By Callie Metler-Smith
Valentine’s Day can mean many things to many people. For some it is a chance to acknowledge their significant other, much like an anniversary. For others it is a reminder of the lack of love or as some jokingly call it, “National Single’s Awareness Day.” For our three spotlighted couples love is a deep-rooted ingredient of their marriage, along with the strong faith in God that they share.
Becky and Leland Nauert have been married since July 19th, 1952. Their sixty-year long marriage has produced 4 children, Vicki, Sammy, Lynn, and Tony, and 14 grandchildren. They grew up together dating for a while in high school and remaining friends after they both graduated from Stamford High School and moved to Seguin to attend Texas Lutheran College. They continued their friendship there, dating other people until their senior year when they realized their friendship had turned romantic, and they started dating one another. They became engaged on December 9, 1951 and were married that following July. They honeymooned in Big Bend.
They began married life in Stamford and also lived in Seguin before Leland was called into the Army. They were stationed at Fort Hood and San Antonio. Upon his discharge, they moved back to Stamford, and Leland took a job teaching Biology. Becky was a full time mom, later worked at Big Country Electric, and did substitute teaching until the couple opened Four Star Feed in the 1980s.
Becky says the key to their marriage is the influence of God and the fact that they have lots of patience with each other. She says for them love wasn’t determined in a moment but it was something built on friendship that has grown and deepened in their time together. She also says that looking back over the years, there were so many wonderful memories, such as the party that their family had for them at Brownwood Lake on their fiftieth anniversary or the many trips they have taken to Germany. To them, their love is remembered in the "just-because" moments, not really marked with anniversaries. She also considers them lucky to have their family so close and that one of their great family traditions is Sunday dinners.
Their son, Tony, says his parents provided an excellent model for his marriage with his wife, Teresa. He jokes about the first time they met saying, "I saw this pretty brunette from across the parking lot of the grocery store I worked at in college. Her name was Debbie." Teresa laughs and says, "Hey wait, that was my sister." Anyone that has met Tony and Teresa can tell that they love each other. Their love spanning almost 30 years is one of a mutual love and respect and, of course, as Tony is quick to point out one that has been focused on God.
The two met when Tony left Stamford where he grew up and moved to Sweetwater to attend Texas State Technical College. He took a job at a grocery store there and was introduced to the 17-year-old daughter of one of the managers. He said things just clicked and over the next two years that love grew and deepened. The two married and made their home in Avoca where they spent the first nine years of their marriage. Their first two sons, Tyler and Tannon, were born there, with Trey coming along shortly after they moved into Stamford.
When asked if they had any great traditions, he says that for their 10-year anniversary, they mowed the cemetery at the Ericksdahl church. Teresa said she remembers thinking she hoped that wouldn't be a tradition that stuck.
Tony surprised her for their 25th anniversary and planned a big party with their friends and family at the Perini Ranch with a cake and a preacher to renew their vows. They then went on a journey to retrace their honeymoon trip.
Teresa says a big deal for them is to never go to bed angry, but to address the issues and deal with them as they come. Tony says that he really can’t imagine not having Teresa beside him daily.
Continuing the tradition of marriages built on love and God is Tony and Teresa's son, Tyler, and his wife Stephanie. They have been married for two and half years. Tyler and Stephanie met through FFA in high school while Tyler was a senior at Stamford and Stephanie was a junior at Haskell. They became friends, but it wasn’t until Stephanie was invited on a weekend with one of her friends at Possum Kingdom, that Tyler was also attending, that things really started to click for them. They became better friends through that weekend and started dating a few weeks later after both of them began attending Texas Tech. They had been dating for a while with the knowledge that they would probably eventually get married when Stephanie was accepted into physician's assistant school at the Medical School in Galveston. This was a factor the two had not considered, and so they were faced with a choice. Tyler went ring shopping and proposed to Stephanie at South Padre Island during spring break before they both graduated with their bachelor's degree from Texas Tech. They got married that June and moved to Galveston where Tyler found a job.
After living there a year, Stephanie started clinicals and since she would spend much of this time on the road, Tyler moved back to Stamford and started to work with his dad at Four Star Agricenter. This marked a difficult part of their marriage where Stephanie says she came to dread Sundays because that meant she had to drive back to wherever she was doing clinical. This past October she was done with PA school and was able to moving permanently to Stamford with Tyler, and she is currently working for a neurology surgery group in Abilene.
They are both excited for the future of their marriage and the deepening of the already strong bond that they share. Stephanie expressed that when you know it is right…it is right. They also express how their parents and grandparents helped set the tone for their own marriage.
The love that the Nauerts have has influenced not just their own marriages, but can be seen emulated in their children and their family. It is surely a tradition that will be continued for generations to come. Happy Valentine’s Day from the Stamford American!