The couple that we have chosen to start off this section is Dr. Anthony and Marva Kelly.
Anthony and Marva are like our second parents. It was Dr. Kelly that married us almost 13 years ago. We consider them to be a benchmark for the way marriage should be and have admired their union. I(Oliver) always said before I got married that if I could have a marriage like theirs that I would consider ‘taking the plunge’.
The Kellys live in California, where Dr. Kelly is the Director of the Greater Los Angeles Region in the Southern California Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. Marva is a retired Executive Administrative Assistant and enjoys mentoring young pastors wives, having been a ‘first lady’ herself.
We had the privilege recently to be able to speak with them and ask them a few questions…you can read some of our conversation below…
Q: How long have you been married?
Anthony: 30 years!
Marva: 30 years and 5 months (women always can calculate to the second…LOL)
Q: What advice do you have to give to husbands?
In order to function as a husband, without reservation I would point a husband to the admonition Paul gives in Eph 5:25 “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
To take it one step further love her as you love yourself. She is you, and you are her!
For both husband and wife it is important to understand that agape love is the greatest love of all. (1 Cor 13:4-8)
Be ‘for real’! If you are entering into a marriage for a lifetime, being phony can only last for so long.
Allow the Lord to be your guide. If it were not for God being the center of our marriage, I don’t know how the marriage would have turned out.
Q: What advice do you have to give to wives?
“IF” your husband loves you as Christ loved the church, then love him as he follows Christ.
Please accept your husband for who he is and not what you think he ought to be based upon a preconceived notion.
Know your husband from your perspective and not someone else’s!
Marva: Same as the advice for husbands…
Q: Like us, your family is ‘blended’. What, if any, were/are the challenges of having a blended family? What advice would you give?
Blended families can be a challenge, especially if the marriage relation is not put into the right perspective. The couple must determine that they are married to one another and the children are a part of the covenant package. Never allow the children become the driving force in the marriage, (blended or not). If husband and wife are determined to love one another, then the children will be loved as a part of their love for one another. Children will always test this principle, by seeking the favor of one or the other of the parents. Many times it is not the biological parent where the favor is sought. If parents are not careful this mode of operation can cause a rift in their relationship.
You have to maintain your position as ‘parent’ and not allow the children to manipulate. Although our relationship is very special, we have never made them feel like their respective biological parents are not important. We have blended well…
Q: What would you say is your ‘love language’ (from the book by Gary Chapman)?
Giving! If I can give of myself while maintaining my identity, all of my approaches to the relationship will be borne out of that love language. To give of self is the greatest gift one can bestow on another, but to lose oneself in giving it becomes no gift at all!
Words of affirmation
Q: If you had to sum up your years of marriage in one word, what would it be?
Oliver & Denise Marcelle are the founders of Denoli, LLC (speaking, facilitating, and mentoring/coaching). They have been married for 20 years and have 3 children.
Through seminars, a podcast, videos and social media posts, they offer a candid look into their own marriage, with the goal being to encourage couples and help them explore, grow and learn together.
It is their belief that all relationships stand a chance, if given the right tools.
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