Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher are both dead (Herbert in 2011 at age 105, and Zelmyra two years later). But not before they left behind some wonderful foods-for-thought for married couples.
First: In 2008, they won the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest living married couple.
At that time they have been married for 84 years – since May 13, 1924.
Second: In 2010, they opened a joint Twitter account to answer questions about marriage for Valentine’s Day, with this tagline:
“Tweet relationship questions to the world’s longest-married couple! Together for 85 years, Herbert+Zalmyra Fisher will tweet back on Valentine’s Day.”
Third: They left behind these wonderful bits of wisdom for married couples which can withstand the test of time. These are:
What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option, or even a thought.
How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together and were best friends before we married. A friend is for life; our marriage has lasted a lifetime.
What advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
Is there something you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family.
You got married very young – how did you both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as couple?
Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together. We are individuals, but accomplish more together.
What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great grand-children and 1 great-great grandchild.
Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.
What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
A hard worker and good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted and provided the best for us. I married a good man.
How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.
What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
We are both Christians and believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with and for each other every day.
At the end of a bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
Is fighting important?
Never physically. Agree that it’s ok to disagree, and fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break.
What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true love. Love each other with ALL your heart.
Herbert and Zalmyra’s marriage is simply amazing, compared to current marriages which are like staying in a halfway house. Their enduring love for each other is exceptional. They deserve the honor bestowed on them by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Inspiring it may be, but difficult feat to beat. Whereas people are living longer these days, most of them will be singles by the time they reach old age because of divorce or death.
In 2014, 40 to 50% of marriages in the U.S. ended up in divorce or annulment – for several reasons.
Huffington Post featured an article showing the ten most common reasons for the shocking ending to this well-prepared, often expensive “I do…till death do us part,” ceremony.
They are nothing new. They have been circulated so many times they don’t warrant a second read – if it is to be read at all.
But the bottom line is this: People often don’t know what they are getting into when they tie the knot together.
They think that just because they miss a good night’s sleep when they don’t see each other for a day is reason enough to get married. They take marriage simply as sharing a bed, or sharing expenses, going out to dinner once a week, or a vacation every year.
Marriage is like welding two pieces of steel together. At the joint, each has a part of the other. Even if you pry them loose, they are never quite the same again. And each will be weaker compared to their original selves.
My marriage lasted 37 years until my wife died from cardiac arrest. That was 7 years ago. Our marriage was not a bed a roses, but it was neither that prickly either. But for the sake of the children, we were determined to keep it intact, till death do us part.
My point and that of Herbert and Zalmyra’s is that marriage is not something you just spew out if you don’t like its taste. It is like seasoning food to make it palatable to both. It may take a long time to get it right, but the effort and the wait is worth it.
Do you have any comment? I would love to entertain them.