Love, Honor, and Respect a feature story explaining The Keys for a healthy and successful marriage.

“I know that I am far from perfect and I’ve made mistakes, but one thing I do know is that the woman that I chose to marry is not only my wife and the mother of my children but most importantly she is my best friend. She always has been and she always will be,” said Mose Prescott.

Mose Presscott, 75, from Savannah Ga. and Rosetta Prescott, 74, from Swainsboro Ga. made the commitment to love, honor, and cherish each other until death do them apart. The couple have been married for 62 years.

Mose Prescott retired from the United States Army in 1972. Rosetta Prescott is a devoted stay at home wife. The two met in elementary school.

Mose and Rosetta Prescott

“When I first seen Rosetta in my class, I was about nine years old. I had to be in the third grade,” Mose said. “I thought she was pretty and a nice girl but I didn’t think to act on her then, I was just a youngster interested in cars, riding bikes and doing boy stuff.”

In high school the two became a couple. “I didn’t see him for a long time but when I did, we were in high school when I first noticed him,” said Rosetta. “Mose and my brother were good friends, so he would always come by the house and stuff to see my brother but I will never forget, it was that smile that caught my attention from Mose Prescott.”

The timing for young Mose and Rosetta to be together, was not when they were young children but that time came about 10 years later for them when they were almost young adults.

“We married about two years after we graduated from high school. I was so nervous that the ring had slip out of my hand two or three times before I could put it on my baby’s finger,” said Mose. “But all those nerves went away when I put the ring on her finger and she said to me I am yours for forever and a day.”

As Mose affectionately kisses the love of his life in their Garden City home; Rosetta sits there grinning and smiling like a young teenage girl. It has been over 50 years later and they still act like high school sweethearts. Since they have been married for such a long time, the couple both share their thoughts on how to have and maintain a happy and successful marriage.

Mose and Rosetta Prescott's home

“Marriage is no easy job. It is about hard work and dedication. If you aren’t willing to work and sacrifice then this job description is out of your league,” said Rosetta Prescott. “In order to have a happy and successful marriage a few things must take place.”

While Rosetta focuses on the aspect of dedication and sacrifice, Mose comes from a gentler standpoint. Mose Prescott said with a chuckle, “You know that old saying happy wife happy life? That is exactly how I made it to this point. No I am kidding,” said Mose. “We got here because we listened, we loved, we respected, and most importantly we prayed.”

Those key components are the essentials elements that kept the Prescott’s marriage so strong after all these years. “Those things are like the wood that kept our fire burning,” said Rosetta. “If those values weren’t given to us before we got married, I don’t know if our marriage would be as tight and strong as it is today.”

The couple’s theory for a healthy and successful marriage stems from both of their parent’s marriages and how they stuck through the good and the bad.

“I feel like I can speak for Rosetta when I say this, but we both came from families that didn’t have much but our parents knew the true definition of loving each other and staying true to themselves and their Christian values,” said Mose.

A Good Marriage

Pastor and marriage counselor William and Bridgette O’Neal of Living Word Church Ministries have seen several marriages rise and crumble. However, their advice for a happy and successful marriage is simple. “Many couples tend to forget that when they are married, it is ok to have separate lives from each other. In other words, do not be stuck at the hip,” said Pastor O’Neal.

Berin Kinsman who is a relationship blogger, feels that having the necessary time apart from a spouse is important because when the couple is away from each other it gives them a chance to miss each other. Berin Kinsman said in an article on The Huffington Post, “People in relationships still need to have lives independent of one another, and not be co-dependently joined at the hip 24/7. There are things a couple can do together, things they’ll do separately, and things they’ll have to compromise on”, said Kinsman.

Communication also plays a vital role in a successful marriage. “Communication is the glue that keeps the marriage together. If the couple doesn’t want to talk out their problems and listen to what each other has to say then they are headed for a disaster. God gave man two ears and one mouth for a reason,” said Bridgette O’Neal.

This bible is the bible that Rosetta and Mose use when they have bible study together

Many married couples tend to think that counseling before marriage is taboo. However, having premarital counseling is said to strengthen the bond between the couple. According to Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman institute, premarital counselling is beneficial to couples because it helps them address thoughts, concerns and expectations of each other.

“I will not wed a couple if they do not have some sort of counseling before marriage. People think that they can just marry somebody without knowing exactly why they are marrying them,” said William O’Neal.

The Prescott’s didn’t have premarital counseling before getting married because premarital counselling advice was never used around the time they decided to marry each other.

“Well back in the day we didn’t know anything about pre-marital counseling. We just got married and stuck everything out. But back then marriages were organic and had a genuine purpose behind them unlike marriages today,” said Rosetta Prescott.

Eric Johnson, 43 years old, father of four children, from Atlanta has witnessed firsthand the hardship of a marriage.

“When I first married my ex-wife, I thought she was the love of my life. Everything was fine prior to us getting married and in the beginning of our marriage. It seemed like everything went left when she lost her dad. She was taking that anger out on me and our marriage. She was going and staying out late with her friends and she cheated on me. Being the fool that I was, I still wanted to stay with her and get counseling but she wasn’t having it. She became addicted to having fun and not being a mother and a wife at that time,” said Eric Johnson.

Keisha Grant, 43 years old, from Atlanta is Eric’s ex-wife and the mother of his daughter strongly disagree on the reason behind why they divorced.

“For starters it was a mutual agreement for us to get a divorce. I gave my all but I mean it is what it is at this point. Honestly, I must admit that I do feel like I married that man way too soon. Now looking back on things, I only got married because a few of my friends were married and I didn’t want to seem like the outcast. I had no clue of what I was getting myself into though. Marriage is not what it is all cracked up to be. I mean I would definitely say I regret the marriage but I do not regret my child that came from the unfortunate situation,” Grant said.

Alain de Botton of the New York Times said in an article, “Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us,” said Botton.

Alain de Botton, explains how people will marry for their own selfish reasons, and they do not have the appropriate support from their friends to say to them that they are wrong for their doings.

“When you knew that your friends or people that you were close to were going through it, you just left it alone. It wasn’t your business to tend to but divorce really wasn’t an option back then. If you and your partner was going through something you kept that quiet. It was like a family secret but only between you and your wife and not your whole family,” said Mose.

Education

Couples who have more education tend to have lower divorce rates compared to the men and women who did not attend college. The National Center of Health Statistics estimates that “78% of college-educated women who married for the first time between 2006 and 2010 could expect their marriages to last at least 20 years. But among women who have a high school education or less, the share is only 40%,” said Wendy Wang of The National Center of Health Statistics.

Men who earn an education also have higher chances of a long term marriage. The Pew Research Center says that “(65%) of men with a bachelor’s degree could expect that, if they marry, their first marriage will last 20 years or longer, compared with 50% of men with a high school diploma or less,” said Wendy Wang.

The statistics that represent a lasting marriage based off of higher level education

Statistics show that people without college level degrees are prone for longer lasting marriages. Yet, in a more contemporary society, it is more acceptable for men and women who went to college to most likely get married before people who didn’t go off to college.

Couples who attend college and earn a degree have a higher chance of being able to support a family financially, as well. Being that neither Mose nor Rosetta attended college, they both made sure that their family was well taken care of.

“Yeah, it really wasn’t common for a lot of people to go to college. You either found a good paying job somewhere or you went off to the military and made something of yourself. It was just as simple as that,” said Mose.

Is race a factor?

It is clear that people are marrying and divorcing sooner in the millennial generation compared to older generations such as the traditionalist and baby boomers.

“Marriage is for white people” written in an article in the Washington Post by Joy Jones. People of color are not as influenced in today’s society to become married. African Americans would much rather wait until they are a little older instead of settling down in their early 20’s.

As stated by the black demographics.com, the U.S Census Bureau discovered that in the year of 2014 an astonishing 29% of African Americans were married compared to a total of 48% of all Americans that were married. There are several reasons on why African Americans tend to wait longer to marry their spouses. Those reasons include a lack of finances and a lack of interest in starting a family at a young age.

In urban areas, women tend to marry younger than men. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S Department of Commerce in the 1950’s, the average age for a woman to be married for the first time was 21 years old, compared to men who were between the ages of 23 and 24 years old.

Since the 1960’s the age for marriage has increased every decade. In the 1970’s the average marriage age for women was 22 and for men it was 24. As every decades pass, the marital age for both men and women increased about two or three years per decade. In 2016 women begin to marry around the age of 27 and of 29.

When a couple decides to get married, the initial step after marriage is children. Having a healthy two parent household can be extremely beneficial on a child’s behalf.

“I always knew that I wanted my children to grow up with both of their parents living up under the same roof. I just feel that the children shouldn’t be put in a situation that cheats them of their happiness. When me and Mose got married, we knew that it wasn’t about us anymore, it would be about our children,” said Rosetta Prescott.

The two parent household

In the Prescott household, their children had the opportunity to gather a life time of memories. All three of their children knew that their parents loved and cared for them more than life itself.

Alethia Wimberly, Savannah Ga, 43, is the youngest daughter of Mose and Rosetta and have fond memories with her parents. “My fondest memory is helping my mom pick-up and delivery Girl Scout cookies to her troop. My brothers and I had fun doing this with her and her troop leaders”, said Alethia Wimberly.

Alethia Wimberly graduation photo from high school

Even though the Prescott’s children lived in a two parent household, the social interaction was sometime limited. However, the children still were given the essentials of life.

Anthony Prescott 45, Savannah Ga who is the middle child of the Prescott family reflects on the communication with his parents.

“My dad worked two jobs; so during the week it was hard to talk to him, but on the weekends when he was home he was great with us. But when it comes to my mother, she is like super woman. She gave us everything we needed from those special talks to the Christian principles that we still practice today”, said Anthony Prescott.

Mose Prescott (center) and his two oldest sons Mose Jr (left) and Anthony (right) Prescott

With the family all living under one roof growing up, it had a positive effect of how the children behaved. The Study, Are Two Parents Always Better Than One by Ann Meier and Kelly Music shows that children who live in a biologically married household will have lower level risk-taking behaviors.

“Children from high conflict families (compared to low conflict families) have an increased likelihood of 8 of 10 of our outcomes: dropping out of school, poor grades, smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, early sex, non-marital fertility, and union dissolution,” said Ann Meier and Kelly Musick of Cornell University.

The high conflict between a family is not the only aspect that can cause a child to act of character. A child’s background and their surroundings play an important part in their performance.

Children who come from backgrounds of low income and poverty are even more at a risk to be in situations that can cause them to “have sex at an early age, to be young and unmarried when they form their families, and to experience the dissolution of their own romantic relationships,” said Meier and Musick of Cornell University.

The results of children misbehaving due to a divorce can be unsettling to witness. However, should parents stay together to save their children from going down a path of destruction?

The Cornell University study, suggest the question: Should parents stay together for the sake of their children? After close observation, a failing or poor marriage is just as equivalent as a single parent trying to raise a family on their own. “Although marriage confers benefits to adults on average, those in poor quality marriages are no better off than the single and, indeed, may fare worse on some measures,” said Meier and Musick of Cornell University.

It also explains how children who see their parents argue or see them in a violent manner with each other often questions the safety of themselves but also for their parents conducting the violent acts towards each other.

“We knew as parents that we didn’t want our kids doing anything they might regret or something that could follow them later on in life. So us separating was never an option,” said Mose.

The Influence

Despite that all of the Prescott’s children are adults and have children of their own, their long term successful marriage still has an impact on their family as a whole.

Kristen Wimberly is one of grandchildren that Mose and Rosetta share. She is greatly influenced by her grandparent’s marriage because it gives her a sense of hope that one day she too will find the love of her life and be happy if not happier than her grandparents.

“My grandparent’s marriage is so beautiful, said Kristen.” I really wish that one day I can meet a man that treats me with just as much love, honor and respect as my grandfather does my grandmother. Their marriage gives my so much for the future,” said Kristen Wimberly.

Mose (center) and Rosetta (right) and one of the grandchildren, Kristen (left)

One of the Prescott’s goals was to not only have their own children see what a successful marriage looked like but take those same principles they learned and witnessed as children and apply them to their own marriages.

“One thing I wanted my children to take away from my marriage was that, children see and hear everything. As long as they are setting good values and showing their own children that, then their children will hopefully follow in their footsteps when it is their turn to make that life time commitment,” said Mose. “I wish all of my children nothing but success on their marriages.”

Children who witness divorce between their parents are often times placed in a positon that causes them to act out because they feel that they have lost a piece of them that they can never get back; which is their family.

Dana Crawford, who is a school counselor have seen and dealt with children of divorced parents. “When parents get divorced, most children take the break up very hard. They feel that they have lost their family, which was the main thing keeping that child together,” said Crawford.

Crawford also explained the emotions of a child that comes from a divorced home. “They feel guilty. They often question themselves and they ask how or what could they have done to save their parents’ marriage,” said Dana Crawford” it is so disappointing to see how much havoc a divorce can have on a child”.

Through life lessons, growing a family, and setting goals for their lives Mose and Rosetta are truly meant for each other.

“Marriage is not about saying you have someone just so you can have a title, it is so much more than that,” said Rosetta. “Marriage is about finding one person that is going to stick by your side through thick and thin; for better or for worse; until death do you guys apart. That is what it is all about,” said Rosetta.

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