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Then & Now: What Longtime Couples Looked Like at the Beginning of Marriage and Now

You’ve seen Up, right? Of course you have!

If you’re any kind of a respectable human you shed sad tears when Ellie dies. But it’s bittersweet.  While she was alive she was half of one of the most beautiful marriages to grace the silver screen in a long time.

Marriage has received a bum rap the past several years. Nowadays it’s common to hear the younger generation question the institution of marriage altogether. With a divorce rate hovering above 50% it’s tough to fault them.

But, dammit! I’m still a believer! I really am! Our connections with others and the love we share is what makes life worth living. And marriage, no matter how rocky and potholed the road sometimes becomes, is worth the journey. Serge and I are working on our ninth year and I feel completely comfortable repeating that old cliche that I love him more now than when we got married. I’m so proud of where he’s been and especially where he’s going… And I want to be a part of it. I want to be on his team. Not only that, but, like some of the children who submitted photos of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles below, I want my children to be proud of me and their dad and a large part of that is working on my marriage so I can be with their him until we can take our own then and now shots. I want them to have that so badly. I want that so badly.

But my almost decade of marriage is nothing compared to what you’re about to see. Couples who’ve managed to make their journey last more than thirty years. One couple boasts 71 years. Can you imagine?

Looking at the ‘then’ photos of young, starry-eyed couples in love and juxtaposing that with the ‘now’ images featuring older, wiser couples (who look even more in love, if you can imagine it) I imagine they feel the same way about their marriages that Carl felt at the end of the movie Up: sometimes life’s biggest adventures aren’t the ones you set out looking for but, in the end, you wouldn’t trade your journey for the world.

Grab a hankie an get ready to feel inspired.

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  • Then: Harold and Helen 2 of 37
    Then: Harold and Helen
    Submitted by Morgaine Lefeye who says "This photo was their original wedding picture in 1946 and the second is the same shot 60 years later on their anniversary. This past September they celebrated their 66th anniversary. My grandmother passed away in February this year and my grandpa was understandably devastated. He told me, "Your grandma lit my fire when I was 10 years old and it never went out. I loved her for 80 years." Everyone deserves that kind of love.
  • Now: Harold and Helen 3 of 37
    Now: Harold and Helen
    66 years strong.
  • Then: Tom and Anna Mae 4 of 37
    Then: Tom and Anna Mae
    Submitted by Samantha Wagner who says this is her grandparents on their first date at a carnival. They took photos in a photo booth. She was 18 and he was 22. Amazingly, they got married two weeks after this day, their first date.
  • Now: Tom and Anna Mae 5 of 37
    Now: Tom and Anna Mae
    64 years strong!
  • Then: Leo and Bernice 6 of 37
    Then: Leo and Bernice
    This is their wedding photo from 1937. Their granddaughter, Debbie Schmall says "In 2007 they celebrated their 70th Anniversary with the whole family (Four children, 14 grandchildren, and 23 great-granchildren), and as you can see they were still as happy as the day they were married. Poppops passed away in January, 2009, and Grandma in February, 2010 - so all told, they were married for over 71 years. And now they are dancing together in Heaven, I'm sure."
  • Now: Leo and Bernice 7 of 37
    Now: Leo and Bernice
    71 years strong!
  • Then: Brian and Anne 8 of 37
    Then: Brian and Anne
    Submitted by Juliet Slemming.
  • Now: Brian and Anne 9 of 37
    Now: Brian and Anne
    50 years strong
  • Then: Dick and Alice Hardin 10 of 37
    Then: Dick and Alice Hardin
    Submitted by Gabrielle Hardin who says they "Met on a blind date and were married 6 months later. In December it will be 45 years of marriage. Four kids and 8 grandkids!!"
  • Now: Dick and Alice Hardin 11 of 37
    Now: Dick and Alice Hardin
    45 years strong.
  • Then: Danny and Devry 12 of 37
    Then: Danny and Devry
    Devry submitted these and tells me "Danny is my best friend and still makes me laugh after thirty one years. We have two girls, but we've always made time to do things without them. We were married ten years before our first daughter was born, so when kids came along, we really had our feet under us."
  • Now: Danny and Devry 13 of 37
    Now: Danny and Devry
    31 years strong.
  • Then: Erik and Terri 14 of 37
    Then: Erik and Terri
    This is my amazing uncle and gorgeous aunt.
  • Now: Erik and Terri 15 of 37
    Now: Erik and Terri
    33 years strong!
  • Then: Jon and Cami 16 of 37
    Then: Jon and Cami
    Submitted by Arle Jimenez who says her parents recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. The first photo is from 1982 during their mere 3 month courtship.
  • Now: Jon and Cami 17 of 37
    Now: Jon and Cami
    30 years strong!
  • Then: Richard and Sophia 18 of 37
    Then: Richard and Sophia
    Submitted by Joanna Mazewski who says her aunt and uncle are "vibrant, humorous, good people with incredibly BIG hearts. Huge emphasis on the word humor, too as there isn't a day that goes by that they don't crack a joke every 10 minutes (whether it be on politics, entertainment, or knock-knock jokes!) Uncle Richie is also a huge ping-pong enthusiast and is basically undefeated everywhere he goes (with people half his age!)
  • Now: Richard and Sophia 19 of 37
    Now: Richard and Sophia
    53 years strong!
  • Then: Jim and Kay 20 of 37
    Then: Jim and Kay
    This is my unbelievably funny and cool Uncle Jim and my beautiful Aunt Kay. They met in junior high, got married while in college and 5 kids and nearly 40 years later they're still happier than ever.
  • Now: Jim and Kay 21 of 37
    Now: Jim and Kay
    Almost 40 years strong.
  • Then: Ted and Mary 22 of 37
    Then: Ted and Mary
    Submitted by Casey Coombs who says, "My maternal grandma Mary and Grandpa Ted...They've both survived Cancer and have been to every continent together except Africa. They've also been to every state capital by car except Columbus. (Also they clearly didn't drive to Hawaii either.) They met just before my grandpa left for Pearl Harbor. He asked if he could have her hand once when he returned."
  • Now: Ted and Mary 23 of 37
    Now: Ted and Mary
    68 years strong.
  • Then: Frank and Evelyn 24 of 37
    Then: Frank and Evelyn
    The Southern belle and the Brooklyn ruffian. Submitted by Elizabeth Beller who says "Met at NC State and dated briefly until Frank was kicked out for cursing at the dean. He transferred to NYU, and when she moved to NYC years later to work in fashion she called him 'because he was the only person in New York she knew'. Married in 1956 on Long Island."
  • Now: Frank and Evelyn 25 of 37
    Now: Frank and Evelyn
    57 years strong.
  • Then: John and Elvia 26 of 37
    Then: John and Elvia
    Submitted by Yvonne Condes who says her parents "met while on a double date with other people and eloped 3 months later. When my grandfather found out, he made them go to Mexico (my parents grew up in the border town of Nogales, Arizona) and get married in a church."
  • Now: John and Elvia 27 of 37
    Now: John and Elvia
    54 years strong.
  • Then & Now: Robert and Carol 28 of 37
    Then & Now: Robert and Carol
    43 years strong!
  • Then & Now: Robert and Carol 29 of 37
    Then & Now: Robert and Carol
    Submitted by Kathy Patalsky who says "On their 40th anniversary I had a painting done of their wedding day photo." Robert and Carol met when he sat on her beach towel at a pool. Kathy says she's so proud of her parents.
  • Then: Robert and Bonnie 30 of 37
    Then: Robert and Bonnie
    Submitted by Andrea Ercanbrack Tischner who says, "My parents are amazing people that would do anything for anyone!"
  • Now: Robert and Bonnie 31 of 37
    Now: Robert and Bonnie
    39 years strong with all their grandkids!
  • Then: Larry and Alice 32 of 37
    Then: Larry and Alice
    Submmitted by Melissa Cinnamon who has this to say about her parents; "They married after knowing each other 6 months, and are the best role models for a successful, loving marriage I could ever have hoped for. My own husband and I have been married almost 14 years and can only hope to be as good at this marriage thing that they are."
  • Now: Larry and Alice 33 of 37
    Now: Larry and Alice
    37 years strong.
  • Then: Tony and Mary Alice 34 of 37
    Then: Tony and Mary Alice
    Submitted by Lauren Van Lew Acquaviva who says "They now have five children, three in-law children, and three grandchildren. They live in the same house, which they bought before they got married, and they both retired last year and are having fun getting the chance to spend time together."
  • Now: Tony and Mary Alice 35 of 37
    Now: Tony and Mary Alice
    39 years strong!
  • Then: Paul and Marcia 36 of 37
    Then: Paul and Marcia
    Submitted by Elizabeth Bailey who says this; "My parents met in kind of a strange way. Mom's mother died when she was little, so she went to live with an aunt and uncle while her three older brothers were sent to an orphanage. When mom's brother Bob was about 14 he went to live with a foster family in Oklahoma - my dad's family. When mom was about 17 Bob went to visit her (she lived in Missouri) and brought his foster brother Paul with him ... and the rest is history; mom and dad fell in love and were married a year later. One of my favorite parts of their story is that my Uncle Bob told the priest at their wedding that his brother was marrying his sister. He just left out the "foster" part. Since mom and dad lived hundreds of miles apart they only saw each other a few times in the year before they married; they got to know each other mostly through letters. They were only married for 32 years when dad died, but they had an amazing marriage and would have been together 60 years this September."
  • Now: Paul and Marcia 37 of 37
    Now: Paul and Marcia
    32 years strong!

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*Thank you so much to everyone who sent in photos. I could look at them all day. If you’d like to submit some photos email me at monicabielanko at yahoo dot com and I’ll add them.

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