The longest married couple in the United States, John and Ann Betar, eloped on Nov. 25, 1932 and will soon celebrate their 81st wedding anniversary.

Longest Married Couple

Ann, 98, was just 17 when her father had arranged for her to marry a man in their Syrian community in Bridgeport, Connecticut who was 20 years older than her. Ann had other plans, however, and ran away with John, the boy across the street who she’d fallen in love with as he drove her to school everyday.

“He was 21 and used to drive me to high school in his Ford Roadster," Ann told NBC News. "That's why she married me,” John added. “She loved that car." It’s the car he drove Ann away in from Bridgeport to Harrison, New York to escape the arranged marriage and to begin their own.

"Everyone was hopping mad, and my wife's aunt consoled my father-in-law by telling him not to worry, the marriage won't last," joked John Betar. At 102, John is still driving, admittedly "not quite as fast as the day we got married."

John & Ann Betar's 81 Years Of Marriage

When John and Ann Betar tied the knot, America was in the midst of the Great Depression and had yet to elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the office of the presidency. President John F. Kennedy, whose tragic assassination was remembered on Friday, had been in high school. Now in the age of President Barack Obama, the country's first African American president, smartphones and tablets, the Betars are still going strong.

"We have watched the world change together," said John Betar. "The key is to always agree with your wife."

– Chelsea Regan

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