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LOVE BLOSSOMS: Couple celebrates first Valentine’s Day together

Love and romance are in the air today, and for Mr. and Mrs. Gaylon Stewart of Virgilina it will be their first Valentine’s Day together as man and wife since they were united in marriage last spring.

Marilyn, 56, and Gaylon, 67, both of whom had been married before, first met when they were introduced by a close mutual friend, Linda Satterfield, at an American Legion dance.

The attraction was immediate, Marilyn recalled. “I knew from the first time I met him that he was someone I wanted to get to know better. It was after a few dates that I fell in love with him.”

Attracted to his future bride by her deep abiding faith, Gaylon said, “After we dated a few times, and I found out her deep faith, that’s when I knew she was the right one for me.”

The pair would date for 13 months before getting married at Calvary Baptist Church on April 17 of last year.

“It was a wonderful courtship. We both enjoy a lot of the same things, like church, gospel singing, dancing and fellowship with family friends,” Marilyn said.

The pair fondly recalled one especially favorite date when they along with friends attended a Gaither concert.

Gaylon is quick to say it was “Marilyn’s charm” that attracted him to her, and Marilyn attributes her attraction to her new spouse “because he was such a gentleman and the way he always jokes around.”

But Gaylon was very serious one Sunday after church when he got down on his knees and proposed to his bride-to-be.

“We had lunch at his house, and he had told me how much he loved me and why. Then he said ‘hold on a minute,’” Marilyn recalled. “He went in the other room, got the ring and came back and got on his knees and proposed.”

The couple was married in a small wedding with the Rev. Norman Talley performing the ceremony that was attended by immediate family and a few very close friends.

“After the wedding we had a pig picking that included a lot more of our family and friends. It was a beautiful day,” Marilyn said of the Stewart’s spring wedding day.

The pair treasure each other, and say they realize what they have found with each other is very special.

“I think we have a very special marriage because we are both willing to listen to each other and try to do things that each other likes,” she said.

And they both enjoy doing nice things for other people and helping out whenever they find an opportunity.

“Gaylon always tells me how much he loves and appreciates me and tells me why. That means a lot to me,” she added.

Gaylon finds Marilyn’s consideration of his feelings as one of her best qualities.

“She always tries to please, and not only me, but my family and my extended family,” he added.

When the pair became one, their two families also joined together in the union.

“They love her,” Gaylon said when asked how his children responded to his marriage to Marilyn.

“They love him,” Marilyn echoed, telling of her children’s reaction to her choice in spouse.

The Stewarts’ extended family includes children Jeff Stewart, Tammy Saunders, Shawn Stewart, Michael Wilson and Matthew Wilson.

Grandchildren include Phillip Saunders Jr., Jacob Saunders, Hannah Saunders, Abbie Saunders, Brooke Stewart, Eric Stewart, Aiden Stewart, Riley Stewart, Caleb Stewart, Dawson Bottoms, Ann Bottoms and Sophie Wilson.

Marilyn explained that combining two families also involved decisions about what to do with their houses because both she and Gaylon had homes prior to their marriage.

“We both kept our homes. We are living in Gaylon’s house, and my son and his family live in mine right now until they can get a home of their own.”

The couple offers advice for others who may be entering into a second marriage later in life.

“Put God first, each other second and both should be willing to give 51 percent,” Marilyn said. Both agreed marriage is something that must be worked at every day.

On this special Valentine’s Day, Marilyn said she has to work, but Gaylon has the day off.

“I’m sure he will have a nice dinner ready for me when I get home because Monday is his day to cook since it’s his day off. Then he says he has a quiet, romantic evening planned,” Marilyn said, adding, “We will see.”