Growing up, I was fortunate to have an older couple as neighbors. They treated my siblings and I like we were their grandchildren.
Each visit to their home was made into a production. They welcomed us with warmth and hugs and fed us delicious Italian desserts on dainty plates accompanied by cold glasses of milk.
We couldn’t just say hello and leave. Our visits to Rose and Hugo’s house would last at least a half hour. We’d sit and listen and eat as they regaled us with stories of their younger days and how they met.
As a child, marriage wasn’t on my radar. I couldn’t fathom being with someone for forty years or more as my neighbors had been. As I grew up, I began to understand how love shapes us into the people we are meant to be. It allows us to make an endless amount of room in our hearts to let others inside.
Through volunteering at local nursing homes and chatting with the wise residents there, I learned a lot about how many of them remained married for so many years. It takes excellent communication, listening skills, patience, and respect – among many other things – to stay with someone for decades.
Unfortunately, many of today’s marriages don’t have that staying power. According to the Center For Disease Control, as of 2014, the rate of marriages per 1,000 people in the U.S. was 6.9 while the number of divorces was 3.9 people out of every 1,000. What’s staggering and sad is the total number of divorces recorded: 813,862
Thankfully, there are still couples who have fought to overcome their struggles and remain together. Gabe Jacobs captured this heartwarming video of his grandparents the evening before they celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary.
Arthur is 105 and he came to visit his 100-year-old wife Marcia in the nursing home where she stays. Gabe asked his grandma if she remembered marrying her husband.
While Marcia is unable to communicate as well as she used to, the love between the couple was evident in the way they peered into each others’ eyes and in the affection and love they had in their voices.
“I’ve loved you for 80 years, honey. That’s a long time,” Arthur said as he held her hand.
Marcia kissed her husband’s hand as he recounted their long life together.
“We were only twenty when we got married,” he said.
“I miss you all the time,” he added tearfully.
According to Gabe, his grandparents are one of the oldest couples in the United States. His love and admiration for his grandparents are evident and he said he is “proud to have descended from these superhumans.”