Lasting marriages are quite an accomplishment for any age.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, and divorce rates among Oklahomans are among the highest.
Two Edmond couples are among those thankful that their marriages have endured half a century.
Dave and Carol Wright married June 14, 1968. Their friends Buddy and Cynthia Huffmyer married Aug. 30, 1968.
High school sweethearts, Buddy and Cynthia met during summer school in Tulsa when she was 14 and Buddy was 16. Buddy knew he was in love with Cynthia only three months after he met her, he said.
“We were pretty crazy about each other,” Cynthia said.
They dated through high school and college, but broke-up twice on purpose so they could experience dating other people.
“She was the only one that dated,” Buddy said, causing Cynthia to laugh.
Cynthia proposed to Buddy when he graduated from Oklahoma State University. She knew he was bound for medical school in Cleveland, Ohio.
Her words were, “You know you can’t make it without me,” she said.
They married at Trinity Methodist Church in Tulsa and left town on the night of their wedding.
“We waited until the last minute,” Cynthia said. “We actually had no money. We headed out to Cleveland — a great adventure.”
Both the Huffmyers and the Wrights were dedicated to follow Christ’s teachings throughout their marriage.
Cynthia has focused on her personal ministry of teaching non-denominational Bible studies and helping with women’s retreats and conferences during their marriage. She does prison ministry as well at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. Buddy has enjoyed a long career as a podiatrist. The Huffmyers worship at Life.Church and raised two sons in Edmond after settling here in 1976.
“We’ve made it a priority to have a good, healthy marriage,” Cynthia said. “It didn’t happen accidentally. It was on purpose.”
A wonderful marriage means giving a lot through the years, she said. Buddy is the most unselfish person that Cynthia has ever met, she said.
They met Dave and Carol at then-Metro Church (Life.Church) about 40 years ago.
Cynthia had never seen a happy marriage while growing up, she said. Buddy would joke to her that he had no place to go but up.
“My goal was to find out what God said about marriage and how you achieve happiness in this life,” Cynthia said. “That’s what really began my study and pursuit of God’s word.
“I wanted to know how to live, and how to be a wife and how to be a mother.”
The Wrights were sophomores at Oklahoma State University when they first met. Dave recalled seeing Carol walking to the library.
“I thought ‘she sure is a cute little gal. She must have been a cheerleader,’” Dave said.
Within 24 hours, Dave saw Carol’s picture in the college newspaper. He had a cousin who was also in a sorority. In 1966, Dave asked her if she would introduce them for a date.
“When I first fell in love with her was when we were driving around the outer limits of Stillwater one evening,” Dave said. “Somehow we had to stop. The car stopped. I don’t know why.
“It was cold so we had to snuggle up. I leaned forward to kiss her. And when I kissed her I knew I was in love,” he said, surprising Carol. She laughed saying he had never told her that. Dave said he and Carol had a long telephone conversation that night and “hit it off.”
Carol said she dated a lot during her college and high school years, although after a few months of knowing Dave she knew he was her forever love.
Dave was also going to to many parties that year, he recalled. So he transferred to Oklahoma City University during the second semester of his sophomore year.
“I didn’t finish at OCU but I straightened up,” Dave said.
Carol was 21 and Dave was two months shy of her age when they married at First Christian Church in Oklahoma City. They would adopt two sons.
Dave and his brother, Tom, devoted themselves to a family business, the Canadian Valley Meat Company. In 1989 they merged with another meat company in Ada. He and his brother did not see eye-to-eye with their new business partners and sold their share of the company two years later. Dave and Tom began a snack food business for convenience stores.
His brother had retired before Dave was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015. Dave retired as his struggle with cancer changed his life. Faith in God helped to sustain him, he said. God’s love shined through Carol, who helped him transcend those precarious days, weeks and months following his diagnosis.
Dave quoted scripture from Genesis 2:18: “The Lord God said it is not good for a man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Their wedding vows called upon them to take each other in sickness and in health, he said.
“She was right there by my side for over a year while I was going through chemo,” Dave explained. “I never would have made it without her.”
Carol added they have always depended on their Christian faith to guide them.
“When you have the same beliefs as someone else, it’s so comforting and reassuring. And it’s just a great life going along the same path and not rub sandpaper against each other,” Carol said.
Dave’s sense of humor keeps her laughing all the time, Carol continued.
“You’ve got to laugh because life throws a lot of things at you,” she said. “And we’ve been through a lot. But he’s a good provider, and full of wisdom and common sense. That’s very comforting, too.”