Advice from couple’s 50 years of marriage
By Nissa LaPoint
Not a day goes by without Deacon Milton Webre and his wife, Beverly, clinking their wine glasses together—sometimes coffee mugs if it’s the morning—and saying, “Happy anniversary.”
“Every day we celebrate our anniversary,” Beverly said. “It just happens to be 51 years (this year).
Years is neat but we are married every day. We toast each other ‘happy anniversary’ every day and that doesn’t fail.”
The 70-year-old couple shared lessons learned from their marriage and memories of their wedding day while in their Lakewood home a week before their Feb. 11 anniversary.
The couple said they’ve learned a thing or two about marriage since saying “I do” more than a half a century ago in New Orleans at 19 years old.
One of their first pieces of advice to couples is to avoid becoming “married singles,” a term that refers to couples who are married but live separate lives.
Truly sharing one’s life with a spouse, even becoming dependent on the other’s skills, is of great importance to a successful marriage, said Milton, who goes by “Mickey.”
As a deacon at Christ on the Mountain Parish in Lakewood, Mickey said he and his wife have helped many couples preparing for marriage learn to avoid culture’s push for living independently.
“Many couples today are married singles before they even get married,” Beverly said.
In their own marriage, she said she has relied on Mickey to provide for her and their now-grown daughters. His budgeting skills enabled them to purchase what they needed and send their three daughters to Catholic school, she said.
“It’s budgeting that always did it,” she said. “You don’t spend it before you have it and God has provided.”
Looking back on their marriage, Mickey said he relied on Beverly for many talents, and said she was the driving force behind their move to Denver six years ago.
They grew up in Catholic families in New Orleans and met at Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge, where they became high-school sweethearts, Beverly said.
They graduated at 17 years old and two years later they married at St. Matthew the Apostle Church in New Orleans.
“I can’t say we felt pushed,” Beverly said. “It was a very pleasant experience for us. Not all teenage marriages fail.”
Pulling out their wedding album, Beverly, who wore silver fleur-de-lis earrings, pointed to a photo of Mickey and said, “Isn’t he cute? Mickey looked younger than the altar server.”
Three years after their wedding, the couple were caring for three children and bought their first home for $11,000, she said.
They lived in the same house for more than 40 years while Mickey worked as an electrical engineer and Beverly became a teacher.
Over the years, they learned to share themselves, which is what makes a couple grow, she said.
As a father, Beverly said Mickey always cared for their daughters.
“We joked one time that if the pope came for dinner and one of the girls needed to talk to dad, he would be there,” Beverly said. “He’s still that kind of a dad today.”
Being there for others requires that couples first nurture their marriage, she said.
“Before you can have the overflow, you’ve got to start filling the bottle yourself,” Mickey said about marriage.
They later became involved in Marriage Encounter and facilitated weekends with couples for 12 years. Today they assist couples with marriage preparation.
Through their own marriage and experiences with marriage guidance, they’ve learned to address issues before they build up, Mickey said.
The little daily irritations done unknowingly—perhaps not listening to the other completely—require forgiveness, Beverly said.
But if issues build up and go unaddressed, they recommend seeking help.
“Don’t be too proud,” Mickey said about finding marriage counseling.
The first step is to admit that there is a problem in the marriage, then recognize that each person is a part of that problem before seeking marriage assistance, he said.
In all their years together and in advice they give others, the Webres said marriage is about building the kingdom of God together.
“One day I’m going to see God face to face,” Beverly said. “The first thing he’s going to ask me is, ‘Did you take care of that gift (spouse) I sent to you? How did you treat that gift?’
“That’s what I have to answer,” she said. “He has to answer the same thing.”