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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Hottm... Hottmomma607

I remember reading about the last year! So adorable!!

robsam04 robsam04

Beautiful! Such an inspiration! "God has put the two of you together on the same team to win." Love it!!! I've seen beautiful examples in my life of marriages that have lasted, granted I've never known anyone to make it all the way to 86 years. That is amazing! I know two couples that have been married for over 60 years, and still going strong. My own parents have been married for almost 34 years (in May), and my in-laws have been married for 37 years. My hubby and I are going on 8 years in June. Granted that may not seem like a long time to some. But I am only 30 and my hubby is 32, so that is a long time for the age that we are. LOL. With every joy and trial, our love grows stronger and stronger. We believe in marriage for life....for us, divorce is NOT an option.

nonmember avatar Terryna

Awesome job on the article!

I love love, and it's refreshing to see it at its best with these two. Definitely an inspirational love story.

kimmi... kimmiewendy

My mom and my dad were/are my inspiration.  They were high school sweethearts and were married for 47 years before my mom died last year.  My dad stuck with her the whole time she was dying of dementia and took care of her.  You only find a love like that once in a life time.

Leanne Macias

This is truly an inspirational story. They sure had a long life 2gether! God Blessed their lives that's for sure. I jus turned 45 a few mos ago & my husband is 53. We celebrated our 26th last Dec. Yes we married when I was a young 18 y/o cuz I got pregnant (w/twins!). But we were planning on it anyway, we had already been engaged for 2 yrs by then. We were gonna wait 'til we were ready financially & all that but HE apparently had other plans for us. We went on to have 2 more children, all of whom are grown now & blessed us w/3 grandsons so far. We've had our share of ups 'n downs, of course, even separated for a cpl of yrs a while back but our love, understanding & caring for each other runs deeper than anything I thought possible. We both kno we we're meant for each other, to spend our whole lives 2gether & that's the way we'll stay, 'til death do us part. AMEN!

Leanne Macias

Oh, I'm sorry but I 4got to put this in my comment: We swore to each other back in the beginning that we would prove our families wrong!  Neither side liked us being 2gether, didn't think we would last or, and prolly more likely, hoped we wouldn't.  Our families had & can be civil to each other but they don't really like one another.  So there! We did it... after all these yrs we're still 2gether.  We've even been in our marriage longer than my own parents have been married to my prospective step-parents!  On the other hand my in-laws have been married for about 45 yrs :)

LilMama7 LilMama7

That is so awesome! Glory be to God! Not only are they the longest married couple but they are an amazing and beautiful couple too! I agree with their statements and reading this article actually helped me. I am a single mother and I just gotta have the faith that God will bless me with the right man

artis... artistmom889

See? True love DOES exist!!!

Sidthe Sidthe

I saw this picture of an elderly couple and it asked what's the secret to a lasting marriage. They replied We came from the generation that if it was broke you fixed it!

Best quote I've ever heard. Marriage isn't something that should just be thrown away it should be worked at every single day so it doesn't break down!

nonmember avatar Paul

I have been married nine months to my beloved. I am certain the next nine hundred months will only get better.

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