Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and for many, it is a time to celebrate their significant others and their time spent together. Some will be experiencing their first Valentine’s Day together this year, while for many couples in Marblehead, it will be their 30th, 50th, and even 60th Valentines Day celebration together.
We set out to find some of the longest-tenured married couples in town and spoke with eight different couples, asking them about their stories and what their secrets are for maintaining a healthy and long lasting marriage.
Hugh and Yoko Stewart
While Hugh and Yoko have only been married for a short period, they share an incredible story of meeting in Tokyo Japan and are now living happily in Marblehead.
How long have you been married? 3 years
How did you meet? “I lived in Tokyo for two years and Tokyo is a sister city of Salem (Massachusetts), a part of Tokyo (Ota) is. So she was living there and i was living there and we met there,” said Hugh.
What is your secret to a healthy marriage? “We respect each other and enjoy our company,” Hugh continued.
Yoko added that in Japan, women are the only ones who present gifts to their significant other during Valentines Day, while the men send their gifts days later. She says Japan has this tradition because it allows women to have a day to express their love when men are typically the ones presenting gifts.
“Valentine’s Day is one of the best opportunities for girls or women to confess our love to the men. Usually in Japan the men confess the love to women.”
Daniel and Marjorie Shea
How long have you been married? 60 years
How did you meet? “We grew up in the same town. I got to know her brothers who were just about my age, and I got to know Marjorie as we worked together during a campaign for a state rep,” Daniel said.
“We met during the campaign, there were four weddings that came out of that campaign. We were all sort of the same age,” Marjorie added.
What is your secret to a healthy marriage? “A lot of patience,” said Daniel. Although it’s very unnecessary to have all of that because of Marjorie’s wonderful disposition.”
Harriet and Vincent Carotenuto
How long have you been married? 57 years
What is your secret to a healthy marriage? “It’s a compromise,” Vincent said. “You have to know when to say ‘ok you’re right.’”
Day and Bob Gotschall
How long have you been married? 54 years
How did you meet? “We met skiing at Stratton Mountain in March of 1968,” said Day. “We were in a ski house together. I had a friend who had another friend and we worked with some of these guys and they needed some girls to join the house. A girlfriend and I joined the house and that’s how we met.”
What is your secret to a healthy marriage? “Every day brings on a new chapter in your life and I think you have to just understand patience and endurance,” Day added.
“The magic for a good marriage is for the husband to learn to say ‘Yes dear’,” Bob said jokingly.
Claudette and Terry Soule
How long have you been married? 49 years
How did you meet? “Her landlady at the time was a member of the committee and I was arranging social events for the North of Boston Singles Club and her landlady talked her into going on a hayride,” said Terry. “We went and I talked her head off, and when they got back to their residence, the landlady looks at her and says ‘You know you’re going to marry him’, and she (Claudette) said ‘You’re out of your mind!’”
“We used to be a part of a club and they had a hay ride, so we met on the hayride,” said Claudette.
What is your secret to a healthy marriage? “I think it’s good that we had a lot of friendships. We both enjoy meeting people and having a lot of those relationships with people from town so that just made us closer,” said Claudette.
“You got to have the right person,” Terry added simply.
Liz and Bert Michaud
How long have you been married? 28 years
How did you meet? “A friend of mine met him at a wine tasting and told me about it and I said ‘What? You’ve got to be crazy to think I’m picking up some guy at a wine tasting,’” Liz said with a laugh. “But then I felt bad, so we went to dinner at my friend’s house and that was the beginning.”
What is your secret to a healthy marriage? “I think mutual respect for family. Family is very important for both of us and I love his kids and he loves my kids and we all love our grandkids. We have the same values,” Liz continued.
“From the male’s point of view, never argue with your female,” Bert added.
Jane and David Knight
How long have you been married? 54 years
How did you meet? “I was in sea scouts and she was a Mariner and we met on the waterfront,” said David.
“There was a camp at Brown’s Island, a girl scout camp and I was in the sailing group. These guys (David’s sea scouts) used to row by,” Jane said.
What is your secret to a healthy marriage? “One day at a time,” said Jane.
“And family too,” David added. “We really instilled that in our family the whole time we were together.”