I would like for you to meet a couple this morning – Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher of North Carolina. Up until Herbert died a couple of years ago, they held the Guinness World Record for the longest marriage at 86 years. Herbert died at 105 while his wife was 103. While 86 years is an amazing length of time for a marriage, it is even more so in a culture that has come to not necessarily value marriage as it once did. Yet what is even more striking with this couple is that they truly loved and even liked each other. I mean it is one thing to endure for many years of marriage. I have known couples who were married for 50 or 60 years and couldn’t stand each other. Yet they had managed to endure. But to remain engaged with one another in a healthy vibrant relationship is quite phenomenal in the 21st century. While still living, Herbert and Zelmyra were interviewed and asked about the longevity of their relationship. I want to share just 7 tips that they offered from that interview. I will share 3 of them today and the remaining 4 next week.
- What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together?
“With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option – or even a thought.”
- Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
“We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family.”
- What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
“Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.”
In their answer to the second question, they stated that one thing that they did that helped them to thrive together for over 80 years was that they “just did what was needed for each other and [their] family.” As you contemplate today how to apply these principles to your relationship, I wonder what you might need to do for your spouse, your significant other, or you family?