For Susie and Lloyd Lawrence, the secret to their 23 years of marriage is simple: “Always tell the truth no matter what it is, even if you’re upset with them,” Susie said. “Don’t hide anything.”
The strategy has worked well so far. The pair has been married for nearly 24 years and live together with their dog, Lily, at the Oaks at Daniel Island.
“We try to stay away from anger,” Lloyd noted.
“We don’t really have any of that,” Susie said.
Their love story began during childhood, where they grew up around each other. Susie, 82, reminisced, “We’ve known each other since we were kids. Lloyd’s youngest sister was one of my best friends.” Lloyd, 85, shared how the connection grew over time, saying, “Susie was beautiful, fun, and hard to catch.”
Their courtship, rooted in familiarity and laughter, laid the foundation for a union built on communication, trust, and honesty. The Lawrences credit these pillars to their happy marriage. “Being able to laugh is a big one,” Susie said, echoing Lloyd’s sentiments of approval, acceptance, and respect.
The duo pointed out that relationships should be a dance of understanding and synchrony. “Susie can often answer for me because she knows where I am and what I’m going to say, and vice versa,” Lloyd laughed.
Navigating through life’s ebbs and flows, they keep the romance alive through surprises and shared experiences, like sailing, eating dinner outside, and driving down to the beach. Susie said it’s the little things that count the most.
Their best advice to couples just starting out is to keep open discussions during times of conflict. “You can’t overtalk. You need to be able to say your whole thought and get it out there and exchange it.” Susie nodded in agreement, saying, “You always have to feel safe around your partner and feel free to say things.”
The couple shares many grandchildren between Susie’s two kids and Lloyd’s four kids. They share their advice in hopes it will resonate with newlyweds or couples beginning their journey together.
Barbara Martin, a fellow resident of the Oaks at Daniel Island, unfolded the love story between her and her late husband. Meeting at a Christmas party, their encounter sparked a span of phone calls, dates, and good conversation. Despite his studying overseas, their relationship continued over a series of love letters.
Martin, 86, married her husband in 1964. As she recounted the tale of their lifelong romance, she reflected on the importance of honesty. “We both always said what was on our mind and tried to be honest with each other.”
Pointing to what made their marriage work, Martin noted their shared values and religion. She emphasized the significance of open communication about important matters, including finances, as a key to a successful marriage.
Navigating life’s conflicts, Martin advised, “Try not to go to bed angry. Try to resolve it before saying goodnight. It’s not a good idea to let things linger around.”
Martin and her late husband raised four children together, and their unity in approaching parenting is what she said strengthened their connection. “Being able to approach different things with [the children] on the same level was important so that we weren’t contradicting each other.”
As Valentine’s Day approaches, perhaps we can all learn something from these longtime valentines: Be honest, find humor, address anger, share values, and raise children consistently.