How many years has the longest-married couple that you know been hitched? Thirty years? Forty years? For wedding photographer Anna Behning, it’s much longer than that. Her grandparents Melvin (91 years old) and Nancy (86 years old) recently celebrated 70 years of marriage. That is an exceptional length of time and deserves to be commemorated in a special way.
In a blog post about her grandparents, Behning shares the story of how they fell in love. The two met at a local skating rink in Mitchell, South Dakota, and they were married on January 6, 1952. For the occasion, Nancy wore a dress purchased for $35 and a veil for $15. She kept the gown and still has it today, preserved for sentimental value.
It's a good thing Nancy stored her wedding dress, as she was able to wear it again. Behning hosted a special photoshoot with her grandparents, in which her grandmother donned her gown—it still fits after all these years. Her grandfather wore his army uniform; shortly after they were married, Melvin has shipped off to basic training and eventually fought in the Korean war.
Being photographed in their best attire was “a lot of fun” and brought back fond memories of the day they got hitched. Since being married, they still live in the same town close to their five children, 12 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren. This closeness to her family, particularly her grandparents, was a big part of Behning’s life growing up.
“My grandparents have been there for me since I was born,” she tells My Modern Met. “They attended every concert, sports game, and extracurricular event that they could. I was also blessed to go to college in the same town that they live in. I would spend lots of nights at their home doing laundry or eating grandpa's famous steak. So being this close to my grandparents made this photoshoot even more special.”
While every marriage is different, Melvin and Nancy have some valuable insight into their long union. Nancy’s advice is to “forget and forgive and make the best of your life situations.” Melvin says, “You won't always agree, sometimes you have a disagreement, but when you have one of those you sit down and talk about it and come up with an answer—don't bring it back up.”
Scroll down for more photos of these lovebirds.