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Making a commitment

Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny Leesburg residents Wayne and Carolyn Reynolds celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Feb. 21. They talk about their life together in their living room Feb. 18. A commitment to each other and to God has kept them together all these years, they say.
One wouldn't call Leesburg residents Wayne and Carolyn Reynolds a defiant couple.

They've devoted themselves to each other and God and stood by each other through the good and tragedy.

But on Feb. 21, they defined the odds, celebrating 60 years of marriage.

The odds of couples staying committed to the "till death do us part" vow is low. In 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 46 percent of marriages in the United States ended in divorce.

But Wayne and Carolyn Reynolds decided at a young age they were going to stay together.

"From my viewpoint it's commitment. One that we have honored over the 60 years," Wayne Reynolds said.

"And having God in our lives," Carolyn Reynolds said.

The couple, both Pennsylvania natives, met in ninth grade at a school in the Philadelphia area. Carolyn Reynolds had transferred to her future husband's school.

"The teacher put her right behind me [in the classroom] when she checked in," Wayne Reynolds said.

The couple dated off and on through high school in their later years. They wed at age 19 after high school while Wayne Reynolds, an eight-year U.S. Navy veteran, was on leave.

"That was his first leave. He didn't come home until the night before we were married," Carolyn Reynolds said.

When asked what attracted the couple to each other, Carolyn Reynolds, sitting close to her husband on their couch, just laughed.

"Goodness to heaven, I don't know," she said, while somewhat blushing. "… He was kind of cute."
"Yeah, she was kind of good looking," her husband chimed in.

The couple has two children – a son who lives in Florida and a daughter in upstate New York. A third child died at age 23 in an automobile accident. They have two grandchildren who they adore.

The couple landed in Loudoun County in 1963, when Wayne Reynolds took a transfer to the new Federal Aviation Administration building in Leesburg from Norfolk.

"There was nothing in Leesburg went we got here," Wayne Reynolds said.

Wayne Reynolds retired from the FAA in 1986 and went back as a contractor with the administration until 2000, when he finally called it quits.

He's active in the Leesburg United Methodist Church as a certified minister and an on-call chaplain at the hospital.

"I stay busy. Sometimes you wonder, how did I ever have time to go to work?" he said.

Carolyn Reynolds worked on and off throughout the years taking care of her children, neighborhood children and teaching part-time.

The couple shakes their heads in disbelief at today's divorce rate. No matter what the circumstance, the two have always found a way to work out their problems.

"Make a commitment and keep the commitment. I guess at the first sign of trouble, if you can't work it out among yourselves seek professional counseling. There's always answers to conflict. It's too easy today to walk into an attorney and get a divorce," Wayne Reynolds said.

The husband said he believes the divorce rate today is so high because it's an easy fix.

"It's too easy to walk away from a marriage and get a divorce …" Wayne Reynolds said.

"… And not work out your problems," Carolyn Reynolds said, finishing her husband's sentence.

Acceptance of each other's flaws is a big part of commitment, the couple said.

"Maybe they should have counseling before marriage to see what their likes and dislikes are before they get matched up. Opposites attract and the problem comes in when one wants the other to change to their ways. Rather than except each other for who you are, just deal with that and except the other person," Wayne Reynolds said.

It's not that the couple has never fought, they said, but they always find a way to work it out.

"Communicate with each other. Don't interrupt the other person while they're talking. Don't try to put words in their mouth," Wayne Reynolds said.
"That's not always easy," Carolyn Reynolds joked.

And Wayne Reynolds also offered up some advice that most couples who are experiencing marital problems don't like to hear.

"I guess the biggest thing is when you're wrong admit that you're wrong," he said. "Hard to do, because everybody wants to be right."

A lesson recently learned or one you've perfected over the years?

"We still haven't perfectly," Carolyn Reynolds joked.

"There's no magic bullet that's easy to follow. It takes that commitment to work through it," Wayne Reynolds said.
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