I’m a sucker for buzzy stories about the oldest living people on Earth. Bonus points if the story references centenarian couples (because those are the only relationship boasts I can stomach). Fortunately, the most recent garbage news cycle has surfaced just such a rare, heartwarming gem: Julio Cesar Mora Tapia and Waldramina Maclovia Quinteros Reyes earned the Guinness World Record title of “world’s oldest married couple.”
Julio is an astounding 110 years old while his wife, Waldramina, is a mere almost-105 years young. Both retired teachers, they were born in the time before social media, if you can believe it. In fact, he was born before the first crossword puzzle was invented, and she before income tax existed.
The two centenarians were married in 1941 in Quito, Ecuador. Despite protest from both their families, who didn’t approve on their union, they’ve been married for 79 years. How does one tolerate another for eight long decades? In an effort to find out, I scoured their story for clues. Below, a few tips I’ve gathered for making your love outlast the entire lifespans of your exes, courtesy of these two earnestly inspiring crazy kids.
How to make a marriage last for decades, according to the world’s oldest married couple
1. A solid friendship is the best foundation for long-lasting romance
Waldramina and Julio formed a friendship first, which spanned seven years before they tied the knot. This is not a strategy that worked for me, but it is the entire premise of Definitely, Maybe, the best romcom of all time. Being friends adds a layer of authenticity into a relationship that prevents you from being blindsided by your partner’s shortcomings post-nuptials or, put another way (by my ex-best friend, for example), marrying me.
2. Ignoring the opinions of others is sometimes your best bet
Relatives of the couple did not support the marriage, to the extent that they were married in secret. And while it may be advisable to take negative opinions about your significant other under advisement, especially if they are ubiquitous among your friends and family, ultimately only you know who’s right for you. I can’t stand my best friend’s husband, but she’s never been happier—so who cares what I think?
3. Enjoying one another’s company is important
One of the couple’s daughters says the two like spending time together, and while this seems like a fairly obvious must-have in relationships, if you’ve ever surveyed the scene at a restaurant on date night, you know it’s not always a given. And if you consider that all your friends will be dead if you manage to emulate this couple’s longevity, this becomes an even more pressing concern. (Counterpoint: TV.)
4. Maturity is key
In an interview, the couple seems to mention maturity as being one of the cornerstones of their relationship’s success a lot. In fairness, though, they’ve each had literally over 100 years to grow up—so if you’re not there yet, keep trucking!
5. Respect is non-negotiable
Another defining characteristic of their relationship, according to pair, is none other than r-e-s-p-e-c-t. So, find you someone who looks at you the way Melania looks at her husband. Just kidding, LOL, opposite.
6. Poetry helps
Waldramina apparently fell in love with Julio thanks to his poetry, which is understandable but also not a real thing anymore. (In all seriousness, though, The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara isn’t a bad place to start.)