I'm also inspired by the comfort in spiritual openness Willis and Betty displayed. During our late-night conversation, they disagreed feistily at times about issues of Christian life, they spoke of the humdrum moments of faith, and they shared honestly about seasons of darkness and doubt. There was no element of trying to impress one another spiritually, no need to be false or showy. Nor was there a desire to be intensely private. For them it was definitely a shared journey - a travail of two people side-by-side on a road of ups and downs and sometimes sharp turns.
And perhaps the most significant growing seed from my memory of that night is the laughter - the inside jokes Willis and Betty had, winking at each other with sly glances; the loud guffaws and snorts; the noiseless chuckling fits. They clearly had learned how to laugh not only with each other, but also at themselves. This is a powerful secret of true marital happiness: not taking oneself too seriously, being willing to surrender rightness or pride or position and instead chortle a bit at one's own selfishness or faults or willfulness. It reflects a firm sense of being human - not superhuman - and a determination to allow one's spouse to be the same.
What else would you say really matters in marriage?