There were trying times at the beginning of their relationship. Rita, who worked and retired from Delco, was on the day shift, and Ralph, who was working at the Kokomo Spring Company before he got into the insurance business, was on the afternoon shift.
“That was not good for newlyweds,” Rita said. “We just weren’t seeing each other. He was unhappy and I was unhappy.”
Once she got her schedule changed to match his, things got a lot better. They grew a lot closer.
“We just learned to cling together and hold onto the Lord,” Rita said. “That’s what gets you through the hard times, and you’re going to have hard times.”
That’s what they’re doing these days, fifty years later, after Ralph was diagnosed with a health condition. It’s hard right now, but the Harbaugh’s are sticking together and they’re confident they’ll get through it, with the support of their three kids and four grandkids.
“Ralph is my life and I think I’m his,” Rita said. “That’s the kind of guy you want. Someone who loves you more than they love themselves. Someone who puts your interests above their own.”
They say that even though they have their own interests, once they got married, they were united as one.
“You never try to change the other person,” Ralph said. “If you get married thinking you’re going to try to change the other person, it won’t work.”
As for Ralph and Rita, they believe that opposites attract. Rita considers herself the talkative one and Ralph thinks of himself as more reserved.
They’ve made it work for the past half a century, and their relationship has only gotten stronger because of it.
“When you get married, you’re so in love,” Rita said. “It’s all-consuming. When you get older, you love each other in a deeper way. We're very blessed. We have everything we could've ever hoped for."