The divorce rate in the United States has dropped somewhat over the last decade to around forty percent.  Although this rate is still high, it is an improvement over that of the 1980’s when the divorce rate was hovering around fifty percent for all married couples.  

A recent study conducted by the Bowling Green State University Family and Marriage Center found that the divorce rate of younger couples is decreasing while that of couples over the age of fifty has nearly doubled in the past two decades. While many older couples may be divorcing, one older married couple has stayed together through thick and thin and is being recognized as America’s longest married couple.

John and Ann Betar of Fairfield, Connecticut, were married 81 years ago during the Great Depression.  The couple was named as the longest married couple in the United States by World Marriage Encounter, a California Christian group based on a review of nominations sent in from around the country.

John and Ann eloped on November 25, 1932,  to avoid Ann’s father’s plan to marry her off to a man twenty years her senior. 

Although their life has not always been easy and Ann said that marriage isn’t a lovey-dovey thing for eighty years, she did say that you need to “accept another’s ways of life, agreements, disagreements” to have a happy marriage.

The Betars admitted they do argue over one thing in their lifetime together – cooking.  John jokes, “It’s only about the cooking, that’s the only arguments we had.” 

John, 102 years-old, says the secret to their happy and long marriage is, “Just contentment….with what you have, and what you’re doing.”

Ann, 98 years-old, said that you need to think about what you’re doing and if it’s wrong, straighten it out.

The advice the Betars have for married couples today; don’t expect your spouse to always agree with you and expect to have your way in all things. The secret to a happy marriage is  communication and compromise.