For the Victoria couple, confidence and character are the keys to a prolonged marriage | Premium
When Elaine Phillips met her future husband for their first date at Peep, a Houston cafe, her daughter arranged the date, and her sister and brother-in-law came over.
Sam Phillips had scheduled a second date later that day in Houston, but when he met Elaine and her family, he changed his plans.
“All of a sudden, around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, he decided that he would call this other person and tell them that he was not going to be able to see them,” recalls Elaine during a recent interview north of the couple. Victoria’s house.
“I won’t admit anything,” Sam, 79, said.
Three decades later, the couple remains happy and married.
For Sam, meeting Elaine’s family on that first date let him know that they both share a set of values.
“We got together with a group of people who were nice to be around,” he said. “I love family – they were all family oriented.”
“Everyone had to approve everyone,” added Elaine, 73.
Today, Sam and Elaine spend much of their time together, whether it’s reuniting with family, volunteering with local veterans organizations, or attending services in the community. ‘Faith Family Church.
But for the first five years of their 29-year marriage, they lived 150 miles from each other.
At the time, Elaine was running her accounting and tax services business at College Station, while Sam lived in Edna and worked as a nuclear engineer at the South Texas Nuclear Project in Bay City, helping to bring the plant online.
After the last of his four weekly 10-hour shifts, he got in the car and drove straight to Elaine’s. Although things have been busy, especially during tax season, Sam said the tours were “like being on vacation every weekend.”
Despite the distance, their families have remained inseparable. In fact, Sam’s mother moved in with Elaine just days after their wedding in May 1993, packing half of her wardrobe and moving to College Station.
“I would dress her up before I went to work and take her to some old people, and she would say, ‘Baby, they take you as a hairdresser because you make me pretty,'” Elaine recalls. “She was a sweetheart.”
“I would say they get along well,” Sam said.
While those years of separation have been difficult at times, Elaine said they helped form the basis of the Phillips’ marriage.
“I thank God for this time,” she said. “Sam made his career. I had mine. We had a family, but it built the trust that is so necessary in a relationship, in a marriage. Understanding, trust, communication, these are the key factors.
While Elaine continues to run her accounting and tax services business, Sam, a Vietnam War veteran, has devoted herself to a number of retired volunteer activities, including the Victoria Chapters of the Disabled. American Veterans, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also works as a Veterans Duty Officer, helping Victoria County veterans obtain the benefits earned during their time in the military.
After watching Sam don his uniform for years, Elaine decided to get involved with the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, as well as other volunteer organizations including the Victoria County Long-Term Recovery Group and the Salvation Army.
These days, the couple can be seen together at community events across Victoria, such as the Veterans Day Parade.
“I saw how he would dress in his uniform,” Elaine said. “It just made me proud to watch him, and it gave him so much joy.”
When the couple first met, the two had previously been married. Elaine, who was raising two children, working twice and attending school at the time, was looking for a husband who solved the problems, while Sam said he was looking for a woman with whom he could “have a partnership”.
After three decades together, a common sense of character has enabled the couple to build a lasting life together, Sam said.
“This spiritual strength and character comes from your beliefs,” he said. “For me, it was something that gave me an easy path to truly love her.”