On Nov. 25, 1932, John Betar married Ann Shawah in Harrison, N.Y. This year, the couple became the longest married in the United States, ready to celebrate 81 years together.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Going back in time and to a completely separate love story blooming in Canada, Carol Harris met childhood sweetheart George Raynes in the first grade in 1936, but it wouldn't be until Nov. 16 -- this year -- the couple, both at 83 years old, would wed. For Harris, it is her first marriage.
These two stories are somewhat counter-intuitive in today's culture where marriages only have a 57 percent chance of lasting to the 15th anniversary and where the average age for a woman to enter into her first marriage is 27 years old -- but they offer hope and inspiration.
An 81-Year Marriage That Began With an Elopement
John Betar was not Ann Shawah's parents first choice as a spouse for their daughter. According to ABC News, Shawah was arranged to marry a man 20 years older than her.
At 17 years old and in love with 21-year-old Betar, the two eloped.
"At 17, you wonder if you're making the right choice," Ann Betar told ABC. "I had grown up with him and we had good times together and we knew each other very well. And it's turned out to be 80 years. ….God seems to have been with us. And we've been very fortunate and wonderful.
Living in a Syrian immigrant community in Bridgeport, Conn., where they had first met, John Betar said they worked hard but "never got tired of making money."
"This is the land of opportunity," he told ABC.
John, now 101 years old, and Ann, now 97, have experienced both sorrows -- like the loss of two of their five children -- and joys.
John and Ann Betar will have been married for 81 years this Monday. (Image source: YouTube)
"There are so many things in a lifetime that can make you very, very happy and very, very sad, but if you can do it together then it's happiness," Ann told ABC.
Watch this video of the couple when it was announced they had the longest marriage in the country:
Read more about the couple's touching story of 81 years together in ABC's full article.
Married at 83 Years Old
While Betar's married life is well-established (and that's an understatement), 83-year-old Carol Harris is just beginning hers. But the love story began decades earlier.
Harris of Saint John, New Brunswick, and George Raynes met in the first grade in 1936 and shared their first kiss in a 1939 school production of Sleeping Beauty, according to CBC News. It was a kiss they weren't even supposed to have.
"But the rascal that I was, I laid a big wet one on her. And she jumped up like a startled deer, you know," he told CBC.
There would be 75 years -- and Raynes having his own 61-year first marriage -- between this kiss and when the pair would meet again, rekindle their young love and make it to the alter.
Carol Harris got married for the first time at age 83 earlier this month. (Image source: KHOU-TV)
"There was a time when I thought I was going to be single forever," Harris said.
In fact, according to KHOU-TV, Harris said she officially gave up thinking she would ever get married in April of this year.
"I said, this is ridiculous,” Harris said, according to the local news station.
Now, she told CBC, she can't help but think "my prince from Grade 3 has finally come home to stay. And I think it's just marvelous."
Watch KHOU-TV's report:
Now, you let us know which of these two love stories is cuter: