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The couple shares their insights on marriage—the importance of compatibility, creating boundaries, and how to handle finances

Thirty-two years ago, Shaun and Millicent said, “I do.” Their commitment to honor God and their vows to each other kept them through all the seasons of their lives. Now, you can take one look at them and know they are still in love. It’s like they lived out the words of their wedding song by Crystal Gayle, “A long and lasting love.”

In 1984, Millicent moved from her rural home in St. Catherine, Jamaica, to attend university in St. Andrew. As a new Christian, she wanted to find a church home. One Friday night, she went to a Youth Fellowship meeting at Meadowbrook United Church and had a grand time. The following Sunday, she attended their church service, and encountered Shaun Battick. At the time, Shaun was a Bible study leader at the church’s Youth Fellowship. Every Friday, Shaun would be in the group of men that walked the ladies home, Millicent included. They did not know that these walks would be a pathway to their eventual relationship two years later. In 1989, their relationship was cemented in marriage.

VBD Magazine is honored to share some of the insights Shaun and Millicent gained about marriage. How do they keep their love alive? Let’s find out.

VBD: What does it mean to be a good spouse?

MILLICENT: Being a good spouse means you’re always there for your spouse. I cannot think of a time when he has not been there. I feel comfortable every day knowing that I’m coming home to my husband.

SHAUN: A good spouse allows the other person to be themselves –you can do what you do and not be criticized for it. In any relationship, you’re going to do things together because you love doing the same things. But you might not share all the same interests. A good spouse allows you to be happy in your own space. You can do things together but there’s the freedom to do things apart.

VBD: Do you think compatibility is important in a marriage?

MILLICENT: My philosophy is that it’s important that you get involved with someone you can laugh with and be yourself with. If you can’t live with certain things about your partner, do not get married because you will have to deal with this for the rest of your life.

SHAUN: If you really love someone, you’ll be surprised to see how far that love can look beyond faults and things that irritate you. Over the years, we’ve argued about a number of things. But when we put our struggles against time, all the things we argued about are transient. So love is key.

VBD: Do you create boundaries to protect your marriage?

MILLICENT: By virtue of being who I am, I carry myself in such a way where persons do not have the freedom to come into my space and entertain certain conversations. I have always been this way from a young age, and even more so in my marriage.

SHAUN: In a relationship, you’ll have to be disciplined. Boundaries are important and you need to always have them. You have to make that decision every day – you’re not going to have certain kinds of conversations because they lead to other things. Every married couple has to decide that their commitment to each other is more important than the circumstances in front of them.

VBD: What's your advice to couples about how to handle finances in marriage?

MILLICENT & SHAUN: It is always good to put your money together and it becomes our money. We established this from the beginning that we would not have separate accounts, and from there we try to make it work as best as possible. At the same time, there must also be a freedom for the other person to spend their money. So set a budget and talk to your spouse about financial matters.

VBD: How important is faith in your marriage?

SHAUN: Having a relationship with God is very important because it is a source of stability, peace, and security for us. Whatever we’re going through, He’s taking us through and He’s with us. His presence is important in taking us through the good periods but mostly the difficult times.

MILLICENT: I’m grateful to my mother for introducing me to the Lord. When I think back to the day I got saved, and how God has kept me over the years, I am at rest and peace. The Eternal God is my refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms and I can literally feel His arms keeping me. I have peace because of my relationship with the Lord, and from there, He settles my home life and my life in general.

VBD: What is the secret to making marriage work?

MILLICENT: My answer is based on what I believe it means for a marriage to work. For me, when you live together all your life and you’re just cohabiting, but you do not relate or like each other, your marriage is not working. Shaun and I said that we never wanted to live like that.

Too many people give all their time to their children when they come along, especially mothers, and they do not take the time to deliberately maintain their marriage. For marriage to work, you have to be maintaining your marriage daily. You have to make this as a deep commitment – so you better choose right from the start. But at the end of the day, it is your faith and your relationship with God that enables you to do all these things and to make the daily commitment to keep your marriage going.

SHAUN: I would use the analogy of a car wherein you have to maintain a car. Otherwise, one day it will leave you on the road. Some people can maintain their car so well that even after 5 years, if they want to sell it, it would be like a brand-new car. You need to have this same kind of deliberateness with your marriage to keep it new and in tip-top shape. So when the difficulties come, the car won’t leave you stranded, likewise your marriage isn’t going to leave you stranded. You have to want it and you have to maintain it.



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