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The “Key” to a Lasting Marriage


Across the table from me sat two snow-color-haired individuals. The woman, Vicki, barely a wrinkle on her face, has an effortless smile. The man, Ben, has a more serious and inquisitive demeanor, not bothering to give the slightest hint as to what expressions his face may have the ability to create yet. However, they both share the same blue jay blue eyes that still seemed to enchant one another. The Kikers told the story of 51 years of marriage and the interestingly specific key to a lasting one. 

Ben began by saying, “I am going to tell you something and I want you to write this down too. Love is not enough to keep a marriage together.”

As Ben sat back in his chair, crossing one leg over the other and Vicki nuzzled up next to him, her hands perched on his arm, he began to tell the story of how they met. One afternoon Ben and a few of his buddies decided to drive down to Pickens for a basketball game. While his buddies were watching the game, Ben was eyeing the cheerleaders. “Pickens had very pretty cheerleaders,” he said with his first smile of the afternoon that seemed to break the ice. He went on to say, “As I made my way down the line of pretty girls, I spotted one particular girl on the end, grabbed my buddy, and said I am going to get to know her,” he continued. He ended up getting Vicki’s number from a friend, calling to ask her out and the rest is history, well kind of.

They were very young when they met, Ben was 17, and Vicki, 15. He was the quarterback for Gilmer and she was a cheerleader for Pickens, rivalries by nature. Ben said that it was not unusual to expect a fight when he was going down to pick her up for a date. However, even with that being a factor, age was their biggest enemy. 

They dated on and off while going to separate high schools and colleges, until Ben graduated and Vicki still had a year or two left of college. Ben already having a hold on his career, decided he was ready to take the next step with Vicki and he asked her to marry him. Unfortunately for Ben, Vicki was too nervous because she felt she was still so young and declined his offer. Ben then decided it was time to close that chapter of his life and move on. 

A few months had passed since the breakup when Vicki received a phone call from one of Ben’s friends. The friend asked if she still wanted to be with Ben and she responded with, “Well yes I do.” So he invited her to meet with them and she ended up proposing to him on Christmas Eve after six years of dating on and off.

51 years later, they agreed to love each other now more than ever and neither of them would trade the other for another. However, their marriage was not without difficulty. They both said without the key to their marriage, the marriage itself would not have made it. The Kikers’ had very different schedules and they stayed that way for 48 years. Vicki was a teacher and would leave around 7 a.m. and return home around 3 or 4 p.m. Ben taught boxing, karate and other forms of fighting in Jasper, Georgia. He would leave a few hours after Vicki and not return until 11 p.m. most nights. So, the relationship required a great deal of trust. Ben said he trusted that Vicki was a child of God and he was not going to get in the way of that, therefore he trusted his wife. Vicki added that Ben was always where he said he was going to be so she felt she could trust him. 

Finally, “the key,” Ben said with another smile, “The Key to a lasting marriage is that the man must be the spiritual leader.” Ben went on to say that they had had over 50 married couples come to them for help with issues in their marriages and this is the one thing he always noticed, that the man was not the spiritual leader. 

Vicki added, “You must marry a believer.” She went on to tell how their daughter Carrie and a friend came over for dinner one night. A few hours after they left, Vicki received a call, the two had been in a car crash; both had died. Vicki says, if it were not for God being at the center of their marriage, the marriage would not have made it. She said, “in marriage, you have to remember the two become one.” She added, “Marriage is like a triangle, you and your spouse on each side of the bottom and God on top, the closer you two move towards God (the top), the closer you two get and become what you are supposed to be, one.”  


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The “Key” to a Lasting Marriage