Couple shares their secret to marriage after 71 years

Updated: Feb. 14, 2018 at 3:21 PM CST
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(KCBD) - "I liked her eyes," Harold Green says, "I said they're pretty. Beautiful blue eyes. You know I said, I could marry that girl...and sure enough I did!"

But Harold and Bettye Green say they have a secret to their decades of success.

Harold says, "Well, we've never had a fuss, we've never raised our voices to the other, we just get along well."

Something that is much easier said than done, and while it may not be the case for them, professionals agree that there is almost always conflict in relationships.

"It's a give and take, so at times it's easy, and we should celebrate that, but other times, it's going to be hard," says Dr. Brian Carr, a licensed psychologist.

He says during conflicts, "It's helpful to take a pause and reflect on, is this issue going to be as important tomorrow, or next week… and to just give some consideration to it, some critical thinking and some hesitation, rather than just charging in there guns blazing."

And that's something Dr. Mark White, a licensed couples therapist agrees with.

"Often time couples will have the idea of 'oh, we're going to pick our battles.' Well, if it's a battle, we need to put it out on the table and talk about it, in a peaceful, calm way so we set ourselves up for success, rather than having something we can't talk about."

However, when those battles turn disrespectful, then the relationship can suffer.

Dr. Carr says, "We can deal with differences in opinions, but sometimes when you see couples who hold each other in contempt. I think contempt is truly the death knell of a relationship, so it's important to respect the other person, even if you might not agree with their position."

Green thinks it's all about compromise, saying, "That's what's wrong with a lot of things today, is you have to take sides and fight, and you don't really need to do that... you need to get along. Learn how to compromise. A lot of people can't do that, it's an absolute."

So before you go and see a couples therapist yourself, Dr. White recommends a simple tool to help your relationship.

"When two partners just write out a simple statement that says, 'I feel loved when' and blank, blank, blank, and we're asking the partner, write down some very specific details that make you feel's those little things that we do for each other that makes us feel the emotion of love."

More than anything though, Mr. Green says, "Just making sure you enjoy every day, respect each other and that's it."

Because even while battling illnesses of her own, Bettye still looks at Harold with the same blue eyes that Harold fell in love with.

71 years later, Harold says, "I wouldn't change it for anything."

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