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To Have and To Hold – 50 Years of Bliss With Ethlyn and Danley Rhymer


The love story of Ethlyn and Danley Rhymer started in 1951, unbeknownst to either of them.   Morris and Lilian Turnbull gave birth to a bouncing baby girl and Thomas and Sylvaneta Rhymer gave birth to a baby boy.  Ethlyn shared that they both attended the then Cane Garden Bay Methodist Church School as they grew up in neighboring villages, but never interacted with each other.

As faith will have it, in the late 60’s the love birds’ paths crossed when Danley, his late brother Stanley and his late sister, Ethlyn joined the Cane Garden Baptist Church youth group.  The courtship began soon after they were engaged and married on 12th January 1974.

In the early years of their marriage, the couple experienced financial difficulties, as was common in the Virgin Islands during that time.  To provide comfort and financial stability for his family, Danley, like many others, along with his wife left the Virgin Islands to seek employment on St. John, USVI at Caneel Bay Hotel, where he worked for many years.  As the family grew, after the birth of their second child, the Rhymers made a life changing decision to return back to Tortola, to the comfort of close family and friends.  A decision that they have never regretted despite the challenges faced.  Family was more important that making money.

The Rhymers both agree that they are each other’s best friend.  They spend lots of time together, enjoys each other’s company and enjoy having a good laughter together.  The foundation that their relationship is built on is the relationship they have with God and praying together daily.  Love exudes them, as they are often seen holding hands.

Ethlyn shared how her faith in God has and continues to be the pillar or glue that keeps their relationship together. She further stated that “At a very young age I was led to faith by women at a revival service at the Cane Garden Bay Methodist Church and it changed my life completely. My faith in God has given me the strength to cope and endure all the tests and trials that have come over these 50 years of marriage. Without Him, it would have been humanly impossible. I have learned that God is interested in every area of my life, including my marriage.”

The love birds continue to count their many blessings.  They have achieved many successes in life but their family tops them all.  The love and support of three loving children, one devoted son-in-law and one brilliant grandson.  “Over the past five years this family has been severely tested but we have stuck together and continue to realize that Family Matters”, said Danley.

As we wrap up our discussion on their 50 year journey, Ethlyn share her top three for building a strong, everlasting marriage:  “cherish each other – don’t take each other for granted; have fun together – don’t focus on whether the toothpaste is squeezed right or how many times the toilet lid is up or down; and Pray together.

She also shared the below experience that has become an enjoyable memory for them to share with family and friends, and also acts as reminder that brings focus to their strong union.  “Danley and I lived in our own home but his parents’ home was not too far away. Soon after our marriage I remember I had prepared a meal out of a Caribbean recipe book and was waiting for my husband to come home to enjoy it. To my surprise my husband said he had already eaten by his mother. My emotions took over. I was disappointed and angry. Didn’t he realized that we were now married and his meals were to be prepared by me? I fussed and cried although he kept saying he would eat it later. To me the damage was done and he couldn’t fix it. However, as I recall, we made up and it didn’t make a wedge between us nor his mom and me. She was the best mother in law anyone could have. I have reminded him of this memory from time to time as something to laugh about.”

The couple recommends that “before marriage, take the time to get to know each other and we don’t mean sexually. Find out each other’s hopes and dreams; the core values that govern each other’s lives; what drives him/her; is he/she a nice, kind person or displaying signs of selfishness. Check how he/she treat their parents and friends.
Living with someone to determine if you’re compatible for marriage is unadvisable. Love someone for who they are and not for what they have. Having lots of money is not guaranteed to hold a marriage together. Do not enter into a marriage if you’re already planning an escape route if things turn sour. Do not enter into a marriage if you are unwilling to give up all your old love relationships. Get to know Almighty God in a personal relationship. He can sustain you through your marriage.”

Photos of Ethlyn and Danley broke Facebook a few weeks ago when family shared an incredible 50th anniversary photo shoot and photos of surprise intimate celebration with close family and friends.  They are both retired and currently share time with their close net family in the mainland USA and here at home.  They look forward to enjoying many more anniversaries granted to them by God.