The longest married couple in America may have a few words of wisdom for those of us that have not been married for a mere 83 years yet. It’s our choice to take advice from those that have gone before us or to ignore it and just think, “they must have been lucky.”
John and Ann met when they were young, 21 and 17, in a coastal town of Connecticut, where John was a produce peddler. The country was still in the Great Depression and Ann’s father wanted her to marry a man 20 years older than her. As any father would, he wanted her to be secure and taken care of in an unsure and scary time in our country.
Instead, John and Ann, ran off to New York to elope in 1932. Now at 104 and 100, they have been married for 83 years. Being married for so long, they have so much to show for it. They have family, commitment and love. With a family of 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, they must have done a few things right.If you don’t learn how to be happy NOW, your life will never live up to your standards. Click To Tweet
Even though they are “older”, they have not quit living (advice in itself) and thought, “we’ve done enough, it’s time for us to rest.” They keep chugging along. Ann still does household chores, just like most of us do. Cooking, cleaning, making the bed and hosting family gatherings. She loves to read (keeping her mind sharp!). John helps with couponing (they are still good stewards of their money), driving and handling the finances.
We can learn a thing or two from a couple that’s been married for 83 years. They have figured a few life lessons along the way of traveling through time with each other for so long. My guess, it wasn’t always easy. There were struggles like any married couple and family has. You don’t live life without hitting a few bumps in the road.
What can we learn from the Longest Married Couple in America?
1. Be Happy With The Life you Have
This may be the most important advice they give. This even goes for those that aren’t married. “Be happy with the life you have.” It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Being happy with the life you have doesn’t mean that you have to settle and stay there. You should always have goals and aspirations. But during each stage of life, you need to be happy! If you can’t learn to be happy, then you will never be satisfied with where you are at or where your are going. It won’t matter if you have $1 in the bank or $1 million. It won’t matter if you are getting along with your spouse, or if you are fighting.
If you don’t learn how to be happy NOW, your life will never live up to your standards.
2. Just Simply Being Together is the Best Part of Their Long Life
I love this. Enjoy being together. Love being together. You have been blessed to go through this life with another right by your side. Are you thankful for that? There are some people out there that would do anything to have what you have and who you have. Never become complacent or take for granted that person fighting life with you. Learn how to “simply be together.”
3. Live Day to Day Within Your Means
Keeping stress minimal helps your marriage to not be a struggle. Finances are one of the biggest problems in marriages. If you can learn to manage and live day to day within your means, your finances may not cause so much heartache. Don’t overspend if you don’t have it. Agree with each other on spending habits and what you need to buy. Stick to it.
4. Be Content With What You Have
Most of us have more than enough. If we can learn to be content with what we have, then it makes it easier to live day to day within our means. Look around, do you have everything you need? Do you have many things you want? Do you NEED more things?
Being content with what you have, is not only for material possessions, but for your spouse, your children, your job, your family, your friends. If you can’t be content and thankful for what you have, how can you expect God to provide you with more?
5. Respect Each Other
So many couples forget how to respect each other. When you were dating, respect was upfront and center. You probably did anything for each other with the utmost respect. Now that you’ve been married for years, the respect slowly slips away.
If the respect is lacking, one of you will have to begin. And once you begin, don’t go tell your spouse, “I’m respecting you, how about you showing me some respect.” That doesn’t work or do any good. I know!
What I’ve learned over the years, is that you get what you give. The seeds you sow, will come back to you. And nothing happens over night. Change takes time and patience.
6. Don’t Let Your Desires Get in The Way
This advice is not only for newly dating couples, but ones that have been married for years too. Infidelity is another great threat to marriages. Don’t let those desires control you and get in the way. Step away from any desire that enters your heart that is not good for you, your marriage or your family. Don’t let a silly desire steal away everything that is good in your life. Desires are fleeting, and as soon as you engage in that desire, it will be over and so will your family.
Other desires besides infidelity can occur too. If your desires are for new possessions, like a new house. That too, can get in the way of a marriage and cause strife and stress. This goes back to be content with what you have and live within your means. Most desires are something that we shouldn’t have or is out of reach right now. Wanting or needing a new house is not a bad or wrong thing. But if it’s not the right time, it can be a problem.
7. Fights: Just Get It Out, Then It’s Done. Forget About it Right Away!
Arguments and disagreements shouldn’t be held in. Now it doesn’t mean to explode at any given moment. There is a time and place for “fighting” or getting through a disagreement. Remember, respect your spouse, you should never embarrass them.
Get the fight out, start talking about the disagreement. Don’t sleep on it. Not many people wake up the next day feeling refreshed after sleeping on a disagreement. It usually drags on even more and more emotions get involved. Then it lasts longer. Learn how to “fight” with each other. Set some ground rules, some boundaries. Agree to disagree if necessary. Just get it done.
Then, here’s the most important part of the fight. FORGET about it… right away. FORGIVE. Part of forgiving is forgetting about it. You can’t forgive if you can’t forget. Remembering a painful memory or situation, just replays in your head, you relive the moment, you get mad again. You haven’t forgotten or forgiven.
The faster you forgive and forget the faster you will live happy.
8. You Can’t Always Understand Each Other’s Ways…Don’t Try Too Hard
We are all different, completely. We have our own thoughts, wants, needs, opinions, ideas. No two of us are the same. Quit trying to understand each other’s way to the point that it’s causing problems in your marriage. Instead of trying to understand, just accept. This does not mean you have to agree, just accept. Part of that acceptance is to not be controlling. When you accept, you are letting the other person be their self. You are allowing them to be who God created them to be and you to be who God created you to be.
John and Ann have great wisdom and advice for all married couples. Why? Because they have been married longer! They figured out relationships and how to get along. They made it through more struggles than most of us will ever see. They made a commitment to each other. That commitment is proof that we too, can make it through.
Question: What is your favorite marriage advice?
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