The Kohlers of Indio, California, recently celebrated their 86th wedding anniversary, making them the country’s oldest married couple. Ralph and Dorothy Kohler recently enjoyed a moment in their lives that very few others could ever experience.
In 1935, when Ralph, 104, and Dorothy, 103, were 18 and 17 years old, they married in Tekamah, Nebraska. A court officer denied them a marriage license because the pair was too young to marry, however that only delayed Ralph and Dorothy for a short time. Undeterred they soon found another way, exchanged vows, and have been together ever since.
The two has learnt what works and what doesn’t in their relationship over time. Drinking and smoking aren’t helpful, but allowing their spouse to pursue their interest is.
“Love for one thing, and we enjoy the same thing. And if we didn’t, we accepted it,” Ralph told WOWT. “Dorothy loves ballroom dancing, and I loved shooting clay targets. I joined her with ballroom dancing, and she joined me with trap shooting.”
The couple have been flooded with cards, gifts and well-wishes from their community.
The Kohlers don’t have long to go to break a Guinness world record for marriage longevity. Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher of New Bern, North Carolina, at the time of Herbert’s death in 2011, had been married for 86 years, 290 days.
The Bible speaks in several places as to what it takes for a successful marriage. Ephesians 5:22-33 (ESV) is worth quoting in this regard:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
Ralph and Dorothy’s 86-year marriage is proof that Scripture’s call for submission and respect in marriage yields great fruit.