The secret to living the merry twosome life

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, April 21, 2022

Black vultures do it. So do white swans and mourning doves.

Bald eagles start when they’re four years old —they’ll do it perhaps 25 years. An albatross is at it even longer, sometimes 50 years.

And what are they doing?

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Building a network of nests;

Committing solely to one another;

Growing larger brains; or

Renewing their feathers yearly?

Look over your choices and lock in your answer.

These five birds are exceptional at love; they mate for life!

In fact, a swan will remain alone if its partner dies. Doesn’t that touch your heart — can’t you see that lone swan, gliding across a lake year after year until it passes away?

I deliberately chose these five birds because, in addition to mating for life, they also fly south for the winter — what many Southerners may consider doing, after the bitter cold. Hello Florida!

But what does it take to succeed as a snowbird? More than you think!

Having lived in the Sunshine State for many years, I can describe these couples easily: Married for some 40 to 60 years, remarkably healthy, very active.

In fact, they have a glow. I’m serious—happy little units of two.

I admire them. They don’t know this.

So why do their marriages last while other couples plug along unhappily? The U.S. divorce rate is 40 to 50 percent.

I happen to know the answer.

Several years ago, I was invited to a snowbird party. I saw my chance to investigate, and I set out on my quest — what was their secret?

About 25 couples were there. Always prepared, I took a slice of pizza, borrowed a pen, and gathered napkins for a notepad. Here’s what I discovered.

They’re geographically different. Some are from Canada, many from the Northern Midwest.

Their careers spanned all walks of life: legal secretary, social worker, accountant, career military.

Some were high school sweethearts, while others were “fixed up” by friends. One couple met on a blind date, and after two more outings, they were engaged. That was 44 years ago.

Their faith experiences were different, too. Some worship each week, while others rarely go.

I found this part disappointing. I had hoped they’d all succeeded because of Christ.

Then a woman named Lynn said in passing, “My husband and I share Christian values.”


Immediately, I backtracked. I hadn’t asked these couples about their values.

Marilyn firmly believed her marriage had lasted because of “honesty, love, respect, and faithfulness.” One couple after another said these exact same words. Bob called it “moral fiber.”

I had something now!

“Where do you think you developed these values?” I asked.

They all said from church and from their parents. Each had a Christian foundation, their hearts belonged to the Lord.


But there was more.

They told me about their interests: Football, antiquing, gardening, bingo, stocks, museums, dancing, yard sales, home projects. Who knew?

Carol, who is married to Jim, said, “Once our daughter turned 3, we spent a lot of time together on our sailboat.”

Separately, I asked Jim why his marriage to Carol had lasted.

“Men don’t think like that,” he said with a laugh. “But she sure is a good sailing mate!”

Ding, ding, ding!

It wasn’t just that these couples shared the same interests. No. It was bigger than that. Carol hadn’t come into the marriage as a sailor, Jim had taught her.

“I didn’t like football when I married,” Kathy said. “I decided to like it to be with my family.”

Barb’s husband learned bridge and square dancing.

I could feel goosebumps. Do you see the mindset?

“It’s not all about me,” Mary said. “We each give 100 percent.”

And, in the course of sharing one another’s interests, they had become “best friends.”

Each couple said those two words over and over again. But you could see it — never a cross word, no discord between any of them. (Alprazolam)

Bob said, “Think about it. We’re down here living in a one bedroom place, not a big house. There’s no yard work. We’re around each other A LOT. You have to truly like the other person.”

God says, “A man shall … be joined to his wife and they shall become one …” Gen. 2:24

That’s the secret from these happy couples: Become one.

Black vultures do it. So do white swans and mourning doves.

Bald eagles start when they’re four years old. An albatross is at it even longer, perhaps 50 years. And some of you may outlast them all.

Become one.

***The Rev. Mathews (BA, MDiv, JD) is a faith columnist, seminary graduate, and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at