A 25-year wedding anniversary is a great accomplishment for married couples, as is their 50-year. Helen and Maurice Kaye, 102 and 101 years old, respectively, surpassed each of those milestones and recently added another to their repertoire, reported the Daily Mail. On Aug. 27 of this year, the pair celebrated 80 years of marriage.
The secret to a happy marriage
A marriage that lasts 80 years is exceptional, especially in regard to today's high rate of divorce. With all of the pressures and hardships that a couple experiences in life, it's uplifting to learn that dedicated adults can work through struggles and remain in love for so many decades. According to the Daily Mail, the Kayes' relationship wasn't absent of tragic events. When the two first married, their personal business was attacked during World War II and they were forced to start over. However, this hardship didn't push them away from each other, as financial troubles sometimes do to married couples. Instead, the two moved to a different town and re-opened the business to serve a different community.
More strain on the relationship ensued after the death of their young son, followed by the passing of their adult daughter years later, noted the Daily Mail. Although their lives were repeatedly struck by tragedy, the pair's relationship remained strong and, years later, they're still in love. They attribute their successful marriage to their ability to find humor in everything and remain flexible, which is not only essential to a good marriage, but also to a healthy lifestyle for seniors.
"You mustn't be hard on each other. And if you have to give in a little bit, you give in a little bit," Helen told the Daily Mail.
And, they're not alone. Two years ago, ABC News highlighted the 81st anniversary of John and Ann Betar. After secretly marrying despite their strict families urging otherwise, the couple remains happy and in love decades later, and was even named the longest-married couple in the U.S. by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Ann, 98, and John, 102, explained that, like the Kayes, their lives were also imperfect. They lived through the Great Depression, had financial struggles that left them unsure of their next meal and also experienced the loss of their children. They were able to overcome their hardships, noting that what kept them together for so long was their practical view on their relationship. Ann added that life is not "great all the way around." Maintaining a realistic view of your spouse is essential to keeping a healthy, happy marriage.
Keys to longevity
Both happy couples are over 100 years old and in relatively good health, which reinforces the belief that a positive marriage plays a major role in healthy aging. According to a Brigham Young University study, successful unions often mean healthier, happier spouses. The longest study of its kind, researchers tracked 1,681 participants for 20 years and had them answer questions about their marriage and personal health. Those who reported troublesome relationships also noted more physical issues as well.
"There's evidence from previous research that marital conflict leads to poor health. But this study also shows happy marriages have a preventative component that keeps you in good health over the years," Rick Miller, BYU family life researcher, said.
Happy marriages and good health may be connected because of the stress relief that can come with having a life partner who can boost your mood when you're feeling down. The effects of stress on one's health are endless, so having someone there to help combat the emotion is largely beneficial. Conversely, a poor marriage can induce harmful stress on a spouse, which, in turn, can cause health issues that range in severity.