Secrets from America’s longest-married couple

Posted at 12:36 PM, Nov 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-27 14:36:36-05

By AJ Willingham

(HLN) — John and Ann Betar were married on November 25, 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, before World War II and the first animated full-length film, far before the invention of the PC or the popularity of television. Herbert Hoover was president, and America had yet to see a Super Bowl or experience in-home air conditioning.

Though it seems like everything in the world has changed, John and Ann are still here, holding hands and laughing. The husband and wife, 102 and 98 years old respectively, have been married 81 years and hold the honor of being the longest-married couple in America, according to the Worldwide Marriage Counter.

How do they do it? The Fairfield, Connecticut, couple imparted some wisdom, and some incredible facts, about their marathon marriage, as told to the UK’s Daily Mail:

Happy wife, happy life: “The key is to always agree with your wife,” John said with a chuckle.

Longevity begets unexpected losses: The couple has lost two of their five children to cancer, and their eldest daughter is 80 years old.

Marry for the right reasons: The Betars eloped after Ann’s father promised to marry her to an older man. Their families were livid, but Ann fondly remembers John driving her to high school in his Ford Roadster. “That’s why she married me, she loved that car,” John said.

Home is where the heart is: The couple has lived in the same house since 1964 — for those keeping score, that’s nearly 50 years!

Choose your battles: “It’s only about cooking, that’s the only arguments we have,” John said. Ann politely disagreed: “See, that’s what he thinks!”

The Betars’ designation as the longest-married couple in America was made by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter based on nominations, so there’s a possibility there are couples who have been married longer. But you have to admit: Any way you slice it, 81 years is ridiculously impressive.

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