eighteen these two decided to change each others’ lives forever by joining together in holy matrimony on the back porch of a farmhouse in Wake Forest, North Carolina. After a brief celebration of fried fish and lemonade they began their lives as a family going on to have nine children. However, the stay in North Carolina was cut short and after just four years of marriage they moved up north, because Mr. Arthur’s boss refused to give him a raise. They’ve have lived in their same home in Rhode Island since about 1945. They have embarked on great endeavors in their time from starting a church in their home in 1952 to establishing a scholarship fund that has recently honored six students with scholarships to major universities across America. And a North Carolina community center was also named after the Lawrence’s. Their historic journey spans from World War II, to watching first man land on the moon, to the civil rights movement and finally voting in the first Black US President. Incidentally President Obama and the First Lady sent a letter of recognition to commemorate the Lawrence’s 70th Anniversary. The questions below give a brief insight on their perspective of marriage and the major differences of time past and today. Arthur is 91 and Ruby is 89.
Q: What are some tips you would give on preparing yourself as an individual for marriage?
Arthur: Observe other marriages to learn what to do or not to do. You on your own once your married.
Ruby: Make sure you are friends first that’s the only way the marriage can last. Have only one boyfriend/girlfriend.
Q: How did you know he/she was the one?
Arthur: Jokingly states, I don’t know it was just something I wanted to do. She was just the first one. Seriously it just felt right at the time and was something good.
Ruby: Well the reason I made this decision was because I had made a mistake, I was pregnant before I got married and I felt I could just go on with it. I had no choice (she laughed). I knew he was the one because he was my type. He was just for me!
Q: How important is friendship to your relationship?
Ruby: Friendship is the foundation of our relationship. We went to school together for years.
Q: What is the #1 reason you believe your marriage has survived for 73 years?
Ruby: Mainly because of forgiveness. I had nine children and I lost one but I tried to stick around to survive for my family no matter what happened.
Q: What advice would you give to newly married couples?
Ruby: I really don’t know what to give these kind of people (she says jokingly) because some of them don’t really understand how a marriage is suppose to be. How it’s suppose to be. You’re supposed to love one another and do the best you can no matter what happens you’re suppose to keep your love for your husband or wife. I don’t care what they’ve done or do you have to always forgive them. You don’t forget but you have to forgive. You never forget nothing I don’t care what it is. You will always think about it forever but you have to forgive or you want be forgiven.
Q: Who do you consider your marriage mentors?
Ruby: Well my parents were good examples and stayed married until their death’s. My mom was a good support to my father.
Arthur: I basically observed others and figured out how I wanted to do my marriage and wanted to do better than they did.
Q: Why do think so many divorces are happening now?
Ruby: I don’t go for that I don’t like divorce. If you’ve married someone you’ve made a vow and you should stick with it. I don’t care how rough it is you have to hang on in there. I don’t believe in divorces, married again and all that stuff. One man for me that’s enough! Divorce has never crossed my mind.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned, given and received that could’ve only happened within marriage?
Ruby: Greatest thing I’ve learned is how to love and forgive.
Arthur: It’s been so many things I can’t name one. I learned to be a good provider on my own.