Dolly Parton reveals secrets to how she keeps her 54-year marriage to husband Carl Dean alive

The two had their first date at McDonald's 56 years ago.

Dolly Parton is one of the most accomplished country singers, but one of her greatest achievements is her 54-year marriage with husband Carl Dean.

In a new interview, the "Jolene" singer opened up about why her relationship has survived the test of time.

"My husband and I, we've been together 56 years," Parton told People, recalling how they first met when she was 18 and how their first date was at McDonald's.

Two years later, on May 20, 1966, they walked down the aisle -- and the rest was history.

It's all thanks to the little ways they keep that flame burning, Parton revealed. "We still have our little times, like in the springtime when the first yellow daffodils come out. Even if there's still some snow around it, my husband always brings me a bouquet. And he'll usually write me a little poem. Which to me, that's priceless. That's like a date in itself," she said.

The Grammy winner said that, in turn, she does things like "cook the stuff that I know we love. And I pack it up in a picnic basket. And then we'll go find some riverbank somewhere with our little camper, park, have a picnic."

The "9 to 5" singer also gushed about how they have stolen away to a "little Days Inn motel" or thrown a "candlelight dinner."

"We don't make an issue of it. It's like certain days, you feel a certain way," Parton added. "And I'll say, 'I'm going to surprise him. And we're going to have real cloth napkins and real crystal. I'm going to put the real china out instead of the paper plates we usually eat on because we don't want to have to wash dishes.'"

So, what's her advice? Don't be afraid to be passionate and never apologize for being yourself.

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