In a world of 72 day marriages (Yes, Kim K., we’re looking at you!), it’s always refreshing to look around and see marriages that have thrived and stood the test of time. It’s the encouragement we need to get through the ups and downs of marriage, and it offers hope for those who have experienced divorce and grow anxious at the thought of marriage. Pictured above are Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher, residents of North Carolina, and the current Guinness World Record holders for the longest marriage of a living couple. This May, these two will have been married for 86 years! Isn’t that incredible? Herbert is 104 and Zelmyra is 101, and for this past Valentines’s Day, they teamed up with Twitter and talked about their marriage as well as dished out a wealth of relationship advice. Here are the questions and their responses from that day:
1. What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
H & Z: With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option – or even a thought.
2. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together & were best friends before we married. A friend is for life – our marriage has lasted a lifetime
3. Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other & our family.
4. What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
5. What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support & communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest & true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.
6. What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
Zelmyra: A hard worker & good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted & provided the best for us. I married a good man!
7. What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?
Zelmyra: I cook dinner EVERY day. Herbert left work early & surprised me – he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook!
Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her & she could relax – the look on her face & clean plate made my day!
8. You got married very young – how did you both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?
“Everyone who plants a seed & harvests the crop celebrates together.” We are individuals, but accomplish more together.
9. What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.
10. Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.
11. How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.
12. At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
13. Is fighting important?
NEVER physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, & fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break!
14. What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
We are both Christians & believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with & for each other every day.
Reading their story brings happy tears to my eyes and I hope it encourages you as well. So much of our interaction with our lovely couples leads up to the big day, but beginning today, we’re also going to start featuring marriage advice and tips, as well as date night ideas for what comes after the “I dos” in future blog posts.
What part of Herbert and Zelmyra’s story touched your heart the most? We’d love to hear it in comments below. One of my favorite quotes from them is that marriage is a commitment – loving and respecting your husband or wife is a decision to be made every day. Also, the part about marrying your best friend, because, like Herbert and Zelmyra – I can honestly say I’ve done that and am incredibly blessed. :)
P.S. I just love how tech savvy Herbert and Zelmyra are! Follow them on Twitter: @longestmarried