Almost 70 years ago, Edward and Lena Gouin dreamed of getting married in a church. But as a couple of different faiths, they were barred the traditional church wedding they’d hoped for.
Edward was a Catholic and Lena was a Congregationalist, so their plans for an interfaith wedding at Edward’s church were not — at that time — allowed.
Instead, the couple got as close to the church marriage as they could by getting married in the church rectory.
And for the next 70 years, Edward and Lena lived happily together as husband and wife. Throughout their long and happy union, they have been blessed with three children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
“We’ve had numerous illnesses, but he’s doing pretty good,” Lena said. “We have three children who are there for us every day.”
And although they weren’t allowed to have the ceremony they wanted, they still know they have had a wonderful marriage. They also have quite a few tips for maintaining such a strong relationship.
“If we got in an argument, we never went to bed mad,” WWII veteran Edward said. “I don’t go out the door without giving her a kiss.
“One great thing, when we were first married, we promised the priest we would never argue about religion and never did in 70 years. It’s also because of her — she has the best attitude in life.”
Lena said that it doesn’t feel like they’ve been together for so long, but knows she made the right decision. “It’s been good. It’s been fun,” she said. “If I had to make a choice, again, he’d be the one.
“Like any married couple, there are things you have to take and things you might not like all the time, but it all works out in the end.”
But in early 2018, Edward, now 90, and Lena, now 89, finally got the chance to have their dream wedding in Edward’s church.
Their family came together to carefully plan the couple’s vow renewal. The day before the wedding, the Gouins explained how meaningful the day was going to be to them.
“Today, it can happen,” Edward said about their church ceremony. “It’s going to be our wedding. My kids are making it special.”
And finally, when the day arrived, their kids and grandchildren made sure the day was special. Their only daughter walked Lena down the aisle and Edward’s brother and sons served as the best men.
“We’ve had a good life,” Lena said, crediting their children and grandchildren for frequently visiting and helping them at home.
Over their many years of marriage, many have asked the Gouins what their secret is to staying together for 70 years. “I don’t wear my hearing aid,” Lena joked.
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