The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 60
I N A N A G E W H E N M A N Y O F O U R
institutions are in chaos, there appears to be a ray
of light-like the glint of a diamond-in the midst
of it all. Marriage, which has been declared dead
or irrelevant, or both in recent years, is on the rebound. So to speak.
Author Tara Parker-Pope ("For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage") wrote several years ago
that, "... modern marriages are getting more and
more resilient. With each generation, we're getting
a little better about picking mates. A different kind
of marriage is emerging in this century."
In the late 1970s and early1980s, the divorce
rate climbed slightly above 50 percent, giving the
distinct impression that the days of "Leave It to
Beaver" marriages would exist on TV alone in the
future. A quick look now, however, shows that 60
percent of marriages are succeeding and the figure is trending upward. The New York Times has
announced: "If current trends continue, nearly two-
60 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce." The
website findthehome.com recently listed the 18
least-divorced states and Virginia, with its population of 8 million, finished No. 12 at 9.9 percent.
Taking all that into account and looking at the
family orientation of the Roanoke Valley, we went
looking for some good marriages and found a wide
variety of couples enjoying wedded bliss in solid
relationships, not all of them traditional.
STEVE AND BILLIE SUE MUSSELWHITE have known each
other since 8th and 10th grades
when he was 14 and she 12-54
years-and they've been married for 46 of those years.
They live in the large Vinton house Billie Sue grew up
in and are surrounded by their children and grandchildren. The house, laughs Billie Sue, "feels like a motel
sometimes, but we love it."
They actually spent some time away from each other