Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher’s marriage withstood the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and 15 presidential administrations. The North Carolina couple, who wed on May 13, 1924, were recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living couple in 2008 with 84 years of marriage.
By the time Herbert passed away in 2011 at the age of 105, he and his wife had been married for nearly 87 years. Zelmyra, who had led most of her life with Herbert at her side, lived for another two years after the death of her sweetheart. In early 2013, the 105-year-old woman passed away peacefully in her sleep, leaving behind a beautiful legacy of love and commitment.
Together for over eight decades, theirs is without a doubt a love story to remember. Although Zelmyra and Herbert are no longer with us, they’ve left behind some touching words about the secret to a long, lasting relationship. In honor of Valentine’s Day in 2010, the couple answered several questions on their Twitter account, sharing candid statements about their unwavering love for each other. For an inspiring and heartwarming read, check out their interview below.
What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option, or even a thought.
How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together and were best friends before we married. A friend is for life; our marriage has lasted a lifetime.
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 and our family.
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.
What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.
What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
Zelmyra: 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!
You got married very young – how did you both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?
Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together. We are individuals, but accomplish more together.
What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.
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.
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.
At the end of a 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.
Is fighting important?
Never physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, and fight for what really matters. Learn to bend—not break!