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So happy together

Created date

January 29th, 2009

With the divorce rate nearing 60%, it seems many Americans could stand to take a lesson on how to stay happily married. Couples like Will and Doris Porter are living proof that it can be done! Married 43 years, the Porters attest that lots of love and a little patience go a long way. "You have to be friends and have love for one another," says Mr. Porter. "Sure, you re going to have your differences, but the secret is to have respect for each other's feelings."


The Porters met in the workplace after losing their spouses to illness at an early age. "I think the fact that we were in similar circumstances brought us together," Mr. Porter says. The two eventually married and blended their families, four kids ranging in age from 12 to 19. "They took it very well," he says. "From that point on, they considered each other brothers and sisters." Although the Porters have encountered rough times losing two of their adult daughters to the same genetic disease their father suffered from their faith and commitment to one another have carried them through the last four decades. "One of Will s greatest qualities is his upbeat personality and positive attitude," says Mrs. Porter. "If you re ever in a bad mood, he ll get you out of it." The Porters celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at Oak Crest, where they have lived for the last 12 years. "Living at Oak Crest has allowed us to be happy in our marriage," says Mrs. Porter. "We have more time to enjoy each other s company. We feel so lucky."

Viva Las Vegas

For their 40th wedding anniversary, John and Mary Oxenham renewewed their marriage vows in Sin City, Las Vegas. "We always laugh about the fact that we went to the nation s divorce capital to celebrate our anniversary," says Mrs. Oxenham. "But we wanted to do something special. John suggested renewing our wedding vows, and I agreed on one condition: that Elvis performed at the ceremony." So 40 years to the day, the Oxenhams were remarried in the Graceland Chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard by the King himself. "Elvis presented me with a rose, walked me down the aisle, and sang two songs," says Mrs. Oxenham. "We recited standard Elvis vows: I had to promise not to step on John s blue suede shoes, and John had to promise to be my hunk of burning love." The nuptials were a far stretch from the originals back in 1968. The Oxenhams met in the Air Force; Mary was a nurse and John was a pilot during the Vietnam War. They married in an intimate ceremony in Georgia, Mary wearing a wedding dress she handmade. This June, the Oxenhams only daughter will tie the knot. "We tried to convince her to come along with us and get married by Elvis, but she thought we were completely out of our minds," Mrs. Oxenham laughs. When asked what advice she ll give to her daughter, Mrs. Oxenham responds, "I won t give any. I think it s a lot of luck. There is no fairy-tale relationship or Prince Charming. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make it work."