Couples celebrate lifelong love, renew wedding vows

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – People find many ways to celebrate Valentine's Day.  Close to 20 couples decided the perfect way to say 'I love you' was to reaffirm their wedding vows.  Safe Harbor Methodist Church hosted the nuptials, and a wedding reception immediately following.

"I love him, he better love me too," Ruth Bellknap said joyfully about her husband, W.C.

"I do," W.C. added happily.

The Bellknaps were married 34 years ago in Grand Bay, Alabama. This Valentine's Day they joined other couples at Safe Harbor Methodist Church reciting the vows they made then, all saying those vows are just as strong today.

"I want to be with him until I die," said Ruth Bellknap.

The church band played wedding songs as couples of all ages stood before the congregation and renewed their vows together.

Safe Harbor's pastor, Tom Potter, has performed countless marriages.  But Sunday, he was happy to have someone else officiate as he celebrated 16 years with his wife, Shannon.

"I'm very excited," said Potter. "We brought in David Greer from Moss Point Dantzler Baptist Church so I could reaffirm my vows with my wife.  It's something I've always wanted to do and so we're glad we're getting the chance to do it."

For Potter and the other couples, the gift of lasting love runs deeper than a card, or flowers, or any other gift.

"It reminds everybody of what marriage is and what marriage can be if it's entered into as the Holy covenant God designed it to be," Potter said.  "This puts the love of marriage on a spiritual level instead of just a Hallmark card level, or a pajama-gram level, or whatever."

"It's just a reminder of a gift from God," said his wife Shannon.

We asked several of the couples if they would share their secret to a successful marriage.  Some said patience, some said kindness, and one said "not making your wife do television interviews."

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