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Living as Valentines

Couples disclose secrets of 50-plus years of marriage.

More than 60 couples enjoyed a free Valentine’s Day luncheon at the Old Country Buffet on Richmond Highway. They were being rewarded for achieving what is becoming a diminishing achievement — marriage longevity.

Most of those in attendance for Tuesday’s celebration of falling in love have passed the 50-year mark, according to Kelly Greenwood, community liaison, Old Country Buffet Corp. And several were approaching or had reached their 60th anniversary.

“When we have done this for both lunch and dinner the number has surpassed 80 couples. Company-wide, this has been going on for 14 years. But this is only our ninth year for it here at this location,” Greenwood said.

“Prior to lunch we had Bingo. And there was a big turnout for that,” she said.

However, the gathering of seniors offered no pat answer for why two people remain married for five decades and more.

Here were some of the answers to the question “What’s the secret to your wedded longevity?”

Lee District residents Frank and Marian Woodward will have been married for 52 years on Feb. 21. “Love and respect for one another,” they agreed was their prescription.

Otis Steward of Groveton, married to his wife Ruth since 1938, had a little different slant. “Doing what she tells me to do,” he said.

Roger and Wilda Woodward, no relation to the other Woodwards, also residents of Groveton were married in Washington, D.C. in 1948. “Hanging together and doing things together that we both enjoy,” was their secret formula.

Bette and Roy Wright, residents of Green Spring Retirement Village, have a special reason for celebrating Valentine’s Day, it’s their wedding anniversary. This was their 59th. “I got married on Valentine’s Day so I’d never have trouble remembering our anniversary,” Roy said of their wedding nearly six decades ago in Richmond.

Paul and Martha Plank, residents of the Mount Vernon District area of Waynewood, have already passed the 60-year mark. That they attribute to “Give and take on all matters.”

For Dottie and Bill D’Andrea of Mount Vernon Woods the secret of their 56 years together is to “never get angry and argue.” Although that was more attributable to Dottie than Bill.

“I can’t get her to argue with me about anything. She just turns and walks away. It gets very frustrating at times. I’d like a good argument every now and then,” Bill D’Andrea added.