John and Charlotte Henderson, who have been together for 85 years, share the secret behind their marriage and record-breaking relationship.

Like many couples, John and Charlotte met through circumstances. They just ended up sitting behind each other in class.

It was in 1934, during zoology class. At the time, John was 21 and Charlotte was 20.

I thought he was just a fine fella, and I didn’t mind his looking over my shoulder

Charlotte Henderson to the Washington Post

It was only a chance meeting at a lecture hall in college, but it had a long-lasting impact. Now at the ages of 105 and 106 years old, they are about to celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary.

Their relationship is a world record

That’s a major testament to their love but it is also a world record. Guinness World Records have recognized John and Charlotte Henderson as the oldest living married couple!

So, what’s their secret?

Well, according to them, it’s waiting until you are sure of your choice, and then sticking to it!

John mentions that it “took [Charlotte] five years to make up her mind” about marriage, even though it was more customary to have shorter engagements at the time.

But this was during the Great Depression, and they took the time to earn some money before they started a home. Charlotte took a teaching job in the Houston area, and John coached football and basketball in Port Arthur, Texas.

A humble ceremony for a long marriage

When they finally got married, the ceremony was tiny. Only two guests were present on Dec. 22, 1939. They spent their honeymoon in San Antonio, and stayed at a hotel that cost $7 a night.

While they have been together for 85 years, they have been married for 80 of those years, which means that they do not hold the record for the longest marriage.

That title, according to Guinness World Records, belongs to Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher, who were tied the knot at the ages of 17 and 19, respectively, and were married for 86 years and 290 days before Herbert’s death in 2011.

The secret behind their longevity

In the time John and Charlotte have been married, they have traveled, and witnessed all sorts of historical and technological developments. But the secret to their longevity is a surprising one.

“It’s living in moderation,” they told The Washington Post. They eat well and don’t drink much. John still exercises at the community gym almost every day. Except for some hearing loss, both are in excellent health.

The Hendersons also never had children. “So, some people have said that’s really why we’ve lived so long!” John joked.

So, after 80 years, do they still argue, or have they figured it all out?

No, they don’t argue, John replied. If you’re looking forward to your relationship being more peaceful in your golden years, they have one more advice: they never argued that much in the first place and have always made a point to settle things before bedtime.

Their advice is timeless

The Hendersons have lived through many a decade, which only strengthens the validity of their advice. However, solving issues as they arise, instead of letting them fester, remains a timeless, tried-and-true approach.

By applying it to our own relationships, we can preserve them better and make for meaningful, long-lasting connections.

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