Hitched 81 Years, Connecticut Couple Is 'Longest Married' in US

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 03:41 PM

By Michael Mullins

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John and Ann Betar of Connecticut have been recognized as the nation's "longest married couple" after tying the knot 81 years ago.

"We are so blessed. We are fortunate," said John Betar, 101, in an interview with ABC News after the couple celebrated their 80 wedding anniversary last year.

Ann, 97, echoed her husband's sentiment.

"We are very fortunate. It can be repeated and repeated," she said. "It is unconditional love and understanding. We have had that. We consider it a blessing."

The Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a California-based group that is dedicated to improving Christian marriages, will give them an award for the record on Saturday.

"It is truly an honor and a privilege to recognize John and Ann Betar for their commitment to marriage," said Ron and Judy Pekny, the United States Ecclesial Team for WWME.

WWME said the couple is known to be married the longest, but there could be other couples that have been married for longer.

John and Ann Betar grew up next door to each other in a close knit Syrian community in Bridgeport, Conn.

Years ago, Ann was set to marry another man who was 20 years her senior in a pre-arranged marriage. The arrangement forced her to elope with John in Harrison, N.Y. They were married Nov. 25, 1932.

"Some people said it would never last. We showed them," John told MyFoxNY.com.

The Betars faced difficult times throughout their marriage, such as losing two children, but it only made their bond stronger, the two told ABC News.

"There are so many things in a lifetime that can make you very, very happy and very, very sad, but if you can do it together, then its happiness," Ann said.

The couple, who still live independently on beachfront property in Fairfield, have five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

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