Whitfields know well ‘Marriage Takes Work’

Rhoda and Danny Whitfield use their 44 years of marriage experience to help others navigate through marital issues. Photo courtesy: the Whitfields

When Danny and Rhoda Whitfield decided to send “nuggets” of spiritual suggestions to their married friends in celebration of their 32nd anniversary, they never imagined it would lead to an invitation to speak on a popular talk show years later.

Together for 44 years, the Tallahassee couple has spread their marital wisdom to others through counseling sessions, podcasts, books and now a radio show called “Marriage Takes Work” on Hallelujah 95.3 FM.

Their success in radio caught the attention of a producer for “The Sisaundra Show” in Orlando, who invited them on as guests.

“To me, it really was an amazing experience,” Rhoda Whitfield said. “It really was. I just feel like right now, God is showing us some things. It’s almost like he’s saying, ‘if I put this in front of you, can you remain the humble person that you are?’ We are just honored, and we look at it as an honor that somebody would even consider us like that because we are just doing what we have a passion for doing. It’s not anything that we are looking to get anything out of. It’s just a passion.”

Encouraged by their friends to continue sharing their experience of navigating their marriage, the Whitfields took their inspirational “nuggets” and began collaborating on their first book. They also created videos they would upload to Facebook.

Their success piqued the interest of the program director for Hallelujah 95.3, Darius “Doc D” Baker, who offered them a 15-minute segment on his afternoon show.

“I saw what they were doing online, and they had a great response, but I knew that the reach would expand by having them on radio,” Baker said. “They started off with a 15-minute segment, but now it has grown all the way to 30 minutes. The response has been phenomenal. I think that the title speaks for itself, all marriages take work, and if you don’t work your marriage, then things may not go how you want them to go.”

The couple said that since meeting at FAMU as students, they have faced many obstacles within their marriage and came to realize if they wanted their relationship to last, both of them would have to put in the work. Now they want to encourage other couples in their marriage by showing them they aren’t alone in their journey.

When coming up with topics for discussion for their show and marriage forums, they often pull from their own experiences or observations they make of others. Recognizing people may be reluctant to open up about their issues, the couple uses their platform to tell their listeners that everyone has baggage and give them tools for unpacking it.

“The goal of ‘Marriage Takes Work’ is to say, hey, we have gone through many things these past 42 years and are still are,” Danny Whitfield said. “It’s like learning; it never stops.”

The Whitfields hope to expand their reach and offer their inspiration to other couples in order to help address dysfunction they may experience in their marriage and to provide future generations with a good example of what marriage should look like.

“You never know who’s listening to you or who you are touching with what you are sharing, and we believe in being transparent,” Rhoda said. “Many people are traveling down this same road of difficulty and so you have to learn how to maneuver through it and know that this too will eventually get better if you just keep working at it.”