By Chris Baker, Rick Hinton and Nancy Price
What are keys to a happy and long-lasting marriage? Communication, respect, selflessness, taking care of one another, keeping date nights and nurturing through a shared spiritual life, according to two Southside couples married for 60 years. A newlywed couple’s promise to one another for an eternal marriage center their lives around church and cherish one another daily with the reminder that tomorrow is never promised.
Happy Valentine’s Day from The Southside Times!
Southside resident Nancy Brandt holds a fond memory of a date with then future husband Les that happened when she was a student at Valparaiso University (at that time known as Valparaiso Male and Female College) in northern Indiana. He would drive up every so often to visit. On one occasion, as she waited for him on the front porch of her sorority house to arrive, he tooled around the corner in his new 1958 Corvette, coming to a stop in front of her building. “Is that him?” she asked out loud. The fraternity house across the street emptied out as the students encircled the car to look it over.
The couple initially met through their church, Emmaus Lutheran in Fountain Square. Both of their families attended. That was the beginning. Although not high school sweethearts (Les attended Manual, Nancy – Southport, the high schools were bitter rivals at that time) they managed to come back together at a high school program – the Junior Walther League – when they were 14-15 years old.
They married Sept. 24, 1960, at Emmaus. The wedding was to have taken place a month earlier, but Les suffered an appendicitis attack. “Her parents claimed I had done this on purpose to get out of it,” Les laughed. “What else would a mother-in-law think?” Nancy added. The years have produced three children – Rachel, Matthew and James, along with three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. And a lot of memories and traditions.
“We used to go to White Castle for Valentine’s Day dinner,” Nancy offered. “That shows how sophisticated we are. This year I’ll make him his favorite pie – black raspberry.”
What is the key to their successful relationship? Nancy has given it some thought: “Choose well. I also think the example your parents set. Back then they married for life. You have that example. We dated for six years before we married. And faith … the church has always been the foundation of our relationship, and also our life.”
Les agreed. “Your faith in God and the Bible is a basis for that. We’ve noticed, although you’re close together, you have different interests, yet also some of the same. You’re not tied to each other tightly all the time.” Les concluded with a smile. “You’re not here to be the most important person, you’re here to serve other people.”
Both 81 years of age, and 60 years of marriage later, the Brandts set the example!
Even after recently celebrating 60 years of marriage, Bob and Louise Campbell, both 78, still act like newlyweds. She compliments him on his “pretty smile,” and he remembers thinking she was “just hot” when they were teenagers. They gaze adoringly at one another, giggle and talk about their date nights at local restaurants, concerts, the movie theater and walks around Garfield Park.
But it wasn’t love at first sight.
“I didn’t like him when I first met him, but he grew on me,” said Louise, while chuckling.
“She never paid attention to me,” added Bob, joining in her laughter.
The Garfield Park residents got to know one another through church and hanging out at an old Southside community center with their friends. They played basketball, ping pong and attended dances and movies on Friday night.
They were just 14 when they started to date and had no driver’s licenses; dates in those days consisted of walking to Dairy Queen for dinner and strolling down the street to the closest movie theater.
Louise was still a teenager when she moved to Cincinnati to complete her high school education. Yet, Bob, who worked at a gas station for 50 cents an hour after school and on weekends, would drive to see her when he could. He proposed in September of 1959 and the two married in January of 1960. They were both 18 and recent high school graduates. The wedding and reception cost just $50, and they paid $9,500 for their home, where they still live today.
Bob worked at a Southside Kroger in the bakery department for more than 50 years, while Louise raised their three children: Robert, Tina and Jeff. The Campbells have eight grandchildren.
“Bobby’s taken very good care of me,” Louise said. “Through the past 60 years, I’ve had a lot of challenges and illnesses. He’s still taking good care of me. I couldn’t ask for a better husband, father and grandfather.”
The couple credit the longevity in their marriage to good communication, giving to one another and treating one another with respect.
“We try to listen to one another and respect one another,” Louise said. “I have great respect for my husband; he’s always treating me like a lady.”
“Be good to one another,” Bob advised to other married couples. ”You’ve got to both try and understand one another.”
Noah and Christine Shingleton first met in middle school, when they both attended Greenwood Christian Academy. First, they became friends. They began dating when they were in high school. After dating for five years Noah took Christine out to one of their favorite restaurants followed by going to her family’s lake cabin. Christine was treated to hundreds of candles that lined the dock where Noah proposed. They crossed the lake to the other side where family and friends were waiting to celebrate their engagement.
On June 14, 2019, the couple were married at Center Grove Church. The reception was at the Barn at Bay Horse Inn. Following the wedding the couple headed to Hawaii and spent time on the Garden Isle of Kauai where they enjoyed relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, hiking the Na Pali Coast and Hawaiian shaved ice.
The couple spent six-and-a-half years dating before getting married and shared a few things they learned along the way. “No matter where life takes you, never forget where you came from and the people you meet along the way,” Christine said. “We are never promised tomorrow, so we must cherish the moments and loved ones that are around us.”
Church life is also something that is very important to the couple. They attend Harvest Bible Chapel Indy South. They volunteer in the children’s ministry and are part of a small group. When asked about how important their faith is to their marriage, Noah said, “Our faith in Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our marriage. We believe that marriage was created by God and is a reflection of how Christ loves and sacrificed for His church of believers.”
This Valentine’s Day will be the first for them as a married couple. They plan to exchange a small gift and enjoying dining out at one of their favorite Southside restaurants.
The Shingletons said they are motivated to be the best husband and wife they can be to each other because of how deep God has shown His love for them.