LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Dr. Rex and Becky Horne have been sweethearts since middle school. The couple met at ages 12 and 13 at Fairview school in Camden. He was in eighth grade, and she was in seventh.
“We started, as I call it, claiming each other as boyfriend and girlfriend then,” Becky said. “We met and got to visiting and you know how young kids do. He was very handsome and very smart and athletic. What was there not to like about him. And he just got better over time.”
The two were together all through school with a few moments of off and on, as kids will do. After six years, at ages 18 and 19, they decided to get married in December of 1972.
“It was special because we all knew the same people. His parents helped raise me and mine helped raise him,” Becky said.
Both of their dads were deacons in two separate Baptist churches. Oftentimes, Rex’s dad would drive to pick up Becky, who lived further out in the country, for church banquets, youth activities or other events at their church, which was a little larger than the one she attended.
Additionally, Becky’s daddy was a teacher and bus driver and taught Rex in 10th grade biology.
“We just grew up together and it’s really nice that we had a lot of the same experiences,” she said.
They started their marriage off in Mobile, Alabama, where Rex attended university during the day and worked at a bank at night. Becky worked at the bank during the day. They moved back to Arkansas after six months when an opportunity opened for Rex at First Baptist Church in Batesville.
The pastor he had grown up under had moved to Batesville and invited Rex to help part-time with young people and finish his undergraduate work at Lyon College, then known as Arkansas College.
Upon completing his undergraduate degree, the couple moved to Texas where he attended Southwestern Theological Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth. Becky took a job at a bank in downtown Dallas to help him through school. Following seminary and stints serving through ministry in Louisiana, Oklahoma and west Texas, they moved back to Arkansas.
Advice for couples
Many times, when going through rough patches, Rex said folks will say, that’s not the person I married.
“Well, it is and it’s not. We all grow. We change. We discover things about ourselves, about each other, and I think when you’re in it for a long haul you grow to appreciate those things,” Rex said.
For instance, when Becky and he married, Rex said he had no idea she’d ever have interest in being a nurse and pursuing a career in that. But it was great, he said. That is what she did.
“I felt like that was important to me. It was my ministry. He supported it 100%,” Becky said. “He’s been a great encourager.”
And Becky had the understanding that Rex would be in ministry. At first, they both thought that meant pastoral ministry for all the years. He has since held various ministry roles, including his current position as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
“I think we just need to look at life itself and marriage as a journey that we’re on. It’s got twists and turns in the road, but the Lord is always consistent and always faithful. It’s a wonderful thing,” he said.
Along with mutual encouragement in a relationship, Becky shared the importance of commitment. Both Becky and Rex were blessed to have parents that were committed to each other through good, bad and hard times.
“I think that’s something in a marriage. You make up your mind you are committed. The rough times do come but it’s a commitment you make,” Becky said.
There’s been hard times over the years, but they always handle it together.
“This is life. We all in this imperfect world have problems. We’re not immune,” she said, sharing how when their daughter was younger, she was diagnosed with PKU, a rare inherited disorder that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body. But God helped them through it and all their children are grown and doing well. They have four children and 15 grandchildren.
“God is so good,” she said.
“The kids turned out great. They have kids of their own. The Lord blessed us in that,” Horne said. “It’s God’s grace. We continue to live on it and we’re so thankful for it.”
Throughout their lives, God provided what they needed every step of the way, and it has always been that way.
“We didn’t come from money, but we came from a lot of love and people who knew how to work and knew how to trust God. We tithed and God provided,” Rex said.
“You can’t out give God. That’s what people say. It’s so true. We’re proof of it,” Becky said.
The couple celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary in December.