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Sweetheart life: Couple shares ‘survival’ tips

Phillip and Lucy Pettis prepare for holiday with love.

For nearly 44 years, Phillip and Lucy Pettis have shared their lives with one another. For them, every day is Valentine’s Day.
Lucy said paying attention to each other’s needs and dreams has been a key to their success.
“Every morning when he gets up he shows me attention,” Lucy said of her husband. “He wakes up in a good mood every day and it shows.”
Phillip, who is also pastor at Hanberry Holiness Church, said his ministerial functions have given him an opportunity to learn from others how to be a good husband.
“Over the years, I’ve counseled couples who have had some issues in their marriage,” Phillip said. “Through that counseling, I’ve found the reason for most of their problems. I do my best to avoid the things that put them in that spot.”
Lucy and Phillip agree listening to each other and “talking it out” if there is an issue has helped maintain their marriage.
“The main thing I see that has kept us together is that if we have a spat of some kind we talk it out,” Lucy said. “We say what we need to say, forget about and go on with life. Pouting about it doesn’t help. Get it out and get it over with so you can move on.”
Phillip said others would do well to live by that rule as well.
“I’ve learned that families, not just husbands and wives, need to listen better,” Phillip said. “Sometimes it’s hard to listen, but you can learn a lot when you do. I’ve learned to listen to Lucy and I’m thankful to have her. She has a good head on things I don’t. I listen to what she has to say and I evaluate it and use it.”
Although to those around them, the Pettises seem to be perfect sweethearts, Phillip said things haven’t always been easy.
“Our life together hasn’t always been a bed of roses,” Phillip said. “But, we’ve learned from our problems and have been able to survive it. The key is to overcome things and don’t let it cause you to fail. Learn from your mistakes and problems and use those lessons to become a better husband and a better person.”
The couple not only shows their love for each other, they share that love with others every day.
Sybil Gatewood, director of the East Brewton S.A.I.L. Center where the Pettises attend each weekday, said they are always generous and loving with others who gather at the center.
“They love each other so much and it shows,” Gatewood said. “He is very supportive and attentive to her here and when we take our little field trips. Not only are they loving to each other, they show that same love to the other people who come to the center.
“Lucy has some vision problems and it may limit her sight, but the love she shows others is unlimited.”
The couple shared a few words of wisdom and advice for other married couples and even for those who plan to marry.
“The best way to have a successful marriage from the start is to make sure you love the one you’re going to marry,” Phillip said. “Show your love every day — even when you don’t feel like it. We have been over the road a few times and we know where the holes are. It’s always a good idea to listen to those who have already been where you’re going.”
Lucy said honesty and talking are good rules to follow if a successful marriage is your goal.
“Too many times, people just aren’t ready for marriage,” Lucy said. “When you do take that step, keep in mind to be honest with your spouse. If there is a problem or any kind of issue, talk everything out. Keep everything in the open.”