John and Charlotte Henderson, who met in college in 1934, were married in December 1939 in front of just two guests, and this year, they are celebrating 80 years of marriage, making them the oldest living wedded couple in the world.
They were first introduced during zoology class in a tiered lecture hall at the University of Texas in Austin. At the time, John was 21 years old and Charlotte was 20. Today, they are 106 and 105 years old, respectively.
The couple has been recognized as the oldest living married people in the world by Guinness World Records.
John, the oldest living former football player for the UT Longhorns, told The Washington Post his favorite invention that he witnessed — aside from jet engines — was television, which he first saw on a storefront during a trip to New York City in the 1950s.
At a time when short engagements were fairly commonplace, John recalled with a laugh, “it took [Charlotte] five years to make up her mind that she wanted to get married.”
‘Be grateful for what you're given and make the best of it. And don't overdo anything.’ The world’s oldest couple reveals the secret of their longevity pic.twitter.com/LytIVkdzB8
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 17, 2019
So what’s the secret to their successful marriage? Moderation, John said.
“Take every day in stride,” he shared. “Try to make tomorrow better than today. Be grateful for what you’re given and make the best of it. And don’t overdo anything.”
“Live in moderation,” he continued. “Don’t overeat; don’t over drink. Don’t do anything that you’ll be sorry for later on.”
The couple, who honeymooned in San Antonio for $7 a night, retired in 1972. He was an oil worker for a company now part of the Exxon brand and she was a school teacher. A decade ago, they moved to a retirement community in Austin.
For people wondering if they still argue 80 years into marriage, John said the answer is no, though he quickly pointed out they never really argued much to begin with. Over the years, they were always certain to settle their disagreements before their heads hit their pillows at night.