Thirty Eight Years// The Marriage Chronicles V. 6

Allie Harrington
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This edition of the Marriage Chronicles will take us straight to the heart of Montana, with some of the most wonderful people I know. Courtney and Elaine have been married for an amazing thirty eight (yes, thirty eight!) years. They’ve raised four stellar kids, who are now serving in all four branches of the military. Elaine was raised in military life, and moved all over the world before she was sixteen. Courtney was raised in North Dakota, and he met Elaine at Williams Airfare Base. “Our first encounter was thanks to neighbors who were trying to fix us up! We went to the first Star Wars movie in August of 1977, and we didn’t even like movies”, they laugh.

“We have been married for 38 glorious years, they have been adventurous”, says Elaine, “It’s been full of surprises. Courtney is steady. He’s my anchor, no matter what. I have big ideas, and he processes them, thinks them through, and sees all the angles. If it’s a bad idea, I’m already onto a new one, because I don’t let ideas get stale!” Courtney adds that his wife is profound, dynamic, and creative, saying, “You never know what will happen next, because her wheels are always turning.” The pair raised kids through Courtney’s 26 years of work with US Airways, and Elaine worked long days with their four children, “trying to keep them alive! Farms are a very dangerous place. We were hopping from theater, to sports, and traveling to national parks and Boy Scouts events with the family”. Because of Courtney’s intensive travel schedule in their younger years, they had to work through lots of communication. Elaine explains, “He was re-entering the family on a regular basis, and would lose touch with what was happening at home. We scheduled things on a white board to help stay organized, and gave each other individual priorities!”

“Elaine has taught me to be flexible. I learned that it’s okay to break focus sometimes”, says Courtney, “I’ve learned from her, that adjusting to the situation is for my benefit.” The two say they practice flexibility when on vacation, when they like to get out of their comfort zones. They love road trips together, and have a rule that they have to stop at only ‘mom and pop’ restaurants…no chain dining allowed! Of course, I wanted to know what the secret is to a lasting marriage, and Elaine graciously said, “I’d say to spend more time preparing for the marriage than the wedding… Understand there will be times where it’s really not going to be easy. The thing you were attracted to the most may be the thing that may drive you the most nuts. Commitment and honor is really important to both of us…just leaving wasn’t an option. Understanding that in a marriage helping your partner become their best, is a huge part of it. You have to find completeness in God, because it’s not your spouses job to bring happiness.”

From Virginia, to Wisconson, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Dubai, South Korea and settling on a ranch in gorgeous Montana, Courtney and Elaine’s marriage has been committed through the kids, the transitions, the hardships, the unwanted surprisers and the greatest joys. I sure adore these two and couldn’t be more thankful to know them and to have made so many memories with this duo. Afghanistan, Kenya, Oman, the UAE and beyond. Thank you for sharing your marriage chronicles with all of us.

(Elaine just wrote a book called Be Safe, Love Mom. Go check her out and send any loved ones that may need some love or wisdom when it comes to the life of a spouse in the military at

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