World’s longest-married couple clock up 80 years

Published: May 31, 2005 | 973rd good news item since 2003

When Percy and Florence Arrowsmith walked down the aisle as husband and wife, the Queen had yet to be born and an obscure former German soldier called Hitler had set out his thoughts in Mein Kampf.

Today, as they celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary, they will write their own little piece of history by becoming the world’s longest-married couple.

The obvious question – how on earth they do it – is one Mr Arrowsmith, 105, and his 100-year-old wife are asked frequently.

The marriage is a success, she said, because they still work hard at it and they never go to bed on a quarrel. His answer is slightly more simple – it is down to two words: “Yes, dear.” The couple met in 1922, when Mr Arrowsmith was 17, at All Saints church in Hereford. He was a solicitor’s clerk and singing in the choir and she was a Sunday school teacher. They married there on June 1, 1925. Two years later they moved into a house in the town’s Breinton Road, and have lived there ever since.

Today they will be surrounded by family and friends, including six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, as they celebrate their remarkable milestone.

Mrs Arrowsmith, who still loves her daily nip of whisky, said: “It has not been easy but worth every minute because he is much more than my best friend: he is the love of my life.

“We don’t argue much these days, only when I want to watch the soaps on TV, which he hates. It is all about hard work. We have had our arguments but we work through them together. We always go to bed as friends and always make up before we go to sleep with a kiss and a cuddle.”

To complete the romantic idyll, it was presumably love at first sight? Hardly, as it turns out. “I didn’t think there was anything special about him at first. He was very stern and serious,” Mrs Arrowsmith said. “But he soon relaxed and we fell in love.”

Their record-breaking marriage has been officially ratified by Guinness World Records. The previous record was 78 years, held by a couple in Japan. A spokesman said at 205 years and 267 days, they have also broken the record for the oldest married couple’s aggregate age, which was previously 203 years 355 days.

Published in Love
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