John and Ann Betar of Long Island Sound have been married longer than most people have been alive. On Monday, they will celebrate their 81st anniversary. Ann is 98 years old, and John is 102.
The Betars are still deeply in love, and in amazingly fit shape for their respective ages. "We'll be together forever," said John. Ann added, "somewhere we will be."
The pair eloped on November 25, 1932, during the Great Depression. Ann’s father wanted her to marry a man 20 years her senior, so she had to run away to wed John, the man whom she really loved.
On the day of their wedding, they sped from their neighborhood in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Harrison, New York to get married in secret.
"[We] had no choice but to elope because my father was set on me marrying a much older man, and I was 17. John was not the boy next door, but the boy across the street who I loved," Ann said in an interview with Reuters.
The families, naturally, were less than pleased with the impromptu wedding.
"Everyone was hopping mad, and my wife's aunt consoled my father-in-law by telling him not to worry, the marriage won't last," said John. Little did they know.
"He was 21 and used to drive me to high school in his Ford Roadster," said Ann. "That's why she married me, she loved that car," John joked.
Although the pair may not officially be the world’s longest-married couple, they were granted that title by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a Christian group who reviewed nominees from across the United States.
According to spokesman Dick Baumbach, this yearly award is intended to "encourage young couples to stay together."
The couple spawned five children (two of whom have died), as well as 14 grandkids and 16 great-grandkids. Their eldest child is now 80 years old.
Said John, "We have watched the world change together. The key is to always agree with your wife."