George and Edith Crittenden took a deep look into each other’s eyes, locked hands, and smiled.
After a 72-year marriage, love is all the Crittendens know.
George and Edith were the winners of the Fort Worth Report’s February photo contest, “Love is in the Air.”
In an interview with the Report, George and Edith reflected on their lives together, the love they have for each other, and the lives their love has touched along the way.
“It’s been a long – and fulfilling – life,” George, 98, said.
Love at first sight
The couple’s life together began in 1949, when George and Edith both studied at Bible Baptist Seminary, now Arlington Baptist University.
Edith, at the time working at Hotel Texas, now Hilton Fort Worth, needed a chaperone back to campus once her shift ended.
Edith tried calling her good friend, but George was the one who answered.
“So I went and got her,” George said, looking and smiling at Edith.
From there, it was love at first sight, and the two hardly left each other’s side.
Spreading their faith together
After graduating from Bible Baptist Seminary, George and Edith began their careers in ministry, spreading their faith throughout Texas.
They started in Amarillo, where George and Edith increased a church’s parishioner base by 100 people. From there, they went to Wichita Falls where the couple helped a preacher build a church and a community out of a tent.
George preached whenever he got the chance. One day in Roanoke, he preached in front of members of Fort Worth’s Temple Baptist Church.
When he finished at the pulpit, George was offered the role of Temple Baptist Church’s pastor. He accepted. He preached at Temple Baptist for 35 years.
‘The people are like family’
Edith wholeheartedly believes the Fort Worth community has played a role in the Crittendens’ long and happy marriage, she said.
“The people are like family. They’re close to each other, they still maintain their friendships with us, look after us and bless us,” Edith said.
Living in Fort Worth since the early 1950s, the Crittendens have experienced a tremendous amount of change and growth. Generations have passed them by. The city’s landscape has changed drastically. But their connections with families and the blessings that come from them have yet to end.
“Everyday people tell us they’re praying for us, and are sending blessings our way,” Edith said. “It sure has touched us.”
‘What are we doing?’
George retired from preaching at Temple Baptist Church in 1986. For 10 years after, the Crittendens enjoyed retirement. They traveled across the country, and to Costa Rica and Brazil.
“We were just havin’ fun, and doin’ our stuff,” Edith said. “Then all of a sudden we said, ‘What are we doing? We’re not really doing much ministry.’”
So the Crittendens became involved with the Salvation Army. They started visiting local nursing homes and reaching out to those who may be lonely, or even forgotten.
For 25 years, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, George and Edith routinely visited residents in 24 different nursing homes throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth region. In December 2019, the Crittendens handed out 4,000 unopened gifts to nursing home residents.
Their service has led them to awards from The Salvation Army and the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve had dinner with Cowboys’ Hall of Fame member Drew Pearson, and have had the opportunity to sit in the owners’ box at the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field.
“It’s been a great life, a rich life,” Edith said. “We’re not rich in worldly goods, money and things, but memories, and blessings to people. It’s just great to have that in your heart.”
‘Live for others … and for each other’
What’s the secret to a happy, 72-year marriage?
“We live for others instead of ourselves, and we live for each other,” George said.
Even a marriage spanning more than seven decades has challenges. But the Crittendens found a way to tackle them — together.
“When you’re in love with someone it’s easy to overlook whatever problem they may have and keep going,” George said.
“The Lord just takes care of that — you gotta go through some storms but you come out on the other side OK.”
Matthew Sgroi is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.