The secrets to a long-lasting marriage

What does it take for a marriage to last decades? Three Charlotte-area couples offered their advice.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Ask anyone who has been married for more than a few years and they’ll tell you it’s not a fairytale. 

So when you hear about couples being married for decades, it’s no wonder we secretly wonder, “How did they do that?”

“We always kiss in bed just as we’re falling asleep,” said Bill Ress. 

For 63 years, that’s how Bill and wife Ginny end their day. It’s been a long time since their first date to the prom. Five kids later and they’ll tell you, it’s not as easy as a kiss good night. 

“Norma passed up a date with Elvis,” joked Hal Merrell. 

Eb Dyer said it was love at first sight when he saw his wife Sarah in college. But gold bands aren’t a shield against the mistakes and frustrations of everyday life. 

“Hal says I don’t discuss things very well,” said Norma Merrell. 

The Merrells say it’s important to respect the differences in how your spouse handles things. 

“I’ve learned to just let it go,” said Hal. “Sometimes it takes a couple of hours. Sometimes it takes a couple of days.”

“We do not agree on how to spend money,” said Ginny Ress. “We keep separate money and we don’t talk about it.”

Each piece of their wisdom was gained from experience. And all mixed in with plenty of humor, and of course, faith. 

“We have a lot of fun, we really have a lot of fun,” said Hal Merrell. “Anything she wants, I let her buy for her birthday. That’s true.”

But when it comes to the secret of a long marriage, one word kept coming up more than any other. 

“I think commitment is the big thing,” said Bill Ress.

“When we got married, we said our vows and I took that very seriously,” said Sarah Dyer. “Nowadays, I’m not sure people take it as seriously as we did.”

They still make time for each other, but maintain their own interests as well. And for those wondering about intimacy…

“We have five children,” Ress laughed. 

All of the couples agreed it’s important to compliment each other, and be appreciative of the gesture. Ginny told a story about the time Bill brought her flowers and they were a little wilted and she made a comment about it and she says she didn’t get flowers for a long time. 

They say it really is the thought that counts. 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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