From World War II to the coronavirus pandemic, these couples have endured the true tests of time.
For better, for worse and in sickness and in health, since saying “I do” these devoted couples have been by each other’s side for over half a century.
ChronicleLive spoke to these adorable soulmates to reveal their secrets to a long happy marriage as they celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Peter and Doreen Foster
Peter, 87, and Doreen Foster, 91, have been married for 59 years.
They first met in Hartlepool in the late 1950s when he was a young policeman and she was a conductress on the buses.
Peter used to wink at her at the traffic lights while he was on duty, his charm flattered Doreen, and they started going out together.
A few years later, Peter and Doreen got married before moving to Jarrow and Doreen gave birth to their four children all within four years of each other.
In 1973, the family moved Washington and made happy memories on holidays in a touring caravan before the couple both retired.
Until 2019, Peter was Doreen’s main carer but his health began to deteriorate before he was admitted to hospital in February last year – when he was diagnosed with lymphoma.
But when the coronavirus lockdown was put in place on March 23, the couple were separated in different care homes, unable to see each other for the first time in their marriage – leaving them heartbroken.
After five months of living apart, Peter and Doreen’s social worker and family intervened and the two soul mates were brought back together in an emotional reunion at Donwell House Care Home, Washington.
Now grandparents of six with one great-grandchild, Peter reveals his secret to their long happy marriage.
He said: “We’ve had a long and happy marriage together through knowing each other inside out, always making sure we spend time together and of course Doreen is always right.”
Ann and Ron Cooper
Ann, 83 and Ron, 88, have been married for an amazing 63 years.
They first met in the mid-1950s in Shieldfield when Anne was 17 and Ron was 22 and he had just finished his national service in Egypt.
Ron used to hang out with her cousin Alec Dunn every weekend. When Ann first met him she fell in love with his dazzling blue eyes and tanned skin and his Jowett car was an added bonus.
Ann kept popping by to see him and after persuading her cousin, Alec mentioned to Ron that Ann fancied him.
Ron bet half a crown that Ann wouldn’t go on a date with him, which he lost as the pair went on their first date to pictures.
The two soulmates soon fell in love and Ann said she “fitted into Ron’s arm like no one else’s” before they married in 1958.
Now 63 years later, grandparents of four and great grandparents-to-be of two, Ann and Ron share their secrets to their long and happy marriage.
Ann said: “Our advice is always be kind to each other, respect each other and listen to each other and never go to sleep on an argument.
“You have to be each other’s best friends, always agree with each other and if one is sad the other is sad and if one is happy the other person is happy.
“Love each other more than anyone else in the world. We have got by through love and caring. And I love Ron’s patience.”
Ron added: “My tip as to why we’ve lasted so long is that we’ve followed our marriage vows and that I have learnt that Ann is always right.
“It’s nice when she says something nice about me.”