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Let’s be real with each other…I would label today’s society as the microwave generation. Many expect instant gratification, with little to no effort, for anything we do. Not only is that not realistic, but its sets us up for disappointment.

One thing that we seem to rush all too soon is relationships. We all want love but many of us don’t want to put in the work. We run at the first sign of trouble or bring unnecessary drama into the relationship.

I’ve heard on more than one occasion, that there aren’t any examples of healthy, loving relationships besides the Obamas. That’s what this post is about — Providing an example of love and a few words of wisdom on how to make it work.

I want people to know that love does really exist. It’s real! Healthy, loving relationships are not only a possibility, but a reality. So every month, I will profile one couple who exemplifies love.

(Disclaimer: These featured profiles are not perfect relationships, but they are ones in which love is present and demonstrated through words and actions. These profiles are not to provide an exact rule book on how relationships work. This is to shed some light on a reality and offer some wisdom.)

Today’s profile happens to be on my grandparents, whom I affectionately call Nana and Bigdad.

Henry & Virginia Battle Jr.

Married 65 years

3 children, 12 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren

The Introduction

Henry and I were introduced one evening when I was attending a vacation club meeting called Club Noitacav at Henry’s family home. Two of Henry’s sisters were members of the club. After that, my girlfriend, always told me that when we’d see him at the football games, I’d make a special note of him.

The ONE

Henry and I dated for about a year before he was drafted into the Army.  When he left, we decided to keep in touch and get married when he got out.  He was in the service for three years.  It wasn’t easy, but I have never regretted waiting.  As a result, we became engaged when he returned and eight months later we were married.  There was no problem when he asked my Dad about marrying me. From the beginning, both of my parents, my sister and all four of my brothers thought highly of Henry.  He always had a good relationship with my family.

When I married Henry, I knew he was a strong, hard working man with great aspirations for living a good life.  I knew he had respect for all women.  I also knew he loved and adored me.  I am happy to say that we have been blessed with a wonderful marriage, raised a nice family and have continued to experience  a life together filled with love, mutual respect and understanding.

Things Aren’t Perfect, But We Make It Work

When we had disagreements, Henry would get silent or take a walk.  I have always considered him the head of the house.  His opinion has always mattered.  He has performed as the head of the house and and I have always been grateful for this.  As time has passed, we have grown to understand, love and respect each other more and more.

Our Marriage

From the beginning, we have always been good friends and comfortable in each other’s company. We are both outgoing, family oriented, enjoy getting together with family and friends, young and old.  We love playing cards, and Scrabble, listening to good music, dancing and travelling.  As challenging circumstances came up, we tried to work them out together.  We are both Christians and seek God’s help in daily living.

Memorable/Pivotal Moment

A memorable thing Henry did for me occurred when he encouraged me to go to Washington to work in the John F. Kennedy for President campaign office.  The candidate called me in his Senatorial Office in Massachusetts, where I had been a Secretary there when he was a Congressman and a Senator, to ask me to come to Washington.  I told him that I would have to check with my husband and I would get back to him.  I immediately called Henry on his job and told him about Senator Kennedy’s request.

I remember how Henry did not hesitate to tell me to go ahead. He told me it would be fine with him as long as Mom would help him with the children.  Our children were 5, 7 and 12 at the time, and my Mom was more than willing to help.  In a discussion with my sister, I mentioned wondering how I could leave my children.  Her response to me was “If you died tomorrow, they would still survive.”

I went on to Washington to work in the campaign office and it was quite an experience.  When John F. Kennedy became President, I came to Washington to work as the first Black Secretary on the White House staff for a Democratic President. Henry received a transfer from the Watertown Arsenal, where he was a Sheet Metal Specialist, to the General Services Administration.  Just before time for school to start, we were successful in finding a house and moved our family to Washington. In those days it was not easy to find suitable housing for Black families.  We were blessed to find adequate housing in Washington, DC.

Words of Wisdom for Young People Dating Today

It is my sincere belief that young women should date Christian believing young men who are respectable and hard working.  They should be ardently working toward living a fruitful and fulfilling life.  Women should keep company with men they feel at ease with, those who have similar interests, desires, hopes and aspirations.  In addition, it is advantageous to establish relationships with men who have good family relations and backgrounds.  Women should always remember they have to demand respect to get it.  They should always feel good about themselves.  This comes about by continuing to strive to accomplish the things in life that assist you in achieving your goals.

– G

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