In 2007 my mother introduced me to a couple she had attended church with during her childhood. I was amazed to learn Thurman and Alma Weaver of Huntington, IN, were in their 90’s and still lived at home. Even more amazing, they had been married on July 7, 1937—so they were married for 70 years! Wow! That’s longer than some people live!
With their permission I interviewed them for a couple of articles in the Ossian Sun Riser and Indianapolis Monthly about their LONG marriage.
Sadly, I just read online that Alma passed away on Jul 28, 2011. I’m still posting their hints here about staying married. I’m sure they would encourage people to take their advice and not give up on marriages.
- Support each other physically and emotionally. Alma helped Thurman with farm chores for years until problems with her health prevented her from continuing. When Thurman was hospitalized for five months in 1986 due to trouble with his gall bladder and pancreas, Alma went to the hospital nearly every day to visit him.
- Forgive each other. “Sometimes it would be easier to murder him (Thurman),” teases Alma, “but it’s better to forgive.”
- Attend church together. The couple has gone to church services nearly every Sunday since they’ve been married. “We count our lives together a result of our commitment to each other and God,” says Alma.
- Respect each other’s strengths. When Alma pauses in the telling of a long-ago story because she’s uncertain of a date, Thurman provides the date promptly without criticism or comment. Alma listens and nods her head, then finishes the story. He only interrupts when she pauses and asks for help.
- Divorce never has been an option. When Thurman and Alma told his parents they wanted to get married in the spring of 1937, Thurman’s father told him, “We’ve never had a divorce in this family.” Thurman assured him his marriage would not be the first. “We don’t talk about it,” says Thurman. “We just work out our problems.”
- Stay active. Alma walks for 30 minutes many days each week at a local department store. Thurman rides an exercise bike for 15 minutes daily. Their discipline has enabled them to continue activities in their later years like visiting with family and friends at social functions, though Alma says they are slowing down some.
- Have individual interests. Thurman enjoys mowing and work puzzles; Alma likes to read and sew blankets for nursing home residents. “We don’t have TV on a lot of time like some people,” says Alma.
- Compromise. When Thurman and Alma tried to recall the names of their great-grandchildren, they could not agree: Was it eight or nine? After a few minutes of mild discussion, Alma laughed and threw up her hands. “We’ll talk it over and get back to you,” she said.
- Have fun together. Thurman and Alma have good memories of years of camping with their own three children and other families. They like to play games like Dominos together. “We’ve had a lifetime of fun!” says Alma.