Dr. Kenneth Mayton is director of the doctorate of ministry program in the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry, and Professor Judith Mayton is assistant professor of behavioral sciences. They have been married 46 years, and all the while they still describe their marriage as secure, warm, fun and strong.
“It’s fun being married to you,” Judith Mayton said to her husband.
The Mayton’s began their relationship in the church. Kenneth was a youth pastor, and Judith’s dad was a pastor at a different church. She was teaching at a local high school. They still remember all of the details of their budding relationship.
Their first several dates were centered in a church atmosphere: mission banquet, Christmas concert and Valentine’s Day banquet. On their third date, Kenneth led up to a tentative and cautious proposal he would ask later.
“This may be a little premature, but I think I love you,” Mayton said.
On the night of the proposal, Judith just finished making spaghetti for her school’s prom. Kenneth said she was wearing a checkerboard red and white dress. He popped the question in the driveway of her home. She turned her head saying she would think about it, then turned back, answering in the affirmative.
“It was so romantic. I smelled of parmesan and garlic and had spaghetti sauce splashed all over me, and there was a huge rottweiler looking in the window,” Judith said.
Even after 46 years, they are still each other’s best friend.
“We still rather be with each other than anybody else,” Judith said.
With the divorce rate on the rise, how in the world have they made it for 46 years?
“We’ve made changes without losing the essence of our own personhood,” Judith said.
Kenneth said that their marriage has “matured” and “gets richer.” The Mayton’s enjoy Valentine’s Day as a time to just be together. Judith loves roses, so Kenneth will either get her a bouquet or give her a card saying he will plant a rose bush.
With the romantic atmosphere that Valentine’s Day and ORU’s “Ring by Spring” traditions bring, the pressure to find a mate is heavy.
“A lot of students here feel like that [if ] they don’t find the perfect other here, that they’re not going to meet another Christian again,” Judith said.
Kenneth disposes of this “needle in the haystack theory,” which says that there is only one person in the whole wide world you could ever love.
“How would you even know all people?” Kenneth said.
But this affinity to find love is normal with the college age group, so the Mayton couple give advice to young lovebirds. They emphasize knowing your own identity before getting attached to someone else’s oftentimes very different personality.
“Be sure you know who you are before you can move into intimacy,” Kenneth said.
“He respects my personhood, my thoughts, my ideas, my concepts,” Judith said.
Professor Judith Mayton has been teaching Marriage and the Family for 13 years. Many times, her husband plays show and tell. Students see two independent people working together in a relationship.
Every Friday, Judith opens class to “Ask the Old Lady Anything Day,” or better known as “Sex Friday” because many of the questions are of that nature. It allows students to have a safe place to ask questions to an experienced and scholarly educator.
Questions are notorious for being sexual, but many are not. However, those are the most outrageous: “I test drive a car, why can’t I test drive a marriage?”
Judith will just answer back, “Before you do anything think about what you would tell your children they should do.”