The title had me at hello, “SECRETS TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE.” Not only am I a sucker for all things relationships — what makes them work, what makes them fail, but particuarly lessons from ones that *happily* last more than half a century. My personal favorites are marked in bold.
Betty & Louis Chernoff — married 60 years.
“We don’t read newspapers at breakfast. We talk to each other.” —Betty
“Our clocks click exactly the same. Whenever Betty wants to do something, I want to do it, too.” —Louis
“My mother and daddy got along like peaches and cream. You see that sort of example and try to do what they did.” —Betty
“We married young, but we were grounded. To make it work, you need to have a good head on your shoulders — which even some 35-year-olds don’t have.” —Louis
Ayako Kawakami & Harold “Pete” Petersen — married 53 years.
“My father always told me, ‘Marry a smart man.’ Because if I married a smart man, I would never starve.” —Ayako
“Let her go shopping. More than once, I’ve left a garage sale and gone to get my truck to carry all her antiques home. But true to Japanese tradition, we tolerate and accept every part of each other’s personalities.” —Pete
“When we just started out, Pete used to lose his temper a lot. The stress of his police job got to him. I always stayed calm, and soon he wanted to handle things like I do.” —Ayako
Stella & Ben Sonnenschein — married 51 years.
“Ben doesn’t say, ‘I love you,’ and I don’t force him to. Instead, I appreciate it when he brings me a sandwich in bed. Especially since he hates crumbs in the sheets.” —Stella
“Don’t get angry over more than one thing at a time. People jump around from one issue to another.” —Ben
“We still kiss. We’re affectionate. But it comes naturally. It doesn’t happen for show. Sometimes we just lay down in bed and hold hands.” —Stella
June & Bill Pritchard — married 64 years.
“We don’t get in each other’s way. I don’t challenge what Bill spends. And he knows better than to touch my computer.” —June
“If June makes a decision and I’m not there or vice versa, the other follows through. We always stayed united in front of our children.” —Bill
“Bill can be very knot-headed about things. When we have our spats, we each speak our mind and then we go on our way. We don’t always expect everything to be resolved or to change the other person’s mind.” —June
“She always liked my legs, so I still wear shorts!” —Bill
Imogene & Elmer Edwards — married 55 years.
“Never stop courting. We always try to see each other the way we did in our early days, even though I sure look different from that girl he married!” —Imogene
“We like to hit the road. We’re not stuck in monotony. We’ve sailed down the Nile and got aboard a camel.” —Elmer
“Elmer always takes my hand and leads me across the parking lot like I’m his girl and he’s taking care of me.” —Imogene
“I take Imogene’s hand and help her walk because otherwise she’s liable to
fall down.” —Elmer
Macon & Jim McDavid — married 51 years.
“In every family, someone’s got to drive the bus. But sometimes you change positions. You say, ‘OK, this is not my thing after all. It’s your turn to drive.’ All our marriage, Jim took care of our checkbooks. Then, three years ago, I realized I had these wonderful math skills and could do them easier than he could.” —Macon
“You’ve got to be able to trust your spouse. If she passes me the ball, I try to run with it. And if I pass her the ball, she does the same.” —Jim
“Jim loves to talk, so by now I’ve heard most of his stories. But they’re all good ones, so I still happily listen. And as for me? Jim thinks I can do just about anything.” —Macon