New relationships are always exciting. From the first kiss to the first time you go away together, everything he does always feels sweet and new – but the "honeymoon phase" can only last so long, right?
Not always! That's why we sought out advice from five couples who've definitely kept the flame alive.
On Feb. 12, Brooklyn celebrated New York City couples who have been married 50 years or more, and I dropped by the El Caribe restaurant, where the luncheon was held, to ask the celebrated sweethearts how they breathed life into a relationship after all these years. After all, we were always told to learn from our elders, and what better lesson can we learn than that of love?Elliot and Hunny Reiken
have been married for 62 years. Half of a pair of identical twins who married another set of twins (could it get any cuter than this?), Elliot and his brother met Hunny and her sister at a restaurant the brothers were hired to play at after World War II.
Like many girls who love musicians, the brothers' musical skills -- Elliot played trumpet while his brother played sax -- made the twin 16-year-old sisters swoon:
"I thought he was a glamorous musician," she said. "To this day, I still think he's glamorous."
The Reikens, who still play music together for recovering patients at a local nursing home, think that the secret to lasting love is all about what you have in common.
"We love each other, but more importantly, we like each other," 80-year-old Hunny said. "We still love singing. Sometimes we get up with pains and cramps, but the day we're going to go sing, we feel great. That's what keeps us young."
While no one thought 66-year-old Hilda Acevedo and her husband Willie
would make it, the Brooklyn-born-and-bred couple showed everyone who bet against them: They've been together for a cool half a century now.
"There's a lot of compromise," Hilda said. "And I believe marriage is a partnership, not an ownership. We have allowed each other to grow. He has allowed me to grow in my career, and I have never forbidden him to do what he wanted to do."
She also believes there's no point in trying to remake the man. "When you get married, you try to change the person," Hilda said. "If that person attracted you for what he was or what she was, why should you?"
Laura and Major Edwards
were high school sweethearts who have now been hitched for 52 years. And the couple really took the words, "Till Death Do Us Part" to heart: Their relationship has weathered their son's passing, as well as their own bouts with cancer.
"The truth is, I really didn't care when I had cancer," Major said. "But when I found out she had it, I knew my job was to take care of her. So that's what I did."
Today, they're both in remission and plan to spend many more years together.
"He didn't even do his chemo until I started," Laura ribs him. "He took care of me like a newborn babe. I'm here doing as well as I am partly because of him."
Morty and Miriam Kratem
credit their close friendship as the key to 50 years of wedded bliss ... so far.
"Besides loving each other, we're friends," Morty said. "We get along very well -- not that we don't argue -- but we're very good friends. And when I wake up in the morning and I see her, I think, 'Another day, thank God.'"
Meanwhile, Martin and Ruth Spencer
were meant to be together since birth -- their parents were really good friends.
The two started dating in high school and married soon after. The key to their 67 years of marriage? Compromise.
"You're going to have to give and take," Ruth said. "You can't always have it one way. Whether it's for two weeks or 20 years, you really have to work at it."
Though it also helps that, after all these years together, 90-year-old Martin continues to write a note to his wife every morning telling her he loves her -- just like he did when they were first married.
"When a man's born, he's only born half a person," Martin says. "As he grows up, the other half -- personality, the whole thing -- is in a woman. And when he meets that woman, he makes a whole. I make her the whole, and she makes me whole."
Proof that you really can find your better half?
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