By Mirembe Martina
John and Ann Betar of Fairfield, Conn. have been honored as the longest married couple in US by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
The couple exchanged vows on Nov. 25, 1932, and have been happily married for 80 years now. They have five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
They were selected for the 2013 award by the Christian marriage enrichment group based in San Bernardino, California which organizes a search every year to promote the virtues of lasting marriages in a bid to inspire young couples. “What an inspiration Mr. and Mrs. Betar are to all of us. They made a commitment to each other 80-plus years ago and they have kept that commitment over these many years. They truly are a sign of hope to us all,” Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s Ron and Judy Pekny said in a statement.
The award ceremony will take place on Saturday at the Fairfield, Conn., home of one of the Betars’ granddaughters, Heather Mitchell. They will be making their 80th wedding anniversary in November. “We are very fortunate. It can be repeated and repeated,” Ann, 97, said at the time. “It is unconditional love and understanding. We have had that. We consider it a blessing.”
Their secret to a happy long-lasting marriage is compromise and don’t hold a grudge. John, 101, met Ann, now 97, while growing up in the same Syrian community in Bridgeport, Conn. Ann defied her parents and tradition when she ran away to elope with John despite having set up an arranged marriage for her.
“I’m always blown away by their incredible optimism, deep sense of compassion and modesty,” granddaughter Heather Mitchell said before their anniversary. “They are true beacons – inspirational people who emit such joy without even knowing it.”
The project’s submission period ran from October of last year to January and they were chosen from the many who were nominated for the award.