Six Decades of Marriage Calls for a Sense of Humor

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, Love, Marriage, National Marriage Week

By Michelle Powers

Even though the laughs roll now, Bill and Marie Kelly’s relationship started slow

“We had an arranged first date,” Mary explained. “And I don’t think Bill wanted to come because I didn’t hear from him again till four months later.”

“That’s right,” said Bill. “I didn’t call her.”

When Bill finally got around to it, he called her back with an invitation to a dance. 

“I needed a date,” he said. 

“I was what you call ‘arm candy,’” Marie explained. 

Bill wasn’t so bad looking himself. That’s why Marie said she kept giving him a chance.

“If anyone knows the Irish Dennis Morgan, that’s who my Bill looked like,” she said. 

But  she wouldn’t see him again after that for another month. 

Only after that time, the rest was history. Within a year they were married on September 10, 1955. The very next day, they left on their honeymoon.

Both the newly married Kellys loved a good party, and their wedding was one, perhaps a little too good of one. 

“I was mad at him, it was our first argument,” Marie remembered. “We found out the party continued after we left, so as we were driving, Bill was upset that we left too early. Ee wanted to be there and not going on our honeymoon.” 

Since then, they’ve hosted hundreds of parties, surrounded by the huge family they created.

They spend their time surrounded by seven children, 25 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren

“Each time the house got smaller and smaller, but the parties got better and better,” said Marie. 

But, they were always missing something.

The laughs in the Kelly household quieted early in their marriage.

“The most trying times were when we lost two children,” said Marie.  

Though Bill and Marie stopped speaking to each other, they refused to give up on their marriage.

“It was just how we were raised, we needed to work through it, and we had a good base,” explained Bill. 

That base was their faith. 

They committed themselves to work on their marriage because they made a promise to each other and to God.

“We would never have gotten through without our faith,” said Marie. 

Marie later gave birth to six more children, but she and Bill still made time to help counsel other young couples in pre cana classes.

They always say the secret to marriage is communication and something else:

“You need to have a sense of humor,” said Marie, “because now we look back at all the times we were mad, and we laugh.”