We’re going to be talking about one of the most controversial topics that you can talk about in this day and time. Marriage.
You’re going to learn some wonderful things. Some things that you’re going to say, I never knew that, and I’m going to apply that to my marriage. Then there are other people that are going to say, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t know.”
I know a thing or two because I’ve seen and experienced a thing or two. I believe I’m somewhat of an expert on marriage. I’ve been married for 62 years to the same man.
I heard one man tell me one time, “I’ve been married 20 years, but it was to five different women.”
The reality is that marriage is not a vacation, it’s a vocation.
I got married in 1960, and I was 20 years old. I was an only child. I lived with my mother and my father. At that time, the only options were to be a nurse, or a schoolteacher, or get married and be a homemaker.
In school, I was majoring in speech, drama, and music. All of the fine arts were very interesting to me.
Then I met this wonderful man. I was in college and I was in a beauty pageant at that particular time. That night, a gentleman came into town and attended the beauty pageant.
After some time went by, I met him at a dance. He introduced himself to me and invited me to dance with him. I was engaged to someone else that was not at the party that night.
My dad used to say to me, “Claire, when something’s important to you, take care of it and always protect it.”
The gentleman that came over and asked me to dance that night was a professional dancer, which I didn’t know at the time.
When the dance was over, he asked, “What is your name?”
I said, “Clarice Brown.”
He said, “Clarice Brown, someday, I’m going to marry you.”
I said, “No, you’re not. I’m already engaged. I’m certainly not interested in you.”
He said, “It doesn’t matter.”
That was when I came face to face with unreasonable faith.
Every evening around seven o’clock, I got a phone call. This man would say, “My name is Marbury Fluitt. I just called to tell you that I love you, and someday I’m going to marry you.”
Now, he was movie-star good looking. I thought he was a stalker.
What you don’t know that’s very important to know is when I was 13, I lived next door to this wonderful 18-year-old girl. She was a cheerleader. She drove a car. She had a life. It was so exciting.
I was basically her little slave. I went over. I kept her room clean. I swept her floor. I hung up her clothes. I did everything to be in her presence because I didn’t have any brothers or sisters to tell me how to be a teenager. I was just watching her life.
When you want to know how things work, you need to look around and find somebody doing what you want to do. Take a look and see how you can benefit them.
Being in the presence of people that have experience is a very valuable thing to you.
So, I was with my friend, Carolyn. She had a big corkboard with photographs of boys pinned to it. In 1953, people having photographs was a big deal.
One day I said to her, “Carolyn, you have all these boys, and I don’t have any boy at all. Could I have one?”
She said, “Sure, you can.”
I looked at her board. I found this one picture of a young man in a bathing suit. He was diving out of a tree into a lake.
Carolyn told me that was her first boyfriend when she was in the ninth grade. His name was Marbury and he lived in Denver, Colorado.
I took his picture home. I knew that my father was certainly not going to let me have pictures of boys. He didn’t allow that. I put Marbury in the closet and said, “Someday, I’m going to marry you.”
I have taught on the power of words. Let me tell you, it turned out that those words were powerful.
I go back to see Carolyn a few days later. I was cleaning up her room. She had a ring around her neck on a chain. I asked her what it meant.
She said, “Well, I’m going steady with my boyfriend, James. He gave me his class ring. I wear it around my neck as a sign to other boys that I’m going steady.”
It never occurred to me that I was supposed to get the ring from a boy. So, I went to a five-and-dime store and found a ring that could have fit King Kong. I didn’t know where to get a chain. My mother had a chain on her bathtub stopper, and I pulled it off. I put that ring around my neck, and my neck turned as green as a gourd.
I was in the seventh grade and went to school with this big ring around my neck, much too young to be dating in that day and time. The older girls asked, “Whose ring is that?”
I told them about the man in Colorado who I was going to marry. It was so real to me. I had read about Cinderella and believed someday my prince would come.
I did that for four years. Believing that from the time I was 12 until I was almost 16. Then I had a real wake-up call.
I met this wonderful guy and started going steady with him, a real live person.
We decided to get married. I was a junior in college. Life was great. I planned to get married in June.
In April, my boyfriend and I had a serious disagreement. He told me to lower my voice and to remember who I was, and not to speak to him in that tone.
That’s when I realized I had a bigger problem than I thought. I was so upset.
I saw George Fluitt sitting under a tree. I asked him, “What are your plans for the evening?”
He said, “Where would you like to go?”
I said, “To the movies.”
There I was, wearing somebody else’s ring and ready to go out with this man who had been calling me.
George was the perfect gentleman. He was so kind and sweet. We had wonderful conversations. He had been everywhere. He had done all kinds of wonderful things. He was a world traveler.
George had come to Louisiana to help take care of his aging grandmother. He had enrolled in school. He was a senior majoring in speech and drama. He wanted to go around the world and be a motivational speaker to speak on people and places.
While we were talking, I asked him to tell me more about himself.
He said, “My name is George Marbury Fluitt.”
“Marbury? Did you know a girl named Carolyn Stewart?”
“She was my first girlfriend.”
I told him, “When I was 13, I got a picture of you and said, ‘Someday, I’m going to marry you.’”
Three months later, we were married and have been for over 60 years. That sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t mean it was smooth sailing with no problems.
God will put people in your life. You have to make the decision that we are marrying human beings, we are not marrying people that are absolutely perfect.
Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener.
Regardless of who will be your companion, make a decision to love that person. When you first love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (Luke 10:27), you are equipped to love your mate the way Jesus loves you.
Like all other major situations in your life, marriage is a decision. I do not encourage you to ever live in a situation where you are abused and misused, but little silly things that people are fussing and fighting about don’t amount to a hill of beans.
Give each other some room. You’ve got to be able to say, “Lord, this is the person you’ve put at my side.”
Love one another.
God will guide you. Bless you, and your current or future marriage.
Much happiness and harmony to you.