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The secret to being married 81 years

Imagine being married 81 years.

John and Ann Betar of Connecticut have accomplished that, and they’ve been named America’s “longest married couple.”

John is 102 years old and Ann is 98. The two grew up as neighbors and were married on Nov. 25, 1932. Eight decades, five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren later they’re still madly in love.

So, what’s their secret?

First off, you have to marry young and live a long life! Then the Betar’s say work on your marriage, appreciate your family and be content with what you have.

Sounds good to me, and yet so many people I know struggle with the concept of working on their marriage. They believe that a marriage shouldn’t take work.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Everything that’s worth having takes work. I love my husband, but we’ve learned the importance of compromising. We’ve also learned to communicate and really listen to what the other person is saying.

But most of all, we decided early on that we’d never take the easy way out. Too many people go into their marriages with the philosophy that if it doesn’t work out they can just get divorced and start over. I think those marriages are doomed to fail.

We also never go to bed angry. It sounds silly, but I think it’s essential to never hold a grudge.

John had one other piece of advice for married men, “to always agree with your wife.”

Maybe that’s all it takes. The day I got married I gave my husband a t-shirt that said, “happy wife, happy life.”