For Jim and Rosalyn Huddleston, February 14 isn’t just Valentine’s Day. More than six decades ago, it was also their wedding day. They married on February 14, 1956, and this year will celebrate 62 years of marriage alongside friends and family at Parkway Place in Houston.
The couple’s trip to the altar was anything but ordinary. They grew up together in east Houston—just down the street from each other. They officially met during a group date, then went on a double date and finally went on their own first real date. They immediately knew they were in love.
Rosalyn’s mother, however, didn’t approve. She wanted to send Rosalyn off to an all-girls school about a year into the relationship. The couple decided the only way for them to stay together was to get married. Since Jim was 20 and Rosalyn was 17, they needed her mother’s permission to get married in Houston. They knew that wasn’t going to happen, however, so they drove to Crowley, La., and eloped.
Now, the couple is more in love than ever.
“We wanted to be together and knew we were the ones for each other,” said Jim. “It was the best decision we could have made. Our bond grew, and we learned more about one another.”
Family tensions were still strong when the couple returned and didn’t get better until the birth of their first child five years later. Rosalyn’s mother even called the police! But when she realized the couple was really in love and wasn’t going anywhere, she and the family gave their full support.
“Look at us now, 62 years together and these have been the best years of my life,” Jim added. “We made it through the hardest times in our lives with just each other. There is nothing that can come between us. The good times and bad times have made us into the strong couple we are today.”
The couple spent most of their married life in Alvin, Texas, southeast of Houston, with a short stint in Beaumont, Texas. Jim worked in the oil and gas field while Rosalyn was a nurse. They raised three kids and have three grandchildren and one great grandchild.
After Jim retired in 1993, the couple never actually quit working. They started mission trips and went to work for the National Park Services. Later they served as missionaries in Papua New Guinea for two years where they helped with Bible translation. While volunteering overseas they spent time on a ship and worked in Granada.
“Everything Jim and I accomplished was together and with the Lord’s help, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else by my side,” Rosalyn said. “This is a special anniversary because we are in a new city and new home at Parkway Place. I am thankful for our love. Love isn’t always easy, but when you have the right person in your life it sure does make it fun. Without Jim, my life wouldn’t be complete.”
“Jim and Rosalyn are godly people, and their love story is truly inspiring,” said Susan Phelps, executive director at Parkway Place. “Through all the ups and downs they stuck together as a couple. You don’t see that as much today. It’s a beautiful story, and it’s one people can learn from. We are thankful they call Parkway Place home.”