Memoirs from a Golden Couple
The celebrated couple Charles and Beth Self, met over fifty years ago in Berkeley at the First Presbyterian church. Delightfully, they recalled ...the proposal.
“I wanted to propose by singing a song. The church pianist offered to accompany me –but I refused,” Charles eyes sparkled. “I sang acapella on my knees in front of sixty – seventy people.”
“He sang, ‘Let me call you sweetheart,” Beth, the assiduous bride-of-his youth, smiled winsomely.
“The pianist said I should have taken him up on his offer,” he grinned as we both joined him.
"So, what do you attribute the success of your last fifty years?" I later asked each better-half out of earshot from each other. Charles answered quickly seated on the couch with a view of endless green lawn from the living room with a country-view.
“The grace of God,” Charles quietly stated in a deliberate and serious tone. “The love of God brings you together and the grace of God keeps you together….”
Beth answered from the kitchen, where she and her daughter were busily packing the leftover baked dessert breads, cookies and finger foods from their celebration to take down to the homeless. (Beth and Charles have helped many people over the decades; they also raised foster children and developmentally delayed young adults, besides their own two.)
“We kept our eyes on Jesus.” Beth stated solidly as she continued packing. “That is the answer. If you fix your eyes on Jesus, you don’t fuss with others. It doesn’t matter what others think or do…only Jesus. Then whatever problem comes along He gives grace and forgiveness. How can you be unforgiving when you’re always aware how much He has done for you already?”
The ins and outs of loving each other and forgiving each other are important ingredients to living together fifty Christmases. And always God showers grace on any couple, just like Beth and Charles, willing to open His marriage manual, the Bible, and learn why God came to earth 2000 Christmas’s ago…to demonstrate love in action to all people married and single.
Charles and Beth’s Favorite Verses, I John 4:15-16
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in Him and He in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.”