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Contentment Is the Secret to 80-year Marriage

Since John Betar and Ann Shawah said "I do" back on November 25th, 1932, they have weathered many storms, but they still greet each morning with eagerness and gratitude. They lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the terrorist attacks of 9-11, and two powerful hurricanes. As of November 2012 John was 101, Ann was 97, and they were still living in their home. They had five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

When she was still a teenager, Ann's father had arranged for her to wed a local man in Bridgeport, Connecticut. But her heart already belonged to another—John Betar. She and John eloped in Harrelson, New York because, as Ann said, "We didn't have any money to go any farther." People told them it would never last. That was more than 80 years ago. The couple is still happily married.

They each offered some simple guidelines for building a lasting marriage. John said, "Get along. Compromise. Live within your means and be content. And let your wife be the boss." But Ann countered, "We don't have bosses."

Both John and Ann, who are members of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, acknowledge God as the source of their blessings. Ann said, "How can you not feel God's right with you and blessing you?" John reemphasized the importance of living with contentment. He said, "We just live with contentment and we don't live beyond our means."

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