Ann and John, married for 86 years, reveal secrets to lasting love

November 25, 1932 was a long time ago. It was only 14 years after the First World War. The United States was in the depths of the Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt had just been elected president.

$21 would buy an ounce of gold, with some change left over. It’s also the day that Ann and John Betar eloped. They grew up in a tight-knit Syrian neighborhood in Bridgeport, Connecticut and ran off to New York for the impromptu wedding, thwarting her family’s plans to marry her off to a much older man.

The really remarkable thing is that they’re still married, 85 years later! She’s 102 years old and he’s 106. Theirs is one of the longest-lived marriages in history and has been recognized as the longevity champion in the United States. As John noted with irony, “They said it wouldn’t last.”

If anyone is an expert on marriage, it’s Ann and John. They’ve been interviewed on television and even dispensed marriage advice on Twitter. Understanding and accepting their foibles has been key. Avoiding arguments and not holding grudges is also important: John joked, “It’s only about cooking, that’s the only arguments we had.” But Ann cut in with, “See? That’s what he thinks! It’s only about the cooking.” A sense of humor obviously, helps, too! An element of friendship is also part of the mix: if you get along well as friends and enjoy fun activities as if you’re friends, love is more likely to last.

Ann explains: “Marriage isn’t a lovey-dovey thing, you know, for 80 years. You learn to accept one another’s ways of life, agreements, disagreements — disagreements on our children, preparation on bringing up your kids. That was the main interest was your children.” Check out the video posted below if you’d like to hear more pearls of wisdom from this amazing duo.

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