Picture living through the tough times of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil Rights Movement, and then experiencing the incredible moment when President Obama, the first African-American president of the USA, sent you a personally signed commendation in 2010! This marriage truly witnessed it all.
Get to know the incredible duo, Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher, who made history by breaking The Guinness World Record for the longest-lasting marriage. They started their journey together on May 13, 1924, and by 2008, they celebrated a remarkable 84 years of happy marriage.
In a time when lots of marriages don't last and divorce rates are high - 41 percent for first marriages, 60 percent for second marriages, and 73 percent for third marriages - the enduring love story of the Fishers seems almost magical. You might be curious: what was their secret?
Their secret was their resilience in facing life's challenges and their skill in handling tough times in their marriage. In an interview, this enduring couple generously shared their insights on what it really takes to make a marriage last, all the way until "death did them part."
Let's explore what makes a marriage last
Here is the interview as follows:
"What led you to believe that you could spend your entire life together? Were there any fears or doubts?"
"With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER EVER an option or even a thought."
"How did you recognize that your spouse was the one for you?"
"We grew up together and were best friends before we got married. A friend is for life, but our marriage lasted a lifetime."
"Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?"
"We wouldn't change a single thing. There's no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family. (I guess there lies the secret…)"
"What advice do you have for someone who's holding onto hope that Mr. Right is out there for them?"
Zelmyra: "My love was right around the corner! He was always close by, so stay hopeful – when you find him, you'll know for sure."
"What's the best piece of marriage advice you've ever received?"
"Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart."
"What are the most important qualities of a good spouse?"
Zelmyra: "A hard worker and a good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted and provided the best for us. I married a good man!"
"What's your most cherished Valentine's Day memory?"
Zelmyra: "I cook dinner every day. Herbert left work early and surprised me; he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook! Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her and [that] she could relax. The look on her face and clean plate made my day! (This just made my day!)"
"You married at a young age – how did you both grow as individuals without growing apart as a couple?"
"Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together. We are individuals, but accomplish more together."
"What's your fondest memory from your 85-year marriage?"
"Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild."
"Does communication become easier with time? How do you maintain your patience?"
"The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together."
"How did you cope during long periods of physical separation?"
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."
"When you've had a challenging day in your relationship, what's the most important thing to remind yourself of?"
"Remember marriage is not a contest, never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win."
"In marriage, is it important to have disagreements?"
"Never physically! Understand that it's okay to have differing opinions and to stand up for what truly matters. Learn to bend, not break!"
"What's the one thing you both share that transcends everything else?"
"We are both devout Christians and have unwavering faith in God. Marriage, to us, is a commitment to the Lord. We pray together and for each other every day. Even after 87 years, our love remained as strong as the day we were married."
Zelmyra and Herbert's long-lasting marriage is genuinely inspiring, and we're lucky to learn from their journey. Even after 87 years, it was clear that their love was still as vibrant as the day they first said, "I do."
In 2011, Herbert passed away at the incredible age of 105, and a few years later, in 2013, Zelmyra joined him at the age of 105. When Herbert passed, they had been married for a remarkable 87 years. Their enduring dedication to each other proves that lifelong love is possible, even though it comes with its share of difficulties. Their story continues to inspire all of us.
But how did they break a world record?
According to HandWiki, Herbert Fisher, Sr. and Zelmyra (maiden name George) Fisher set the Guinness World Record for the longest marriage, acknowledged in 2008. Although it's not the lengthiest in history, theirs is the longest officially recognized. The lengthiest recorded marriage lasted 90 years and 291 days, accomplished by Karam Chand and Kartari Chand, concluding on 30 September 2016.