A North Carolina couple may have the answers for a long-lasting marriage.
“The secret to a long marriage is just be nice to each other,” they said.
D.W. Williams, 103, and Willie Williams, 100, offered the simple advice as they celebrated 82 years of marriage and their milestone birthdays on Sunday, which fall only seven days apart. Family members threw a party for them at the First Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church in Charlotte, where they have been members for 19 years.
“The celebration was a wonderful experience. It’s a pleasure to see history come together with these two people and to learn from them. I’m very proud of them,” D.K. Ferguson, the couple’s pastor, said.
The couple’s daughter, Alice Erin, and granddaughter, BJ Williams-Greene, planned and hosted the celebration, which was attended by 115 family members and friends.
“I love them and the celebration was great. They are sweet, giving people who love God and family. He is an honorable, God-fearing man and she is a gracious lady,” Linda Reese, a friend of the family, said.
The Williams met in Newberry, South Carolina, in 1935 and married in 1937. They have one daughter and one grandchild.
“My grandparents' marriage is an inspiration. They communicate and make decisions together, they strive and achieve together and everyone loves them because they are genuine. They just inspire everyone to be the best they can be,” Williams-Greene said.
The couple enjoys spending time together and the simple things in life.
“We like to watch country westerns like ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘Bonanza,’ and play crossword puzzles together,” they said.
They also believe communication is key.
“We don’t argue or have any fights. If we have a misunderstanding, we just talk it over,” they said.
The pair won North Carolina’s contest for the longest married couple in 2014.
The couple has lived through wars, the Depression and the civil rights era. The couple dealt with Jim Crow and segregation laws during the 1950s and 1960s, and said that was a particularly hard time.
“Although we lived during the Jim Crow era, we were still able to work and do things in the community. We were not impacted much by it because there were a lot of people willing to assist, who didn’t let the color of our skin stand in the way,” the couple said.
Willie is a retired day care nursery worker and D.W. is a retired maintenance worker with Armour meatpacking.
“They have had such a long, successful marriage because they put God first and are each other’s best friends,” Williams-Greene said.