Longest-Married Couple Reveal How They've Stayed Together for 80 Years

Awww! 13

Most married couples envision growing old with their spouse -- sitting in the proverbial rocking chairs on the porch, playing with the grandkids, and maybe dancing on their 50th wedding anniversary if they’re lucky. One lucky couple did that ... 30 years ago. Then they kept on keeping on, and recently celebrated their 80th anniversary.

Eighty years is a long time to live, but to make it to 80 years of marriage is something special. John Betar and Ann Shawah tied the knot on November 25, 1932 in New York, the same year that FDR beat Herbert Hoover in the presidential election and gas cost 10 cents a gallon.

Eight decades later, the couple will be honored this Saturday for having the longest union in the U.S.

It was the wedding that almost didn’t happen though -- 17-year-old Ann was engaged to be married in a pre-arranged union to a man 20 years her senior! Her immigrant parents felt that he would be a good provider for her, but she took her chances with John and the two eloped.

More from The Stir: World's Longest Married Couple Has the Secret to Lasting Love

Both from immigrant families, the couple met growing up in the same Syrian community in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After grammar school, John took a job as a fruit peddler, but took the time to drive Ann and her friends to high school in his Ford Roadster. “I fell for her right away,” he says, all these years later.

These two have truly lived the American dream. John turned his fruit peddling into entrepreneurship, opening his own grocery store, Betar’s Market, in 1938. Ann stayed home and raised their five children, and the couple claims that the 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren they now have “bring new life” and light into their lives.

So how did they make it 80 years and still in love? Ann says, "There are so many things in a lifetime that can make you very, very happy and very, very sad, but if you can do it together, then it's happiness.” John wisely adds, "Get along. Compromise. Live within your means and be content ... and let your wife be the boss."

The couple continues to praise God for their many blessings and good times together. They still live independently and actively at the ages of 97 and 101. They like to cook together, take outings looking for the best produce, read, and keep up with the news.

What an awesome couple. We should all be so fortunate.

Does this couple make you look forward to growing old with your mate?

Image via Cris Valencia/Flickr

commitment, love, marriage, in the news


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

jhslove jhslove

My grandparents were married for 66 years before my grandpa passed away a couple of years ago. My parents have been married for 45 years. The thing I see that both couples have in common is a healthy willingness from both partners to sacrifice and compromise, and an ability to communicate. Also, never losing appreciation for your partner. It's very inspiring.

tuffy... tuffymama

*sniff* This is so sweet! DH told me the other day that he was looking forward to having the finest old lady in the home one day. (Yes, he was talking about me LOL... Haters gonna hate.) He's just getting sweeter, funnier, and hotter with age, so I guess he will just be the cutest old man down the road. I think we are well matched for growing old together. Similar values and backgrounds help, I think, but we have similar expectations of each other and pleasant but realistic outlooks on life, too.

douxm... douxmusique

They're not the longest marriage, just the couple honored by this Christian org. Steve and Vicki wrubel hold the record at 83 years and 180 some odd days.

Heath... HeatherJo11

What a great story! Too cool.

Pat Kulcsar

This is awesome. My husband,72 and I,70 have been married for 1 1'2 months. We are looking forward to many years together, Faith in God, compatability and love. My grandmother once said,"Every marriage should be incompatible. He should have the income and she should be patible." My grandson Aaron,11 asked if I expected him to get an MBA also. I advised him to finish elementary school and high school first.
By the way I am earning my MBA in HR management. He is helping plant a new church. Nana Pat

jessi... jessicasmom1

Wonderful post! I would love to find someone to get old with like this !!! 

ninag... ninag1980

They should write their life story.  I know I would read..... its a real life "Notebook" story

nonmember avatar Samantha

It is pretty cute. What is sad about this.. Is that nowadays we cant imagine being together until our dying breath bc it is so uncommon, and we commend those who do... Good for them, but todays views are sad & sickening. Im a "til death do we part" kind of person, i refuse to get married until i know the other person is as dedicated to that as i am. I refuse to go through a divorce unless there is serious damage done. Like, the guy molesting the kids. The guy abusing the kids. Repeated betrayal. Probably even a gamboling problem (if its out of control & he is stealing the familys money for bills & food, or the kids college money). Anything else really has the possability of being worked out. I think ive chosen a pretty good guy, but only time will tell if he is as dedicated as i am, or whether hell have a serious problem down the line. Though i know the whole pedo part is in the clear.

1-10 of 13 comments 12 Last