Marriage March: Larry & Beth Manning

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

Week 4 of the Marriage March!

This week, we continue the marriage march with Larry and Beth Manning. They are Don’s parents and have been married since 1954.  

Larry and Beth have been married for 67 years! You heard it right, 67 YEARS!  

Our kids have been excited about this podcast because they grew up hearing Beth (Meme) and Larry (Grandad) talk about being marriage in the 1900’s. We are excited for you to hear some of their rich marriage history! So, buckle up and let’s start down memory lane! 

How Did They Meet?  

Larry and Beth went to the same high school in Leonard, TX. They were in high school at the same time and “went together.” At the end of high school, Beth went to college and Larry went to work in West Texas. A few years later, Larry came rolling back into town and swept Beth off her feet (literally stole her from another man).  

They decided to marry in Leonard, TX on February 6th, 1954.  They didn’t send out invitations, yet the whole town turned out for their wedding. Beth decided to take a job in Brownwood, TX and Larry joined shortly after they married 

Here are a few facts to help understand the time period of their marriage:  

  • Beth’s wedding ring was $175  
    • They paid it out after they got married. $10 a month 
  • Beth’s mother made her wedding dress from scratch 
  • When Beth started teaching, she made $188 a month  
  • Rent was $38.50 a month 
  • First house payment in Brownwood, TX was $49 

“When you first get married, it is very important how you conduct yourself and who you surround yourself with. We chose to be a part of the church. People from Larry’s work also took us in and supported us in the first few years of our marriage.”- Beth 

We encourage every parent/spouse, no matter where you are on your journey to do these 3 things:  

  • Get involved in your local church 
  • Find a Jesus-centered community 
  • Go deep with those people and see what God does in your family 

What Happened When Kids Came 

When they started their family, Beth took time off, at first, and stayed home with the littles. She went back to work in 1961 when their 1st child (David) was 18 months old. They ultimately had 3 kids (David, Dianne, and Donald). 

Beth and Larry made a big life decision. Larry began working 4-6 days a week in construction jobs in different cities. He was gone most of the work week. This decision created a single parent lifestyle for Beth. 

How did Beth Survive?  

“It was hard on her. I was gone every week and sometimes all week long.”– Larry 

Also, we have to remember there were no phones, so communication and connection looked different than our current (digital) age.  

The way she handled being without a husband for most of the work week was by planning and asking for help. Friends and the church community helped watch the kids so Beth could work. She had a lot of friendships and even more support.

Bottom Line: She created a network of people to help raise her kids! 

It’s so important who your friends are and the support system around you. – Beth 

“I tried to be very organized. My days were planned out. The kids cooperated (were great kids), which helped.” – Beth 

How Did Your Marriage Handle the Distance and Life’s Trials?  

Larry and I really don’t fuss. We don’t bicker. We get along!” – Beth 

We haven’t had a lot of knock down drag out fights. There is more than one way of doing something. I thought there was one way of doing things and he often had a different wayI needed to accept his way of doing things.” – Beth 

Here was our Big Takeaway! In marriage, focus on not being selfish. A lot of couples make selfish decisions because they haven’t matured. We can generalize it and call it preferences” but in the end we are invited to celebrate the differences. We rarely see a husband and wife who are the same. God made us different and it is a good thing! 

Young married people’s biggest fights usually revolve around this issue! We want it done our way! We need to be open to see it differently.”- Suzanne 

Bottom line: Allow each other to be different. Celebrate those differences!  

How Did You Handle Home Life?  

In their first decade of marriage, Larry learned how to leave his job on the road and rejoin the family. He trusted Beth had it under control. A lot of men struggle with this. At work it is one way, but at home it is different.  

“I didn’t believe in arguing. The guys who worked for me knew who was boss. If I was wrong, I would take the “butt eaten (blame)” part. I didn’t work for easy men. If you did your job, all was good.” – Larry 

Larry shared how he learned what coming home looked like and how to adapt to home life by allowing Beth to lead in her own way.  

How Did You Divide Roles?

Beth grew up with farmers as parents. They worked hard for their money and didn’t earn much. She learned to be frugal from an early age. She eventually taught many people about budgeting, taxes, etc. Saving money is a part of who she is.  

She went on to share how those life skills determined the roles in their marriage. She did the finances and they both agreed it was best. She admitted she is not always perfect. This story explains her point.  

“Early on in our marriage, TVs were becoming popular. I decided we needed one. I surprised Larry with it and he did not like it one bit. He said, “if you are going to buy something like this. I’d like to be a part of it.” I learned I need to be careful with my choices as we settled into our marriage.” – Beth 

Bottom Line: Marriage roles are ways to learn. Give yourself and your spouse grace.

Final Thoughts 

Bottom Line: There are a lot of phases in a marriage. 

Phases such as, the early days, having kids’those kids going to college, kids get married, kids have kids and come to visit, and for the last 35 years, they have been empty nesters.

They chose each other through every season. It’s truly beautiful to witness.

We didn’t want to go anywhere else! No need to throw a good one (meaning Beth) away! We kinda fit each other and got to a point in life where we just chose to go down the road together.” -Larry 

“There are a lot of phases of marriage and all are important. Things like organization, budgeting, the friends you make, the church you are involved in are important to start at a young age if you want God in your life. Those are all important for marriages.” -Beth 

As we conclude this week’s podcast, be encouraged spouses. Building your family is important and worth it! The theme of the Manning’s marriage has been sacrificial loyalty. They chose to be sacrificially loyal to each other, their family, and everyone in their life.  

We are beyond grateful for Beth and Larry Manning. They are amazing parents and grandparents! 11 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren later, they are still centered on Godfamily, and community 

You can be too! We hope this 67-year-old marriage is an encouragement to your maturing marriage. You and your spouse can have a lifelong marriage. We believe in you!  

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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