By David Sedeño
The Texas Catholic Staff
How to build a great marriage?
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, not in the Aretha Franklin sense, Lowell and Connie Allen say, rather in the true meaning of the word as God intended.
The Allens, members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson, have been married 50 years and celebrated with the other couples at the Silver and Gold Mass on Aug. 26 at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
“The question of what makes marriage last keeps coming back to respect,” Lowell Allen said. “You have to respect the other person; you may not always agree with them, but you have to remember that you married them for a reason to begin with and that you did believe in the things they believed in and respected what their thoughts and feelings were. That really makes a difference.”
His wife, quickly added: “One thing I have learned along this journey is that God gave him to me and that I should respect what he has to say.”
For the Allens, both now 73, respect started long before they were married. His aunt set them up on a blind date and that was it.
“After we met we didn’t date anyone else,” Connie Allen said. “We felt comfortable with each other. We didn’t have to put on any airs about who to impress. We just liked each other.”
Lowell Allen was not Catholic but after they were married he went to church every Sunday with the young woman who grew up in Christ the King parish and they later were parishioners at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Garland.
“We went to church every Sunday and then the children started coming and he would take them to the back of the church if they started crying and I would stay with the other ones in the pew and we ended up with seven,” she said.
Lowell Allen, now a retired systems analyst, said he was raised Methodist, but “when I married a Catholic girl I knew I would be going to a Catholic Church a lot.” He later enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program.
The Allens said all their children were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church, and now they keep up with the next generation of 13 grandchildren, but they still make time for each other. At the Silver and Gold Mass, they were constantly holding hands and smiling at each other.
“It doesn’t feel like 50 years because we’ve always been comfortable with each other and wanting to please each other all the time so it really wasn’t work at all,” she said.
And as far as advice for other married couples, Connie Allen says that it may be a cliché, but never go to bed angry with your spouse.
“You won’t get good sleep if you do.”