Martha and Bonnie Davison: The Survivors

"I want to see if you remember," Martha Davison, 71, asks her husband, Bonnie, 75, when asked how they first met.

Some things never change with age. One of those things is a wife asking her husband to recall the story of how they met, something we here at BLAC noticed when we asked each of our couples their individual story.

Bonnie remembers clearly. He was assistant superintendent of Sunday School at Morning View Missionary Baptist Church on Lawton Street on Detroit’s west side. She sang in the choir. One day at church, there was a chicken-dinner fundraiser.

This was 1966. Martha asked Bonnie to buy her a dinner, but Bonnie had already promised another girl in the church to buy her a dinner. "But," Bonnie recalls saying, "If you give me your telephone number, I'll buy you a dinner, too."

A year later, Bonnie and Martha were married in August 1967, just after the historic riots that gripped the city. They lived in the city for 20 more years, raising two children before moving to Southfield.


As the most senior of our couples, the Davisons were the most sage. And much like the beginning of their partnership in church, the foundation of their marriage remains steady in the word of the Lord.

"You have to study God's word and not just say God's word, but apply God’s word," Martha says. "Every promise in the Book is what he promised me."

But then there is the practical advice. "Two people have to want to be married to each other," Martha says.

"People don't want to accept change," Martha says. "Some women look at their husbands and say they're getting fat, getting old. But just like they've changed, you've changed also. But if that person really loves you, they will accept change."

For the 50 years they've been together, the Davisons hadn't experienced serious trouble. Prayer keeps them strong, and simple activities – playing games with the kids, which they still do to this day, and vacations and family visits – have strengthened not just their marriage, but also their parenting. But when Martha was diagnosed with colon cancer in July of last year, there was indeed a test.

"It was the first time in our marriage she had a serious operation," Bonnie says. "I knew I had to be strong for her and our children."

Martha now takes chemotherapy every other week, but referring back to her faith, "I've already claimed my healing. Thank God for the support of family and friends. But above all, God."

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