Each year, National Marriage Week is celebrated in mid-February, and this year it’s just arrived – stretching from February 7-14. Additionally, February 12 is World Marriage Day.
Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher were victors – both in marriage and in the Guinness Book of World Records. According to Guinness World Records, Herbert and Zelmyra hold the record for the longest marriage ever – 86 years and 290 days.
Though seen as too early by modern standards, Herbert and Zelmyra tied the knot when they were only 18 and 16 years old, respectively, married back in 1924.
Their marriage held up through “the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and 15 presidential administrations.”
During the Fisher’s first year of marriage, a loaf of bread cost just nine cents; and the Ford Model T was the best-selling automobile in the nation.
In 2010, former President Barack Obama honored their record-breaking marriage with a signed commendation.
Both Herbert and Zelmyra have since passed away, with their marriage ending upon Herbert’s death on February 27, 2011 at the age of 105. Zelmyra died just two years later on February 20, 2013 – also at 105.
Asked what made them realize they could spend the rest of their lives together, they answered:
With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option, or even a thought.
Would they change anything about their 80 years together?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family.
They were asked what the best piece of marriage advice was that they’ve received. Their reply:
Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.
They shared their fondest memory from their 80+ years together:
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.
Zelmyra shared what she found most important in a spouse:
A hard worker and a good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted and provided the best for us. I married a good man!
Asked whether communication gets easier over time, they said:
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs–together.
At the end of a bad relationship day, what was the most important thing they remind themselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest, never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
What’s the one thing they had in common that transcended everything else?
We are both Christians & believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with & for each other every day.
Clearly – there’s deep wisdom here that Herbert and Zelmyra thankfully decided to share with the world. Think of how different our culture would look if every married couple decided to emulate the model set by the Fishers.
Marriage has been a part of God’s design for human relationships since the very beginning of creation, existing as a God-established institution. Unsurprisingly, the research bears out the truth that Scripture reveals, showing that marriage provides major benefits to both couples and their children.
The Brookings Institution notes that “the benefits of marriage for adults (better health, greater longevity, and higher earnings) have been well documented.”
And according to Brookings, children raised by married parents “do better at school, develop stronger cognitive and non-cognitive skills, are more likely to go to college, earn more, and are more likely to go on to form stable marriages themselves.”
Marriage benefits couples, children, and all of society by providing for the care, upbringing and flourishing of the next generation.
For these reasons, Focus on the Family is committed to helping marriages thrive worldwide.
Focus on the Family is presenting the upcoming two-day Resist the Drift Marriage Conference from February 24-25. Attending couples will receive Bible-based concepts and tools from our trained marriage professionals on how to reconnect and strengthen their marriages. You can learn more about the upcoming conference here.
Also, if your marriage is struggling, Focus on the Family offers Hope Restored Marriage Intensives. Hope Restored is a biblically based, Christian counseling experience for couples facing a crisis moment in their marriage or suffering from years of disconnection and relationship decay. You can find out more about Hope Restored here.
Lastly, Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department offers help from licensed or pastoral counselors. To request a conversation with Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time), or complete our Counseling Consultation Request Form. Please be prepared to leave your contact information for a counselor to return a call to you as soon as possible. The consultation is available at no cost to you due to generous donor support and will be with one of our licensed or pastoral counseling specialists.
Photo from Twitter.