Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher have an extraordinary story to tell. Together, they endured the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam, they have seen the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, watched man land on the moon, the dropping of the atomic bomb, lived through the terms of 15 presidents and still live to tell about it. But there are many centenarians for whom the same holds true so what makes Herbert and Zelmyra so extraordinary? Married on May 13, 1924, 105-year old Herbert, and 103-year-old Zelmyra do not pretend to know any secrets to a lasting marriage. They have been married longer than any known living couple, had five children and have watched countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren come into the world. They are a sweet, aging pair that will tell you truthfully that they were married because Zelmyra “did not give [Herbert] any trouble” and Herbert “was not much to look at… [but] he was quiet and kind.” After 86 years, they remain in the home where they raised their five children, sleep in different bedrooms and love each other all the same. They hold the world record for length of marriage for two living persons.
Check out their take on finding love, getting through hard times and more.
1. What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
H & Z: With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure.Divorce was NEVER an option – or even a thought.
2. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together & were best friends before we married. A friend is for life – our marriage has lasted a lifetime
3. Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other & our family.
4. What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
5. What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support & communicate with each other.Be faithful, honest & true.Love each other with ALL of your heart
6. What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
Zelmyra: A hard worker & good provider.The 1920s were hard,but Herbert wanted & provided the best for us.I married a good man!
7. What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?
Zelmyra: I cook dinner EVERY day.Herbert left work early & surprised me – he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook!
Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her & she could relax – the look on her face & clean plate made my day!
8. You got married very young – how did u both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?
“Everyone who plants a seed & harvests the crop celebrates together” We are individuals, but accomplish more together.
9. What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.
10. Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.
11. How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.
12. At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win
13. Is fighting important?
NEVER physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, & fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break!
14. What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
We are both Christians & believe in God.Marriage is a commitment to the Lord.We pray with & for each other every day.
Do you think you have what it takes?