“It was a soul-searching decision for me because I had to leave the country, but love conquers all,” she said.
The couple were wed in December 1973, just a few short months after Nancy arrived in the United States. James Lawson said he had a scholarship to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also known as MIT. However, he said he decided to return to his native Stillwater and obtain his engineering degree from Oklahoma State University. James Lawson said he thought Stillwater would be better for his new bride because she would be surrounded by his family and friends, unlike at Cambridge, a place with which they both would be unfamiliar.
Besides their son, Jimmy, the Lawsons have a daughter, Charissa Lawson Harland.
James Lawson is a retired AT&T electrical engineer. These days, he is senior pastor of the nondenominational Trinity Word of Faith Ministries, 2800 W Hefner Road, and also serves as a teacher's assistant at Eisenhower Elementary School. Nancy worked as an administrative assistant at OSU for many years. She is now a sales consultant with Hartford Insurance, working primarily with the AARP.
Legacy of laughter and love
The Lawsons said they attribute their long-lasting marriage to their willingness to laugh together, plus their shared sense of adventure and love of traveling.
Nancy Lawson said she also thinks their ability to have intellectual discussions with each other has kept their marriage stimulated. James Lawson agreed and laughed, saying that his wife often likes to debate, and that's OK because they know how to agree to disagree.
“We have each other's back. We just complement each other,” he said.
Most importantly, the couple said their union is God-centered, and they have a strong friendship.
They said young couples need to know that it is critical to respect one another and create shared goals and dreams for their family. James Lawson said he also advises couples to remain flexible, be willing to compromise and learn how to agree to disagree.
“Somehow, they have got to be open enough to allow growth to take place,” Lawson said.
“We know it can be done, because we have done it.”