Thanks to Chuck and Judy Sambs for sharing with us in this interview. May we all glean wisdom from their 50 years of marriage and seeking Christ together!
What’s your marriage story?
Our marriage story begins on June 25, 1966, which makes our 50th wedding anniversary this year, 2016. We were married in Wilmot, WI, ( S.W. Wisc.) in the Catholic Church. We met at UW-Stevens Point in our Junior Year. We met on a blind date, although a year book helped me out, and he spotted me on campus. I had transferred to the University that year. We graduated in education, taught one year, and married that summer. After our first year of marriage, Chuck was drafted into the army and that is when our adventure really began. In 1967, the Vietnam War was active, and he could have been sent, but instead the Lord was watching over us (although we didn’t know it at that time) and he was sent to Korea. I joined him in 1968 and taught in the Dept. of Defense School, in Seoul Korea. We traveled all over the orient and had experiences we never would have had if he hadn’t been drafted.
Next step was starting our family. We were now located in Colorado and Brian was already born and Jeff joined us in 1973. At our 10th year wedding anniversary Chuck asked the life changing question: “How do you think our last 10 years of marriage has gone?” After a slight pause I responded: “We have a happy marriage, two healthy boys, a beautiful place to live in the Rocky Mountains, a good job, and living comfortably. BUT there is something missing!” We knew our faith was not active. We started to make an effort to get involved in a bible study at our church and we knew our leader had that active belief by their words and actions. We both came to know the Lord in a real life changing way during that year. We looked and were guided to a church that truly worshiped the Lord in their life and God’s Word took new meaning for us. We always believed in God, but now He really was our very own personal Christ, that died not only just for us, but all those who believed and put their trust in Him. We moved 14 different times in our life – always looking for a bible believing church, people that lived their faith and reached out to others.
In 1981 we returned to MN/WI area because of the need to be closer to our families. We searched for churches that centered on the Bible and continued with our bible studies. We made several moves from La Crescent, MN, Winona, MN, Hudson, WI and our home presently by Roberts, WI. Chuck worked as a school administrator in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin for 32 years while Judy taught in elementary schools, finishing her career at Westside Elementary in River Falls.
After retirement we knew we wanted to have a mission to share Christ and reach out to those that needed help. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans we decided to make a trip to help. We got involved with Habitat for Humanity and now have spent our last 11 years working with this Christian Organization. It has been a rewarding time to help build homes for those families that would never have a home of their own. Our winter months are in warm climates, helping others in need, plus meet new people from all over the country, and renewing old friendships. We also participate in the local Habitat for Humanity when we are at home.
We are both in agreement that we enjoy helping others and we can be Christ’s hands and feet here on Earth. Many couples have commented that they have always been impressed and inspired at how well we work together as a couple on building projects, since often husbands and wives find it hard to work together on the same task. God has given us good health, parents that have been an example for us, rewarding teaching opportunities, friends and family that we can share our love of Christ with now and the days ahead.
A fun/interesting trivia from our wedding day:
We had to be married in a Catholic Church in order for Chuck’s family to attend. I was a Lutheran and conceded to that arrangement. Our church wedding, because of a mixed marriage, was only 7-10 min! It was the fastest service I had ever experienced. Since we had no air conditioning in the church, it was at least 95 degrees at noon and everyone was probably happy and thankful it was a short service!
One memory that sticks out from your years of marriage is…
One memory that sticks out from our years of marriage is our year in Korea. After one year of marriage to be separated for 6 months, but then reunited in a new country was quite an adventure. When we think about the time Chuck was drafted, we thought the world had come to an end, but looking back we realize it was a gift to experience a new part of the world, travel all over the orient, and do it together.
What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you first got married?
It takes work, compromise, and thinking of the other person first, before yourself.
What is one think you would pass along about this time of marriage?
It is important to take time to talk, discuss your days, and don’t let small problems get in the way.
Always remind yourself of the love you had in the beginning that brought you together.
What is one key you found to overcoming conflict or having a loving relationship?
You need to talk and share your thoughts and feelings with each other. Arrange and choose the best time to discuss events or problem areas that need to be resolved. It is vital to have problems resolved quickly and not let them linger on for days. It is important not to make major issues out of minor annoyances. Often two people spending so much time together will do or say things that annoy the other. You have to learn to let it go and focus on the positive traits of the other person that brought you together in the first place.
How do you keep encouraging each other in the faith?
We both know we need to be involved in a bible study with other Christians. Having a devotion time together is very helpful. This time helps reflect on each other, problem areas, family needs, and keeping Christ center in our lives.
We can’t overemphasize the influence of our families and particularly our parents in maintaining a strong marriage. Our parents on both sides were married for over 50 years and divorce was almost nonexistent in both extended families. Our parents always showed love and respect toward each other and faith in God was central to their lives. Neither of us can ever remember our parents raising their voices to one another in front of us. So coming from this heritage, divorce or separation was never an option for us, even though we were fortunate never to be even close to making that choice.