Some people believe that a person can only find true love once in a lifetime. For Betty and Leonard Richardson, true love came knocking at their door twice. Leonard Richardson was blessed to marry his childhood sweetheart, Beverly Ann, at the age of 20. They were deeply in love and went on to have 8 beautiful children. Life was good for the Richardsons, but unexpectedly, things changed. Beverly was diagnosed with cancer, and after a heartfelt battle, she passed away a month shy of their 38th anniversary. Leonard was devastated. After losing the love of his life, he had no intention of remarrying. He made a decision to place his focus on his children and serving as a deacon at his church home, St. Sabina Church.
Five years went by, and Leonard became settled into his new norm. One day he received a phone call from a woman at his church named Betty. She was the person designated to contact him to share the unfortunate news that a mutual friend had passed away. That phone call opened the door for them to get to know each other. Like Leonard, Betty was a widow. She had been married to her husband, Allen Jones, for 33 years, and they raised one child together. Betty never thought that she could find another man who could care for her as Allen did, so she wasn’t looking for another relationship. Yet, there was something about Leonard that caught her eye. They went out on a first date in February of 1997. It didn’t take long before both of them knew they found love again. In July of 1997, Leonard proposed and she said yes. Their excitement quickly diminished when they were confronted with an unexpected barrier. Since Leonard was a deacon within the Catholic Church, he was not allowed to get remarried unless he got permission from the pope. Despite the size of that obstacle, Leonard was clear that Betty was worth fighting for. He told Betty if the pope denied his request to marry her, he was going to step down from serving as a deacon. They sent letters from the pastor and family members to Rome, and the pope answered their prayers by granting them permission to get married.
On February 1, 1998, the world was introduced to the new Mr. and Mrs. Richardson. Leonard and Betty knew that God had blessed them with a partner that they were going to spend the rest of their life with, and they covered their holy covenant every day with prayer. After they were married for 4 years, Betty was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news was devastating, as memories flooded Leonard’s mind of how he lost his first wife to cancer. He cried out to God, asking Him to heal his wife. Leonard was by Betty's side for every chemo appointment and support group meeting. After a long bout with cancer, she was healed. Relieved and thankful for her recovery, they returned back to their normal routine. Just when everything was going well, Betty received the terrible news that the cancer was back. Betty and Leonard stood firm in their faith and believed if God healed her the first time, He would heal her again. The road wasn’t easy, but Betty eventually had a full recovery and their fight with cancer made their faith and marriage stronger than ever.
Last month, they celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary, and are still making history. Every day they continue to fall more in love, and their story serves as a testimony of God's faithfulness. After all of these years, Betty says the secret to having a healthy marriage is communication. She also learned that marriage is not 50/50. It can be 80/20 one day, and 60/40 the next, but if you both go into the marriage committed to giving 100 percent, your marriage is going to make it. Seeing that Leonard and Betty have had two successful marriages, those are words of advice worth taking.
21 years later, hear from Betty and Leonard Richardson themselves. Check out this short video, as they share part of their testimony of faith.