Danny and Josephine Little have had their share of ups and downs in the 37 years they have been married.
Throughout it all, God has remained faithful.
He helped as they struggled to buy a house and put their four daughters through private school and university. He also provided them with peace and strength after Mrs Little was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
The pair met at a Christian Servicemen’s Centre in the UK four decades ago.
“At that time I was training to be a nurse in the Royal Navy and was impressed by his friendly personality and interesting stories,” said Mrs Little, who grew up in a Christian household.
“We spent a month getting to know each other as friends before we went on our first date and, outside of him being good looking, he had an excellent relationship with God and that impressed me.”
Ironically, Mr Little struggled with his faith for a time. He was saved at the age of 15, but was not yet ready to commit his life wholly to Christ.
“I left the island without finishing high school and just developed a very insular and independent outlook on faith in my teens,” he said.
“That lasted for about five years. It wasn’t a good thing. I was wondering what on earth am I living for.
“I had been in an improper relationship with a girl and when that fell apart I accepted invitations from my brother and sister to go to church, and rededicated my life to God.”
He was not looking for a girlfriend but something gravitated him towards his future wife.
“We wanted to honour God and each other, but also had our own desires,” he said.
“In the end God won. I didn’t want to ruin anything so we remained celibate for three years until we got married. While we were dating we prayed that if this wasn’t God’s plan for us — because we saw ourselves beginning to take deeper interest — that we wouldn’t let it go any further. But he’s guided us faithfully since then.”
In the late 1980s, after ten years of marriage, the Littles signed up for their first seminar by Heart to Heart Ministries’ Allan and Mildred Hunt. They were looking for tools to improve their relationship and wanted to contribute to the dialogue and help other families as well.
“We were doing pretty well in our own marriage, but at the same time we were very distressed at the break-up of relationships generally, and breakdown of family values. We thought we might contribute by showing what God was doing in our marriage.”
One of the biggest lessons they pass on to other couples is that marriage is a commitment and involves some sacrifice. They often share Mr Little’s motto: If this is what it takes, this is what we’ll do.
The couple also believe in rolling with the punches.
When money was low, they found creative ways to keep the romance alive.
Instead of going out on dinner dates, they went for breakfast — a more affordable option. When they could not travel overseas, Mr Little surprised his wife and daughters with a day trip on a cruise ship as it sailed from St George’s into Hamilton.
Spending quality time was always high on their list. The couple made sure to have family dinners and prayer and Bible study together.
To this day, Mr Little admires his wife for her friendship and pretty looks but loves her strength of character most. The Littles shared their story in honour of Heart to Heart Ministries’ International Marriage Week.
For details, visit www.heart2heartbda.org