What’s the key to a long-lasting marriage? That’s what everyone is asking one North Carolina couple on their milestone wedding anniversary.
D.W. Williams, 103, and Willie Williams, 100, celebrated 82 years of marriage and their recent birthdays on Sunday at a party hosted by their daughter and granddaughter, WSOC-TV reports.
The Charlotte couple have been through many ups and downs together, including the Great Depression and the civil rights movement, during their 80-plus year relationship.
“She was good looking,” D.W. told local news outlet WCNC of when he first saw Willie in 1937.
“I felt the same way,” she replied laughing.
So how did they make their marriage last over eight decades?
“People may not believe [it] but we have never been the type that would fuss and fight,” the 100-year-old wife said. “We just find funny things to talk about.”
The couple’s granddaughter, BJ Williams-Greene, told WSOC-TV that her grandparents model inspirational behaviour.
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“It’s communication and loving each other and working together,” Williams-Green said. “They are each other’s best friend.”
Willie said that there’s no one way to make a marriage work, but does believe in kindness.
“I don’t have a secret,” Willie told WSOC-TV. “Be nice to each other.”
The couple also goes to church every Sunday, and says God is an important part of their lives.
Research shows that kindness is one of the keys to a happy and successful relationship.
One study out of the University of California on long-term married couples found that “positive emotion increases, and negative emotion decreases with age.”
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In other words, the research found that with time, positive traits like humour become more prevalent, while negative interactions like fighting decrease.
Research on marriage out of Australia found that there are certain characteristics that help a relationship succeed. These include trust, enjoyment of each other, a cherished history together and a balance of power.
When WSOC-TV asked what they would do if they had another 100 years together, the couple said: “I don’t know, sit around the house.”