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Macel and Jerry Falwell


What You Can Learn From the Marriage of Macel and Jerry Falwell:

Married for 49 years, Macel and Jerry Falwell had a long-lasting, traditional marriage. Many consider their marriage to be a role model for couples who want to have a traditional marriage relationship.

Here is information about how they met, their wedding, children, and their marriage advice to others.


Jerry Laymon Falwell Sr: August 11, 1933 in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Marcel Pate: October 4, 1933.


Jerry: Jerry died on May 15, 2007 at the age of 73 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Found unconscious in his Liberty University office, Reverend Falwell had heart problems dating back to 2005.

How Jerry and Macel Met:

Although he first saw Macel on January 20, 1952 at the church when he was converted, Jerry actually met Macel while they were both attending Baptist Bible College.
Macel about when she first met Jerry: "I felt he could take care of me because he was always so confident."
Source: Sermon. TRBC.org. "An Unthankful Generation." November 21, 2004.
Macel about Jerry's love letters to her: "He was roommates with the young man I was engaged to, and when he would write letters to me, Jerry would take the letters and throw them away and write to me himself."
Source: HypocrisyToday.com

Wedding Date:

Macel and Jerry were married on April 12, 1958. Their wedding was conducted by Dr. John Suttenfield of the Fairview Christian Church. They were both 24 years old when they married.
Jerry's mother on his wedding day: "Don't be silly, Jerry, she's too good for you -- that's what I'm saying. Don't you be a preacher to her ... You're a preacher to the people in the pews. You're going to be a husband to Macel. There's a difference. You'll never find another one is good as Macel, that's all I'm saying."
Source: Encyclopedia.com


Jerry and Macel had three children.
  • Jerry Falwell Jr: Jerry is an attorney and the vice-chancellor of Liberty University.
  • Jonathan Falwell: Jonathan is an attorney and a pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church.
  • Jeannie Falwell Savas: Jeannie is a surgeon.


Jerry: The Rev. Jerry Falwell was a television evangelist, author, lecturer, political activist, founder and senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church since 1956, founder of Libert University in 1972, and founder of the Moral Majority in 1979.

Macel: Macel was a church pianist and full-time homemaker.

Jerry and Macel Quotes About Marriage:

Jerry on abstinence: "James, having been married 47 years to the same woman and having never touched another woman except my wife, Macel, and my wife having never touched another man in 47 years, I can tell you that is the best deal. And that's the deal we ought to be teaching our kids."
Source: Crossfire. December 2, 2004.

Jerry about their early years together: "When we married in 1958, Macel and I paid $62.50 monthly rent. $15 monthly utilities. I earned $65 weekly… she earned $85. We were 24 years old."
Source: Sermon. TRBC.org. "Starting All Over Again." January 8, 2006.

Jerry about Macel: "Without Macel, our children and grandchildren would not be what they are today. Without Macel, I would not be the pastor and leader I am, fully recognizing I have many weaknesses and shortcomings. For 43 years, as of April 12, Macel has been most constructive critic."
Source: Sermon. TRBC.org. "The Power of Partnership."

Jerry about making marriage work: "Macel and I decided years ago, we are going to do whatever we have to to make this marriage work ... I never have to guess how Macel feels about something - she tells me! ... Learn to talk without fighting. You can win the argument and lose your marriage! Marriage is a relationship, not a contest. There are no winners, unless you both win! Talk together, pray together, then play together."
Source: Sermon. TRBC.org. "Maximizing Your Marriage."

Jerry about divorce: "The night we were married we made a deal: divorce is no option. We may have our problems, we may have our difficulties, and down the road of life there may be lots of differences of opinion between us, but divorce will never be an option. And in twenty-eight years, we have never one time talked, even mentioned, even discussed, the option of divorce. And I want to tell you in twenty-eight years we've had some knock-downs and drag-outs. [Laughter] I've lost every one of them. [Laughter] I tell you, men, the best thing you can do is quickly raise your hands and unconditionally surrender because you're gonna lose. [Laughter] Amen? [Amens] And, in all these twenty-eight years, though, not one time have we, have I ever thought of divorce. Murder a few times [Laughter], but never divorce."
Source: The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics. page 167.

Jerry about their parenting style: "At the very beginning of our marriage, Macel and I determined that our greatest achievement would be our children. Nearly forty years later, that is still our commitment, except the grandchildren have now been added to the priority list. Macel and I have never had alcohol in our home. Our children and grandchildren have never seen a cigarette in our mouths. We don't use bad language. We don't dance. We have never taken them to a movie. That doesn't mean that it is wrong for parents to take their children to movies. But they should be very careful in selecting the movies they attend."
Source: Sermon, TRBC.org. "How to Become a Great Mother." May 11, 1997.

Susan Friend Harding, author: "He dated and married the girl his best friend wanted to date and his college roommate planned to marry. He doubly deceived his roommate and manipulated Macel into deciding to marry him as soon as possible ... He stole Macel, he knows it, and he lets everyone know he knows it."
Source: The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics. pages 94-95.

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