I do's -- and don'ts: Couples share secrets to their longevity

I do's -- and don'ts: Couples share secrets to their longevity


What’s the secret to a long and happy marriage?

For the answer to that question and others, we went to the experts.

No, not marriage counselors. By experts, we mean some of the couples who were celebrating 50 years of matrimony or more at the Georgetown Fair’s Golden Wedding Day celebration on Wednesday

The couples

Marvin and Imogene "Jean" Collum, Danville
-- Married: Jan. 30, 1942 (72 years).
-- Two children, six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren.
-- Received a prize for being married the longest.

William and Bernice Grubb, Covington, Ind.
-- Married: April 18, 1943 (71 years, four months).
-- Four children (one deceased), four grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, close to 20 great-grandchildren and four step-great-great grandchildren.

Jack and Madeline Cary, Catlin
-- Married: Dec. 7, 1946 (67 years)
-- Three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Fred and Dorothy Majors, Ridge Farm
-- Married: March 24, 1952 (62 years).
-- Five children, 28 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren (with three more on the way).
-- Received a prize for having the most grandchildren.

Don and Betty Pearson, Georgetown
-- Married: March 16, 1958 (56 years).
-- Three children, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Who proposed and how?

Fred Majors: We were going to her sister's on New Year's Eve. We were in the car. She said, "Will you ask me to marry you?" I said, "Will you?" And she said no.
Dorothy Majors: Then I thought about it for 30 seconds and changed my mind.

Marvin Collum: I did. I asked her if she wanted to scratch my back for the rest of her life. She nearly fell out of her seat.

Bernice Grubb: He did. His cousin told him what I had to do in nursing school. He wrote me a letter and said, "Why don't you just take care of me?" That was my proposal.

What has made your love last?

Don Pearson: When I got married, I had an uncle tell me: Don't go to bed without kissing her good night. I took his advice.

Bernice Grubb: We're each others' best friends. We're always there for each other. We made it a practice to never be mad at each other — for very long.

Marvin Collum: We have fun. She's April fooled me every year we've been married. She has more tricks up her sleeve than Carter's has pills.

Dorothy Majors: He tells me often that he loves me.

How did you meet?

Jack Cary: My brother fixed me up on a blind date. No offense, but I wasn't interested. My brother had another buddy with him, who he fixed her up with. She came out on the porch, and that was it. I ended up talking her into a date the next night. That was May, and we got married in December.

Jean Collum: We met at Marlett's Dancing Studio. (The couple's daughter joked that her mother was afraid of her future husband at first because he was kind of wild.)
Marvin Collum: She was wilder than me.

Bernice Grubb: He lived in Covington. I lived in Fairmount. I was in nurses' training at Lakeview (Hospital). His cousin took me home for Thanksgiving dinner because I couldn't go home. He was there. Shortly after, he took me home for Christmas vacation. I quit nursing school in February to get married in April. That was during the gas rationing, so we didn't get to see each other that often. We corresponded through letters.

Dorothy Majors: We had our picture taken together when we were 13 years old. It was at church camp.
Fred Majors: We wrote each other letters in junior high. Then we didn't see each other for 12 years.
Dorothy Majors: He lived in Indiana. I lived in Illinois. He went to the service. I went to college. He came home from the service, and I came home from Philadelphia, where I'd gone to college and was working.
Fred Majors: And we happened to see each other.

What do you remember about your wedding?

Fred Majors: We got married in Spokane, Wash., where I was stationed in the Air Force. I was two days late to our wedding because they had me in survival training. I got a three-day pass and borrowed my pilot's car.

Have either of you ever forgotten your anniversary?

Betty Pearson: No, but for quite a few years on our anniversary, he would always haul gravel for someone.

Dorothy Majors: He was a month early one time. I just said, "That's nice. You're a little early."

Bernice Grubb: Never. The best gift I got was my ring for our 25-year anniversary.

How do you resolve differences?

William Grubb: You shut up.

Jack Cary: Life isn't always a bowl of cherries. Sometimes you have to admit you're wrong, which I had to do a few times.
Madeline Cary: You sit down and you talk it out. You've got to talk.

Marvin Collum: We've never had harsh words. We're just a very agreeable family.

Dorothy Majors: We pray about it.
Fred Majors: Sure, you have disagreements, but nothing ever comes of it. We're just thankful to be together.

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