Marriage is for better or worse

Published 10:55 pm Thursday, May 3, 2012

It is said that roughly half of all first marriages in America end in divorce — a statistic that is commonly accepted as reasonably close to the truth.

It’s a frightening commentary on the state of things in America. Careful decision-making, commitment and sincerity have generally been devalued in favor of recklessness, unfaithfulness and fickleness.

More and more often, people are getting married too young, without truly knowing their partner or lacking the emotional capacity to handle the work that marriage requires. Some figure that if it doesn’t work out, they can simply get a divorce and go their separate ways.

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Not everyone who is divorced was unfaithful or made a quick decision. Indeed, there are some situations, such as abuse, that often warrant divorce.

But Elsie and Rollis Bailey are a shining example of everything that can go right in marriage.

The two met as teenagers while walking through a park in Portsmouth. They married about four years later and went on to have four children together.

Now at the ages of 93 and almost 95, the Autumn Care residents celebrated their 75th anniversary on Tuesday with family and fellow residents.

Besides their four children, who are all still living, the couple has 15 grandchildren and more than 20 great- and great-great-grandchildren, according to their son Milton Bailey.

The elder Bailey moved in with his wife at the nursing home after briefly trying to live apart. He couldn’t do it.

The younger Bailey said he believes his parents’ message is an example younger people should follow. Anyone who is married or considering it would do well to take heed.

“You marry for better or for worse, and you stay together.”