World's Longest Married Couple Has the Secret to Lasting Love

Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher
Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher
Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher have had what may very well be the best reason to be on the books at Guinness World Records: The North Carolina couple went down in history for having the longest marriage. For 86 years, 9 months, and 16 days. That’s eighty and a six. Years. That’s a lot of laundry, dinners, dishes, and—goodness gracious—bills. A lot of learning how to kiss and make up and enjoy each other and be a partner. Granted, they got hitched back in 1924, when folks stayed together out of a sense of duty as much as they did for love. But what an inspiration, particularly because there are more folks treating divorce as flippantly as a high school breakup than there should be.

Mr. Fisher passed away in February at a remarkable 104 years old, leaving his 101-year-old wife for the first time in almost nine decades. But the precious pair with the priceless story shared some relationship advice for their admirers and marathon marriage wannabes to mill over. On Valentine’s Day a few years ago, they took to their Twitter page (yes, they have a Twitter page) to share their secret for building a long marriage.

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The secret is there is none, according to them. No a-ha discovery. You just have to be invested in it and make it work the way you need to make it work. Here’s a little of what they said:

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.

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.

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!

At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?

H&Z: Remember marriage is not a contest—never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.

Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?

H&Z: The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs together.

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But above all else, they said, you have to be willing to stick it out. Well, that’s obvious. I’m pretty sure Mr. Herbert plucked Ms. Zelmyra’s nerves somewhere along the line just as much as I’m certain that Ms. Zelmyra rubbed Mr. Herbert the wrong way in 86 years. That’s a mighty long time to know a person, much less to grow and cohabitate with them. But 5 kids, 10 grandkids, 9 great-grands, and one great-great grand later, they made it work and stick. That’s the program I’m trying to be on. So along with my grandparents, Wayman and Mildred Harris, my pastors, Revs. Harold and Kellie Hayes, and Cliff and Claire Huxtable, I’m adding the Fishers to my inspiration list.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how different couples operate their love, how they make it last, how they grow together, even through life’s changes and challenges. Last year, I interviewed Niecey Nash (who is cute as a button, by the way) before she strolled down the aisle, and she had one of the best pre-nuptial ideas I’ve ever heard. Instead of having the standard bachelor/bachelorette shindigs—and probably all of the drama that goes along with them—she and her fiancé decided to host a dinner party with couples who had been married 20, 30, 40 years.

I let her know, at the end of our conversation, that I would be stealing that idea when it comes time for me to be a bride. I’m willing to sit at the feet of any older person. They’re so full of hard-earned wisdom, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

Which couples in your life give you relationship inspiration?


Image via @longestmarried

commitment, love, marriage

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zandh... zandhmom2

They are adorable! I agree with their statements.  Marriage is about commitment and communacation. My husband and I also agree that divorce is not an option which means we work out everything.  We talked about everything before we got married such as kids, religion, money, work, and future goals. The fact that we share the same values and goals for our life means that we are usually on the same page.  When we do disagree, we always agrue fair. We NEVER call each other names or say anything we can't take back and we NEVER bring up past issues. Once an issue is talked through, it is over. Just this week, my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary...a long way from 86 but I hope to spend the rest of my life with my husband :)

Leesh... Leeshamak

I love them! I'm celebrating 18 years of wedded bliss in december and we put in practice a lot of the things that this wonderful couple has mentioned... I can only hope to be married as long as they have been:)

nonmember avatar Brooke

God bless them! I love this: "God put the two of you on the same team to win" SO true! They are adorable!

Norma J Brill

      They are so blessed and I pray they have many more. I had 42 yrs into my marrage till death made us part. 

jessi... jessicasmom1

Awesome they are blessed beyond the years. I sence a very loving family  :-) liked her post "God put the two of you on the sam team to win"  !! live by the words 

super... supermomofgirls

My parents will be married 38 years tomorrow

FourD... FourDaughtersMI

I love that statement too. It's a great approach to a partnership! I thought I was with the person I'd die with, but it didn't turn out that way. I'm sad that I'll never get a 70th, which I thought we might reach, but I'm still hoping to get a 50th with someone someday. :)

Davina Belden

My mom and Dad are my inspiration,going on their 56th year. My husband and I will be 34th in September. We both remember even if the other of us say something we don't like or agree with it's because they have our back and want the best for eachother.

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