Sunday, November 24, 2013


Every time I read about couples celebrating their golden anniversary, my faith in long-lasting relationships receives a big boost. In my case, that kind of milestone remains only in my fantasy. I have been a single mom since 1976, and then just plain single when my children became moms themselves. If I were to enter into a relationship or marriage now at my age, I would have to live to be 115 to celebrate my golden anniversary!

So when I read that America's longest married couple, John and Ann Betar, will be celebrating their 81st wedding anniversary on Monday 25 Nov 2013, the eternal romantic in me re-awakens. 'And they lived happily ever after' does exist in real life, and not just in fairy tales. The Betars are living proof of that. Ann's father had wanted to marry her off to a man 20 years older than she. This was not what she wanted. There was already someone else in her heart - John Betar. They decided to elope in 1932, and to cut a long story short, they have been together ever since.

John and Ann's wedding photo taken on 25 Nov 1932. They are the longest married couple in the US.

That was 81 years ago. Today, John Betar, now 102, and Ann Betar, 98, remain as loving as ever. Their oldest daughter is 80 years old! Asked in an interview about the key to a happy marriage, John says, "Always agree with your wife!"

The Betars have 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

The longest married couple in Malaysia that I know is Suzanne and Tony from Penang. Tony, 90, and Suzanne, 89, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this year. I have not met them in person, but we have exchanged emails and blog visits. Seniorsaloud has written about the happily married couple in previous blog posts. Suzanne and Tony's marital harmony is an inspiration to all couples, young and old. Such a fun-loving couple, ready for any challenge (check out Suzanne's Cheongsam Challenge!) Suzanne shares beauty and fitness tips that are truly unique. She has a creative streak too as seen in her art and craft designs. I suspect Tony handles the technical part of managing the blog. They complement each other.

(Left) Suzanne and Tony celebrating their 63rd anniversary in 2011. (Right) Truly a marriage made in Heaven and blessed by God.

The other happily married couple I know is Mr and Mrs Jagjeet Singh. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together with Mr J's 80th birthday. I have known Mrs J since our teaching days back in the 1970s. Effervescent, articulate and well-groomed is how I would describe Mrs J. Unlike Mr J who prefers to remain in the background, Mrs J, 73, is used to taking centre stage. Always ready for fun and adventure, she epitomizes what 'Living life to the fullest' is all about. Seniorsaloud first featured the couple way back in May 2008. Read her advice for married couples in the article "Forever Young".

What a beautiful picture! So happy together and still very much in love after 50 years together. 

We can take a leaf from the pages of these happily married couples. They know how to make their marriage work. Marriage does not come with an expiry date stamped on it. How long it lasts depends very much on how determined we are to make it work.

(Updated on 9 Oct 2020): 
In memoriam. Mdm Suzanne Neo passed away on 6 Oct 2020 at the age of 96, Tony on 19 April 2016 at the age of 93. I shall always remember the couple with much fondness as they inspired me to want to grow old like them - living life to the fullest and making each moment count. They truly embodied joie de vivre. Their posts on their blog Suzanne and Tony is a reflection of how they lived and loved and celebrated life. Do check it out. May Suzanne and Tony rest in peace, together again.)


Kim Lee said...

One of your best articles dear! I love it!

seniorsaloud said...

Thanks, Kim Lee. I draw inspiration from these loving couples!

Unknown said...

An interesting read. Others should read it to see what's the recipe for long lasting marriages.