Janice and Stanley Weintraub
Photo: Courtesy of the Weintraubs
Intellectual stimulation. The same background. Partnership. Humor. Unprintably good sex. Longtime wives tell O what drew (and still draws) them to their husbands and offer advice to the young and un-hooked-up.

Janice and Stanley Weintraub

Ages: Both 62

Years married: 35

Occupations: Part-time dental hygienist; Realtor

How did you know he was the one? I believed in him. He didn't have a job, he wasn't a college grad and I was, but I saw his potential. I saw that he was loving, caring, and very interested in me. He had all the traits to be a good husband and father. He was a good salesman—he sold me!

What's made it last? Having a sense of humor. He taught me that, too, though I am still not a hundred percent there yet.

Advice? Choose your battles and understand that as you change, your mate also changes. You have to involve yourself in different activities and hobbies so you don't become boring, and you have to realize that you don't marry one person—you marry the entire family.
Yvonne and Harold Haskins
Photo: Courtesy of the Haskins

Yvonne and Harold Haskins

Ages: "We're both still working, so let's just say 'mature'"

Years married: 33

Occupations: Attorney, underwriter for Fannie Mae; senior administrator at the University of Pennsylvania

How did you know he was the one? It was a gradual process. I respected him for the work he was doing in the community before I fell in love with him. I was a police officer and he was a youth worker. I got to know his soul and his values and his thought process and how he viewed the world before I ever dated him. Then one summer, I was in the hospital and he brought me the biggest milk shake I'd ever had.

What's made it last? We're still stimulated by each other intellectually, and I still think he's the sexiest man in the world. He's as witty as the devil, and I appreciate that. We've always been partners, and we were always looking at the world and helping in our small way. He has a thousand kids around the world that he's worked with—he's gotten more black kids through the University of Pennsylvania that I can count. You hear the pride when I talk about him. At the same time, I hear from other people that he's proud of me.

Advice? I wish someone had told me in my young life that I didn't have to carry all the weight in my relationship. That was what happened in my failed first marriage. I was a "nobody can do it better than I can" person, but half the time I was wishing someone else would take it away.
Liz Bien and Alan Gewirtz
Photo: Courtesy of Liz Bien and Alan Gewirtz

Liz Bien and Alan Gewirtz

Ages: 52 and 53

Years married: 25

Occupations: University administrator; professor of medicine

How did you know he was the one? We went to school together; he was one of my closest friends.

What's made it last? I always say that it's because he's slightly deaf and legally blind. That we're very different is helpful—when he's down in the dumps I'm up, and when I'm down he's usually optimistic. You also have to admire the person you marry. He has to be smart and funny. Alan makes me laugh.

Advice? Pick your battles. But it helps to fight, because it's good to get it out in the open rather than let it simmer. I don't believe in being passive-aggressive.
Aracely and Carlos Rosales
Photo: Courtesy of Aracely and Carlos Rosales

Aracely and Carlos Rosales

Ages: 45 and 49

Years married: 24

Occupations: Health communications consultant; owner of a translation service

How did you know he was the one? We met young—when I was 15 and he was 18. I always thought he was special, more considerate than most men. He was very respectful to his family and to mine. And if I needed something, he would look for it. He was patient and he always made me laugh.

What's made it last? We come from the same background, so we have a lot of things in common, and because we met so young, we grew up together. We moved from Guatemala to the United States, faced the same issues—learning another language and culture, leaving everything we had, including our families. In order to survive, we had to support each other. From the beginning, we knew that we were going to get married and it was going to be forever. We were never thinking, Let's try it and see how it works.

Advice? Being in love definitely helps. Nurture the love any way you can. Work around the person's strengths and weaknesses. Did anybody else say anything about sex? Make it good. To do that you have to challenge yourself. Grow with it. When we go to weddings for young couples these days and they ask us to sign their book, we now write: "Solve any problem with sex."
Miiko and Herbert Horikawa
Photo: Courtesy of Miiko and Herbert Horikawa

Miiko and Herbert Horikawa

Ages: 67 and 70

Years married: 43

Occupations: Retired school librarian; psychologist

How did you know he was the one? I had a list of qualities in my mind. I wanted an Asian man. I wanted someone with a college education, a sense of humor, a strong character, and who was decisive and caring. I never thought I was going to find this man, but Herb qualified in all of those categories, and he was big, five feet nine inches tall. All my Japanese-American girlfriends were five feet or less. I was five feet two and felt like a horse. I wanted someone I didn't tower over.

What's made it last? In the first part of our marriage, we were like-minded in our focus on the family. Herb used to help me with the household chores so I wasn't stuck with the children all the time. He helped with the laundry; we shopped together because I didn't drive. And we'd have to take the kids because we were too poor to have a babysitter. We were together a lot and that really made the marriage work.

Advice? Supporting each other is really important. It's so easy to be disrespectful. I would sometimes be critical or snide, and he would call me on it. Now I know him well enough not to say things in ways that are going to hurt him. If it's important to me, I say it nicely.
Georgia and Jerry Carter
Photo: Georgia and Jerry Carter

Georgia and Jerry Carter

Ages: Both 51

Years married: 30

Occupations: Wedding coordinator; advertising executive

How did you know he was the one? That tingle. We were sophomores in high school, and I used to watch him come out of the boys' bathroom and go to the water fountain every day at lunch. I used to stare at him. We officially met at a formal school Easter dance, and we were inseparable from that night on. That was 1967.

What's made it last? You always have to have something to look forward to, and we're always on the go. Jerry walked in last night and said, "Want to go to Reno?"

Advice? Always be open. Don't be afraid to say what's on your mind. I used to keep it all inside, and then I'd get mad. I just didn't want to talk or tell him how I felt. I can remember my daughter saying, "Why are you keeping it in? That's so stupid!" That was about ten years ago. I don't do that anymore. Even if it hurts, say it.
Dee Ito and Marshall Arisman
Photo: Courtesy of Dee Ito and Marshall Arisman

Dee Ito and Marshall Arisman

Ages: 65 and 64

Years married: 38

Occupations: Writer; painter, illustrator, and teacher

How did you know he was the one? We met when I was working on a children's book. I liked his illustrations, and he was really funny. I found out he liked his parents a lot, which was important because I liked my family. He was very direct. He was very good-looking, and that always helps. When we got married, there were very few racially mixed couples—I'm Japanese-American and he's Swedish-American—and when we walked down the street, people would look at us. But in a funny way we were oblivious, because we saw ourselves as so much the same: We both came from middle-class families and have one sibling; we both grew up in small towns.

What's made it last? The fact that we allow each other the space to do what we want to do is a major part of it.

Advice? Early on you want this person to know everything about you. You wait for him to recognize that you're in pain. It doesn't take long to figure out that people are not going to figure it out every time, no matter how sensitive they are. You have to ask for the attention you need. Also, you learn not to take everything as criticism; it's information. That means believing the other person loves you. That's no small thing.
Beth and Martin Johnson
Photo: Courtesy of Beth and Martin Johnson

Beth and Martin Johnson

Ages: 43 and 42

Years married: 20

Occupations: Independent school admissions director; counselor for disabled adults

How did you know he was the one? We were working at Roy Rogers the year after high school. I saw him and got goose bumps. But it was more about who he was on the inside. He's a deep thinker. He's slow to anger. He wanted to be part of my life. He's got the greatest smile and the cutest butt; calf muscles to die for. He came down the steps recently, had on jeans and an undershirt with no sleeves, and leaned on the banister, and I was like, "Ahhhh. Take me, I'm yours." He still does it for me.

What's made it last? The truth? The sex is phenomenal. We can't keep our hands off each other. Our children tell us, "Get a room." The older you get, the better it gets. You know more. Your bodies change and you get a bigger bed. And you make sure it doesn't squeak. We're both more patient. There are things I've done I'm not willing to have in print.

Advice? Keep everybody else out of your business. That's huge. If you need counseling, get an impartial person—not someone on his side of the family or one of your girlfriends. When the deal goes down at night, it's just the two of you.

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