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A Marriage Grows in Brooklyn: Elderly Couples Offer Love...

Married 51 years, Israel and Millie Jerushalmy talk about how they've stayed together so long. 

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Over 150 elderly couples married more than 50 years gathered in Brooklyn for the annual "Golden Couples" Valentine's event. Totalling approximately 10,041 years of marriage of all the couples in attendance, some gave their stories and secrets to long marriages. 

Martin Starr met his wife Edith in a dress slip factory in Brooklyn more than 72 years ago. He was a bookeeper for the factory and she was the forewoman. After taking her out for many dates and cooking meals for her, they married in 1944. The two made their home in Rockaway Beach, and then later Brooklyn. Martin offered his advice to couples looking to stay together for a long time. "Don't go to sleep mad at each other. Make sure you make up before you, well, break up," said Martin. Across the table, Edith advised something much simpler, "Just don't fight with one another. And you should make a good living," she said.  

One table away was couple Israel and Millie Jerushalmy. They met one another in Tel Aviv where Israel served as an officer in the army, and Millie visited as a tourist from France. After spending a few months together, they got married, travelled to the U.S, and eventually settled down in Brooklyn. The two have been together for 51 years. Millie says respect is essential for strong marriages. "Mutual respect. And you must both be flexible. And patient," she said. Her husband just had one word of advice. "Compromise," said Israel. 

Married for 52 years, Freddie and Ida Meyer met one another in college. Freddie was the running back on the football team at Savannah State. "The football players had rooms on the second floor of our dormitory. So I spotted her out of the window one day," said Freddie, "She would come around campus with her friends, prancing every day. That's how I spotted her." I asked Freddie why she came on campus "prancing" and if she meant she was a cheerleader. Freddie chuckled, "No, she was my cheerleader though." 

Ida thinks communication is key for couples to make the grade. "I would tell [young couples] to talk a lot, have a lot of conversation, try to resolve conflicts while they are awake, don't go to sleep angry. And just enjoy each other." 

From experienced couples, it seems the essential ingredient for a long marriage is not to go to sleep mad at one another. And respect. And patience.