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By McKayla Skinner

Valentine’s Day is an extra opportunity for us to show our loved ones just how much we care about them. Yet once the chocolates are gone, the dinner is eaten, and the flowers wilt, what helps love last? In considering this question, I turned to those whose love has lasted. The following are their words of advice.

Starting with 72 years of marriage is Mr. Robert Pollard and Mrs. Catherine Pollard. Robert’s piano playing drew Catherine to introduce herself to him. They double dated in groups as teens and wrote letters when he enlisted in the Army Air Force during World War II. She drew strength in knowing that they were not the only couple relying on those letters. After assessing how far they have come, Robert says that “We’ve been working on it for quite a while…” He advised that in order for couples to stay together as long as they have they need to “take those [marriage] vows seriously, look at what it says, then do it. You need to work at it every day.”

With 62 years of marriage Mr. Buster Orr and Mrs. Jeanie Orr were recently commemorated for their contributions to the school where they first met. A plaque is hung dictating their marriage advice to students and faculty there in a new facility called the Orr center. In part, the plaque states: “The sweetest phrases in the English language that a lady likes to hear are: ‘Tell me more’; ‘Please forgive me;’ and ‘I love you.” They made it a nonverbal habit early in their marriage that when they did not want to talk they just touch toes. To them it means, “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” He says that “it’s not a bad policy because it gets you by that awkward stage of finishing a conversation that wasn’t working out too well…We lasted 62 years and she still lets me kiss her.”

Having 32 years of marriage Mr. Tom Johnson and Mrs. Sylvia Johnson have seen their fair share of tests in their marriage. In their early years they did everything they could to plan for their first baby. It was not meant to be and, at the tender age of three, their baby girl passed away due to cancer. Mrs. Johnson said that she threatened divorce more than once during this time, but ultimately they stayed together and were eventually blessed with another child. Her husband Tom says, “Marriage is like mountain climbing…sometimes I throw you a line, sometimes you throw me one.” Sylvia agrees, “Together, we’ve climbed and we’ve stumbled. Sometimes we forget, but when we remember, we help each other… the magic of our first moments…helps me remember.”

These are just a few examples of what can help love last, and if we look around we may find many more. Although the daily efforts we make in marriage may take extra effort, overtime they can add up to strengthen and transform a marriage into one where love lasts.

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