Married since April 14, 1933, Wilbur and Theresa Faiss are somewhat of an anomaly in Las Vegas, a city famous for drive-through, 48-hour marriages à la Britney Spears. According to KVVU Fox 5 and CNN, the pair has been certified as the longest-married couple by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
Technically, at least three other twosomes in the U.S. have been married longer than the duo, including a couple in New Mexico going on its 83rd anniversary Feb. 14. But these pairs have already been honored by the faith-based organization’s annual Longest Married Couple Project contest, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. This year alone, the organization received 256 nominations from 47 states.
Nominated by their son, Bob Faiss, Wilbur and Theresa were thrilled to receive the honor. But it gets better. According to KVVU, not long after the couple learned that President Barack Obama planned to mention them in his speech during his latest trip to Vegas.
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“How often does an ordinary guy get recognition by the President of the United States? It’s one of these things that’s once-in-a-lifetime,” 100-year-old Wilbur Faiss told KVVU.
Unfortunately, the couple arrived too late to be admitted into the crowd of spectators. “We tried to get there, and we fought the crowds and all… but everything was over by then. We never got close to the president,” Wilbur said.
Apparently, without them in the audience, Obama had dropped the comments from his speech. According to KVVU, the White House told the couple to expect a shout out from the President next time he’s in town.
So what’s their secret? It was love at first sight for Wilbur, who fell for Theresa, now 96, while she was skating at a roller rink in Centralia, Ill. Since then, their family has grown to include three children, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren, according to the competition’s website.
“It’s very simple. It’s give and take and compromise,” Wilbur told KVVU. “Every day ask her how she feels and ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ And say, ‘Honey, I still love you.’ ”
He also suggests not to “overdo” anything such a drinking or smoking, to always apologize first and to remember birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day.