In a world with an increasing divorce rate and many broken hearts, itâ€™s easy to give up on love.
Relationships are often a struggle, and yet many marriages last until death do they part. The key? A lot of love, forgiveness and laughter. Washing the dishes doesnâ€™t hurt either.
â€œJust love each other, and just help each other around the house and do things for each other,â€ said Lester Heavner who has been married to his wife, Faye, for 50 years. â€œAppreciate them. Tell them you love them every now and then and show it.â€
Heavner fell for his wife the first time he saw her â€“ she was working at a hot dog stand.
â€œI just came out of the service, and I guess she fixed me a hot dog and a hamburger, and we just started talking and one thing led to another,â€ he said. â€œShe was the girl for me, and I guess it was love at first sight because weâ€™ve been married 50 years and had no problems hardly, everyone has a little scuffle here and there.â€
The beginning of Ermintrude and Lester Mullenâ€™s relationship got off to a bit more rocky start. They first met when he saw her driving an old 1919 automobile down the road.
â€œI was driving around, and he started following me,â€ she said. â€œHe said he wanted a ride.â€
â€œI was curious about the automobile,â€ he said. â€œWell, I kind of liked the looks of the chauffeur, too.â€
The couple didnâ€™t become serious until many months later and one no-show date.
â€œIâ€™ve been paying for that stand-up ever since,â€ he said.
They credit God and laughter for their long lasting marriage, which is now going on 65 years.
â€œI donâ€™t think I could make it this far if I couldnâ€™t laugh,â€ he said. â€œI even laugh when Iâ€™m hurting.â€
Her easy going nature has also helped the relationship.
â€œI have a forgiving heart,â€ she said. â€œIf I get upset I donâ€™t let anyone know about it.â€
Of course, she canâ€™t hide anything from the man whoâ€™s been at her side for 64 years.
â€œI can always read her like a book though,â€ he said. â€œHer face gets longer.â€
The Mullens make sure to spend time together â€“ they volunteered for Meals on Wheels for 10 years and traveled the world. They also spend time apart at separate hobbies â€“ heâ€™s a painter and she collects antiques.
Mable Hedgepeth, who has been married to her husband, Carl, for 50 years, also enjoys a little independence in her marriage.
â€œWe donâ€™t hardly ever fuss,â€ she said. â€œIf I want to go anywhere with my daughter, well he says nothing, and if he wants to get out and ride around, he does.â€
Hedgepeth also believes her marriage has lasted because she found herself a good Christian fellow. The two met in church.
â€œI think the church has a lot to do with it,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s a better place than a honky tonk.â€
Her husband has stayed on the straight and narrow throughout their years together.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t drink. He doesnâ€™t smoke. He doesnâ€™t run around,â€ she said.
Of course, a few flaws can be forgivable. It took Lester Mullen a good long while before he gave up his cigarettes. His wife never smoked.
â€œI did the coughing,â€ she said.
Still, his charitable nature made up for his cigarette habit.
â€œHeâ€™s gotten many a man out of a ditch,â€ she said.
The couple has kept God alive, made sure to forgive and forget and, most importantly, remembered why they got together in the first place.
â€œWeâ€™ve never thought of splitting up,â€ she said. â€œWeâ€™ve always been in love.â€by Sarah Grano