SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)– For George and Gaynel Couron, love at first sight has lasted nearly 81 years.
The couple, who celebrate their 81st anniversary April 10, has the nation’s longest-lasting marriage, according to Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a group offering programs to improve communication between spouses.
“That was the girl for me. I’ve had her for 80 years, soon to be 81,” said Couron, who is 100. “I got the woman I wanted.”
“I got the man I wanted,” his 97-year-old wife added.
In 1916, Couron first saw his soon-to-be wife on the sidewalk after moving to Fort Dodge, Iowa. He brushed aside attempts by his sisters to set him up on a blind date because he kept thinking about “that girl on the sidewalk.”
When he finally did meet Gaynel, at a carnival, she turned out to be the one with whom his sisters had tried to match. When they met again, he boldly said, “I’m taking you home tonight.” They were soon married.
Fourteen children, 43 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren and at least 30 great-great-grandchildren later, Couron is surprised as anyone at his long life and marriage.
“I could say we behaved ourselves, but that just wouldn’t go down very well with some people,” he said.
The couple lived independently until a few months ago. Although they are in relatively good health, Mrs. Couron suffered a mild stroke in December and one of their daughters lives with them.
Nodding toward his hand, wrapped gently around his wife’s, Couron said: “We’ve loved each other and, as you can see, this has been for 80 years.”