Pastor Pauline and Bishop Rupert Stephenson would do it again
Pastor Pauline Stephenson will tell anyone who asks that marriage is hard work, and she should know, having spent the last 50 years making a success of hers.
“Marriage is hard work; you have to make up your mind,” Pastor Stephenson told The Gleaner. “There’s no perfect marriage, imperfect people cannot give a perfect marriage, but we have had a great marriage. Over the years, when people ask me how I do it, I tell them that I look at the weaknesses and the parts that I love, and [the good] far outweighs the other things I don’t like. So I learn to sort of live with what I don’t like because I admire so much more of what I see.”
Pastor Pauline and her husband, Bishop Rupert Stephenson, celebrated their golden anniversary on July 10, and to mark this milestone, the couple hosted a vow renewal service at the Church of God Faith Assemblies, Faith Temple, 10 Lincoln Road, Kingston. Family, friends and members of the church family were in attendance. This was followed by a reception at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew.
The couple, who said they had a courtship which lasted for three years, after which they got married, shared that they both came from homes where their parents were married for a long time, and so they witnessed at first-hand the makings of a good relationship. They believe that having God at the centre of their marriage has played a great role in its success, but not only that, their love and commitment to each other was also paramount.
“There is something I love that my husband used to say, Don’t go to bed not feeling good with each other, we must find a way to go to bed peaceful,’” Pastor Stephenson said, emphasising that communication also plays a major role in the relationship.
Bishop Stephenson shared what it was like at the beginning of their journey. Describing the feeling as a “tingling sensation around the heart that cannot be scratched,” he revealed that it was love at first sight for him.
“I found out that she was an ideal person, a rounded woman. She is a woman of God, an ideal mother, not only for our children, but children of the church; she’s just a wonderful person. She believes in doing things the right way, and is orderly in every area of her life,” he said.
The couple shared that over the years, they have had to spice things up for it not to become a drag, whether that meant changing around the furniture or changing the menu or just doing something new. They also spend time together reading, studying, watching sports and keeping fit.
Bishop Stephenson complimented his wife for being “an excellent cook,” while his wife described him as a very loving and lyrical individual whose humour brightens disagreements.
“They have mastered the art of conflict resolution, forgiveness and commitment. I’ve never seen my parents sleep ‘head and tail’, never seen one in the settee and one in the bed in all my years,” Rochelle , the couple’s first child, shared.
Tannecia, their youngest, noted that her parents led by example and because of them, she is naturally a loving person; and she has them to thank for her work ethic and for the person she is today.
Their advice to younger couples is simple, be patient and put God first. “They have to be patient; love each other and be patient. It is not an overnight thing, it takes time and God has to be at the head of it. For anything to work, check God first and it must work because anytime God approves something, it cannot be disapproved.”
The union produced five children, one of whom died a number of years ago, and they also have an adopted child.
Pastor Pauline and Bishop Rupert said that if they had to do it all again, they gladly would.