AUSTIN, Texas — Married couples celebrate their wedding anniversaries every year, but for an Austin couple, this year is special because they’re celebrating 80 years of marriage.
They’ve been married so long and alive so long, they’re now considered the oldest married couple in the world.
“I have to ask him how long we’ve been married because, from year to year, I just forget,” said Charlotte Henderson.
They took a vow, promising to stick by each other until death do they part, and they’ve kept that vow since they got married during the Great Depression in 1939.
“I remember the wedding day, the day we got married, as though it were yesterday because it’s so vivid in my mind,” said John Henderson.
Nearly 80 years later, John and Charlotte are still together. The two live in a retirement community in West Austin. At 106 and 105 years old respectively, they are the oldest married couple in the world.
“Well, I think it’s pretty long but we take it as it comes,” said Charlotte.
They said it just happened.
“Never thought, never gave it any thought at all,” said John.
They’ve now made it in the Guinness World Records and have the paper to prove it thanks to their great-nephew, Jason Free.
“People started to ask me what’s the world record on anniversaries and ages,” said Free.
He’s the one who did the digging and started the application process to see if they beat the record, and they sure did.
“I believe for a long time it was held by a Norwegian couple, then taken by a Japanese couple, and now Charlotte and John,” said Free.
Kalyn Norwood sat down with the longtime love birds to hear more of their story. Mr. Henderson said it all started when then met in class as students at the University of Texas in 1934.
“Because we were sat alphabetically, I was right behind Charlotte and I could look over her shoulder,” said John. “I don’t remember exactly if she started the conversation or I did, but it took.”
A conversation sparked a flame that’s burning decades later, and today they don’t have a bad word to say about each other.
“I like everything about him,” said Charlotte. “I can’t see anything wrong with him and I can’t complain.”
So what makes a couple last this long? One thing they mentioned is that they don’t have any children.
“Some people say that’s the reason we’ve had such a long-married life, ’cause we didn’t have any kids to worry about,” John explained.
That aside, John shared what’s made their relationship work over the years and that’s being respectful.
“Don’t indicate to your partner that you’re going to be the leader or you’re going to have it your way,” said John. “You have to give and take as life goes by and be grateful for what you have and try to make tomorrow a better day than today, and be sure you don’t go to bed at night with a chip on your shoulder. Be aware of the other person’s feelings.”
The couple will celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary on Dec. 15.
John also holds another record as the oldest living former UT football player.