Love advice from America's longest married couple
Posted February 15
John and Ann Betar have been married for 84 blissful years. Peddling in a produce truck, John, 21, frequently drove 17 year old Ann and her friends to school. Ann’s father wanted her to marry a man 20 years her senior. The young couple fled their homes in Bridgeport, Connecticut to elope as far as their money could take them - 38 miles away to Harrison, New York.
John is now 105 years old and Ann is 101. Five kids, 14 grandkids, 16 great grandkids and 84 happily married years later, they have been named one of America’s longest-married couples by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Here are their words of wisdom for an everlasting romance:
What does it mean to love?
“It’s a lifelong thing. How do you define love? Through actions, understanding, little things … He loves the whole world. He doesn’t think about disliking anybody. I don’t either.” - Ann Betar
For the newlyweds
“If there’s something that bothers you, don’t try to change it.” - Ann Betar
“Let each other be, if it’s not drastic. We wish everyone a blissful life like ours. We’re just lucky.” -John Betar
Strengthening your marriage
"Marriage isn't a lovey-dovey thing, y'know, for 80 years. You learn to accept one another's way of life." - Ann Betar
"We always hold hands." - John Betar
Raising your family
"We just take things as they come, and we're contented, and we have lovely family to support us." - John Betar
John and Ann said to listen to an older person when raising respectful children, whether you want to or not. They learned that from their parents. The Berta’s also suggested to teach your children to never talk back to an older person.
“We never hold grudges. Most arguments are about food … Forgive each other.” - John
The best part of being married
“Seeing grandkids as adults. Great-grandchildren coming up, putting their little arms around you adds 10 to 15 years to your life.” - Ann
“Joy from our children and family.” - John
Wise words from a wise couple
“Live day-to-day within your means. Be content with what you have. Don’t spend more than you have. Respect each other.” - John Betar
“We are very fortunate. It is unconditional love and understanding. We have had that. We consider it a blessing.” - Ann Betar
John was asked how he’d court Ann in 2016. He said he’d “Google her” and “text or call to ask her out.”
Through the good and the bad, their love never went away. Their marriage is an example of successful long lasting romance - a true happily ever after.
Kristina Tieken is a publics relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys spending time with her husband and family.