The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 61
MARRIAGES |'TIL DEATH DO US PART
while getting educated, he at Marshall University, she
at Radford College, and their relationship was "on and
off" during that period, she says. In Steve's senior year,
with him having joined the Army reserves, "I decided
she was the one I wanted. We had dated lots of people,"
but it came down to the two of them.
They are philosophical about their many years together. "I don't want to sit here and say the 46 years
[of marriage] have been perfect," says Steve. "We've
made mistakes, had our priorities misplaced, but we
learned to share God together. We started doing devotions 16-17 years ago" and that has evolved into a
prison ministry they share.
Through the years Billie Sue "focused on family and
I focused on work," says Steve, who is a partner in MT
Holdings and president of Musselwhite Associates, real
estate and insurance. She manages the office at Musselwhite Associates, a role she fell into. Together they
have worked closely with the Miss Virginia Pageant
for 40 years.
"She's my best friend," says Steve. "I'd rather spend
time with her than with anybody else."
Billie Sue talks of the importance of "spending time
together," still dating: "If we were not still holding
hands, we'd be in trouble." She insists they've "learned
from the rough times and grown as a couple. If it were
not for the rough times, we wouldn't have the marriage
we have today."
vital and "avoid ridiculous criticism when it's not warranted. We're not 20."
"We've learned what is important and what is precious," says Amanda. We recognize that what we have
is truly special."
"We enjoy being with each other," says Michael.
"We'd rather go out and experience together, discuss
what we saw, listen to each other."
Amanda says she is organized and goal-oriented while
Michael is spontaneous and disorganized, but they work
together creating a positive from the differences. "We're
not in competition," says Michael. Their time together,
says Amanda, has been less than a decade, "but it feels
a lifetime longer."
MICHAEL AND AMANDA
MANSFIELD met, appropri-
ately, because of their love of
theater. He is a high-tech guy at
Lee Hartman and she is in donor relations at Virginia
Western Community College, but each has a powerful
local reputation in live theater. They met while performing in "Flyboy," a Centerpieces lunchtime play at Mill
Mountain Theatre and nine years ago were married. She
has two daughters and he has one, so they had to combine their families.
This was a marriage of mature, settled people (he
is 58, she's 53) and they knew immediately that the
children were equal partners. "If they said 'no,'" says
Michael, "then it could not continue." The "yes" was
unanimous and enthusiastic. "The girls were involved
in the proposal on the Blue Ridge Parkway," says Michael. "We told Amanda we were going to the opera."
And an opera it was.
Michael insists that a good marriage "deserves the
best of you" and to that end "we work together in all
we do." He talks of respect, caring and "avoiding pitfalls. There are things you can say that can damage [the
relationship] forever." Being supportive and helpful are
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 | 61