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For as long as they can remember, Donald and Vivian Hart have been in love. And on June 25th, they celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. The lifelong lovers who are both 99 years old currently reside at an assisted living facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan called Pilgrim Manor. During their anniversary celebration, they ate cake and told stories from their 1937 wedding day. All of their closest surviving family and friends were present to honor the remarkable occasion.
When Donald was telling everyone about his memories from the “small wedding” back before World War II, he remembered all the fun times. While he talked, Perry Como’s hit “When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver” played, he sat besides his lifelong partner and friend.
“Now we fulfilled the song we’ve been singing. It seems to have come so suddenly,” Donald Hart told ABC News of the sentimental lyrics, “When your hair has turned to silver I will love you just the same.”
Although they’ve been married for most of their lives, they still foster a sense of humor like they’re still dating each other.
“Is my hair silver now?” Vivian Hart said. As she asked her beloved husband, she reached and playfully primped her hair.
Vivian explained that “music is special” to them and has made their marriage rewarding. She recalls as moment when Donald spontaneously sang Bing Crosby’s rendition of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” during their anniversary celebration.
“I used to sing it quite a bit when we were going together,” Donald Hart said about their dating days. “It was the song that came to mind on our anniversary.”
Donald and Vivian were surrounded by their family. Among the crowd Andi Ripley, their great-granddaughter, was pleased to honor her beloved great-grandparents. She recognizes how much they’ve done for the family and was happy to be present to celebrate 80-years of love.
“It’s special because of how much they have poured into their family’s life,” Ripley, 28, said. “There are no strangers to their family so being able to honor them for the years they’ve hosted us is just really sweet. My grandma always says ‘This is a little piece of heaven’ every time the family is together.”
After 80 years, the Harts probably know the secret to a happy marriage. Here’s their take:
“Make sure the relationship is honest. Try to do what’s right in God’s eyes,” said Donald Hart. “It’s good to laugh together. Have fun with each other, but don’t make jokes at the expense of the other.”
“Always be sure to put God first in your life,” Vivian Hart added. “Be always willing to help and stay alert to your spouse. We have prayer every day together in the morning and the night. We don’t keep our mind on our troubles.”
To think that the secret to a long marriage is that simple. While it might be simple, it is not easy to put into practice day in and day out.
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