ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - Love and faith--- it's been the glue to hold Leander and Esther Bridges together for over 40 years. But, the couple has experienced hardships along the way that's tested their faith.
"My father actually died 10 days from being 51-years-old of heart disease," said Leander Bridges.
And just like his father, Leander would suffer from the same disease later in his life.
"In 2015, I had a heart attack in September," said Bridges. "And then in 2015 of December, I had triple-bypass surgery."
Both the disease and the surgery took its toll on the 60-year-old. Bridges, who is a devoted husband and father, is also the pastor at Springhill Missionary Baptist Church in Ellisville.
"My faith was most definitely what brought me through," he said.
In addition to his faith, his wife helped him while he was dealing with his health problems.
"I always knew that my wife loved me," he said. "But, when this happened, I saw love in action."
Leander's heart disease and surgery was not the first the time couple experienced a health scare together.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994," said Esther Bridges.
Twenty-five years later, Esther is cancer-free and praises her husband for his continued support during the difficult time.
"He was with me every step of the way," she said. "And so, what could've been very devastating… did not devastate us completely because of our relationship with The Lord."
Nowadays, Leander says he's feeling better and grateful to continue to do what he loves--- preach and teach the word of God.
"And I'm thankful to the Lord, because he brought me through it," he said. "I am feeling well… the prognosis medically is good."
Having overcome obstacles, Leander and Esther have advice to share with other couples possibly experiencing a similar situation.
"It let me see how precious that the time that you is--- don't waste it," said Esther Bridges. "Don't spend time majoring on minor things, just use the time that you have together wisely."
The pair says the health scares have strengthened their relationship. Leander and Esther will celebrate their 41st anniversary in September.
"This is the promise that I made to her," Leander Bridges said. "I told her when I get up (from surgery), I'm going to spoil you and she said, 'I'm gone let you' and that's what we've been doing since then."