As the wise Haddaway once sang…’what is love?’ Sure, he may have sung it with a little more pazazz and rhythm than us, but the sentiment is still there. Nevertheless, the question of love, what it is, how we find it and how we keep it have plagued the human race for thousands of years – and to be honest, we’re not that much closer to cracking the answer.
Over the course of our lifetimes, many of us had two avenues in which to learn about love; our parents and our favorite celebrities. However, these are not often the most reliable sources of information. In today’s day and age, the rate of divorce is skyrocketing upwards every single year – in fact, as the 20th Century came to a close, around 43% to 46% of marriages ended in separation and divorce (which doesn’t leave a lot of hope for future generations).
This way of life is slowly being transferred to the next generation, which you’ll understand if you are one the kids who were brought up with divorced parents (although there were extra presents, so yay). So, if you’re brought up in that kind of lifestyle, it can be easy to try and find solace in our favorite celebrity couples. Unfortunately, as we all know, celebs are the worst ones of all – remember Britney Spears and Jason Alexander’s 55-hour marriage?
But luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom for us love obsessed wannabes, as there have been some incredible love stories of impressive couples over the years. Throughout history, there have been millions of marriages that have stood the test of time – we just don’t hear about them because divorces are so much more dramatic and entertaining (apparently). Thankfully, we’re here to change that and prove that everlasting love does exist and that there’s hope for all of us. Our story starts with a couple who have been married for a whopping 83 years and are still in love. Want to know their secrets? Read on…
We all know the phrase, ‘til death do us part’ but one couple has taken this to a new level. Yep, Helen and Maurice have now broken the records of love (awww) and have become one of the longest-running couples in the United Kingdom. These lovebirds first met when they were teenagers, and the 105-year-old Maurice is still utterly in love with his 104-year-old Helen. This story is enough to make your cold, icy heart melt (trust us, we know what we’re talking about).
The year was 1929
So where did their epic love story begin? Well, the year was 1929 – and the world was none the wiser about the upcoming war just a decade later. The world was shrouded in the Great Depression after the devastating Wall Street Crash, and Ernest Hemingway published A Farewell to Arms – his famous piece of work that followed the lives of those in WW1. However, something much more important was about to happen; as Maurice was soon to set eyes on Helen.
When they first met
In 1929, Helen and Maurice were both teenagers, who were working for their family businesses to make ends meet. Maurice was a traveling salesman when he just happened to venture into Helen’s family shop in London. Although his visit was meant to be an in-and-out visit, Maurice stayed in the shop for three hours, besotted with the beauty in front of him. His future mother-in-law finally prompted the lingerer to leave. She looked to her daughter and said, ‘who’s going to throw him out, you or me?’ They don’t make them like that anymore…
The man with a car
Initially, Helen wasn’t overly impressed with the man in front of her. However, after realizing Maurice had a car – her head seemed to perk up. At the time, it was very rare for anyone who wasn’t exceedingly rich to own a car, which made Maurice even more interesting (well, we don’t blame her). By the end of their first meeting, Helen and Maurice had struck up a bond, and Maurice wanted a little more from the beautiful shop worker.
Back in the day, couples would often court before taking their relationship to the next level. Unlike modern couples, there was more to it than simply offering the chance to ‘Netflix and Chill.’ Maurice would spend time with Helen and their family, and they ultimately courted for a whopping four years before Maurice popped the question. Their courtship was longer than the average couple, as Helen’s mother wanted her eldest daughter to marry before Helen got hitched.
Their wedding day
Helen and Maurice Kaye eventually became lifelong partners in the Borough Synagogue in London, in 1934. In a recent interview with the BBC, the couple reflected on their wedding day – which seemed like one of the longest, most exciting days of their lives. They said their vows at one o’clock in the afternoon, and then spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying a six-course wedding breakfast and dancing the night away with their friends and family. Sounds magical.
Could it last?
Of course, the main question on everyone’s lips during the wedding was – ‘will it last?’ Well, it seems that question was even on Maurice’s lips. Ever the joker and the comedian, Maurice was asked how long he thought he could keep up his marriage to Helen. His response was that he didn’t even think she could put up with him for a week! Luckily, she’s *just* about managed to keep his silliness under wraps for a few years. And when we say a few years, we mean 83…
During the war
After their wedding day, Maurice took over the ownership of his father’s shops and factory. However, a few years into their marriage, their relationship and their livelihood was put to the test. As the Second World War plagued the UK and the rest of the world, Maurice left his shop and factory in the competent hands of his wife and volunteered himself into the British Army. He trained as a physical training instructor and enlisted in 1939.
A drastic move
Maurice served in the Army for many years, and even spent two years in Iceland – but thankfully, returned home safe and sound in 1944. Unfortunately, that was when their luck took a turn for the worst. That same year, both their home and their factory was caught in the middle of the crossfire and was destroyed by bomb blasts. With little left for them in London, the loved-up couple decided to move out of the city and set up camp in Bournemouth, Dorset.
Starting a family
As the couple formed a new life for themselves by the sea, they opened the first of many women’s clothing shops (they did pretty well for themselves over the years) and ten years later, decided to join in with the Baby Boom. The couple knew they wanted a family, and soon welcomed their first son into the world, Anthony. Just a few years later, they welcomed a second son into the world, a baby boy they called Larry. They also had two more children later on.
However, their family suffered a tragedy when Anthony was just four and a half. Their beloved was visibly ill, but doctors just could not pinpoint the cause of his ill-health. Although they believed the youngster to have measles, he had a burst appendix – which soon resulted in his death. Maurice and Helen were absolutely devastated at the loss of their child, and Helen even tried to take her own life. Despite her broken heart, Helen’s attempt was unsuccessful.
Luck or fate?
As they continued to spend every waking hour with each other and reach impressive milestones as a married couple, Helen and Maurice’s long-standing marriage caught the attention of major media outlets around the world. In 2004, as they reached their 80th wedding anniversary, they were interviewed by the BBC. During this interview, they were asked whether their incredible marriage was down to luck or fate. Maurice wasted no time in stating his view; he thought it was fate that he was lucky enough to spend 80 years with the love of his life. Helen, on the other hand, could not decide whether it was luck or fate. We think it’s a bit of both.
Whenever anyone hears of their impressive marriage, most people have the same question – ‘how do you do it?’ Helen maintains that a good marriage is all about tolerance. Although they are incredibly similar in their humor and their beliefs, both Maurice and Helen do have their differences. In her eyes, you need to be tolerant to the one you love. You need to understand your differences and work it out between you – otherwise, you’ll be doomed from the start!
The art of agreeing
However, if you ask Maurice how they’ve managed to maintain their marriage for so long, he’ll have a pretty different answer. According to Maurice, it’s all about the art of agreeing. If his wife says something, he will automatically agree with her (even if he doesn’t really agree with her) for peace of mind and an easy life. If he ever disagrees, you can guarantee they’ll have an argument – which is not what he wants. Well, that sounds pretty accurate to us, Maurice…
The secret to marriage
As they delve deeper into their tips and tricks for a healthy married life, they are often asked whether there is a secret to marriage – because we all want to learn from the best! However, the couple doesn’t think there is a secret. For them, it’s all about tolerance, happiness, laughter, and being forever content with each other. They will never go to bed angry, and they will always sort out their problems before they escalate. If couples can do that, they’re on course for a healthy and happy marriage.
A true romantic
In today’s day and age, we’re constantly bombarded with images of the ‘true romantic’ who waits for his wife at the airport with a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates (we’ve all seen the videos on social media – and cried a little). But for Maurice and Helen, their romance isn’t based on these material goods. Instead, Maurice shows his love and compassion for his wife, not by spending money, but spending quality time with her and putting her feelings about his own. Yep, that’s pretty cute…
Nothing is secret
Want to know another insight into the secret of a long marriage? Well, there are no secrets! According to Maurice and Helen, they have never had any secrets from each other throughout their whole 83 years of marriage. This way, they know everything about each other and can love each other for who they are and what they believe in. If they are always honest, they can always solve their problems if they ever arise (which isn’t very often).
Keeping it stylish
As much as Helen and Maurice top the scales on the adorable charts, they do have their differences. Although they love to spend most of their time together and grow as a couple, they do know the importance of having time to themselves every once in awhile. So, Maurice will go off and do his thing, while Helen will keep it stylish with a trip to the hair salon. She’ll come back with a brand new ‘do, a fresh set of nails, and a little break from her husband. Perfect.
Staying together for life
Helen and Maurice have been incredibly lucky to have spent the last 83 years as a married couple. They have spent (nearly) every waking hour together, experienced momentous occasions with each other, and passed incredible milestones as a couple. So, when they were asked whether more people should consider marrying from a young age and staying together for life, their answer was simple. Of course, it was a resounding yes! They want others to see how truly special it can be to spend your time with the love of your life.
A loving family
Over the course of their relationship, Maurice and Helen haven’t just kept the love to themselves – and have shared their warm and loving hearts with their family. However, their family suffered another tragic blow in 1991 when their 30-year-old daughter, Lesley, died. The couple now has two surviving children, and have vowed to put all of their time and energy to them, as well as their seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Bet that’s an expensive Christmas.
The elder years
As the couple has grown older and their children have raised their own families, the couple had to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. They still love living in Bournemouth, but the 104 and 105-year-old did not want to reside themselves in a care home. Instead, they decided to live independently and buy their own little flat. They now split their time between seeing their friends and family and playing Bridge in their living room.
Their first row
Although they have now been together for 83 years, Maurice and Helen Kaye have rarely fought with each other. Of course, like all couples, they have their squabbles and their petty niggles, but they have never openly disagreed about major issues – until now. According to a recent interview, Maurice and Helen had their first major row in 2016 over their views on Britain leaving the European Union. Uh-Oh, we hope they’ve sorted it out now…
Despite their argument, the couple has still continued to inspire people across the world with their incredible story – not least their own family. Their son, daughter, and grandchildren all look up to the couple, and one of their sons believes he has cracked their secret to success; they set targets. Throughout their lives, Maurice and Helen have wanted to see their children grow up, as well as their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. These targets have helped them live a long, and healthy life.
Not the only ones
However, Maurice and Helen don’t hold the record for the longest-running marriage in the world – that title went to Karam and Kartari Chand. The couple lived in West Yorkshire, England and were married for an incredible 90 years and 291 days! The adorable couple had not met each other before they were married. Instead, they were put together through an arranged marriage in 1925, when Karam was just 20 years old. Thankfully, the whole thing was a huge success…
An incredible marriage
Over the course of their marriage, Karam and Kartari never argued, and would always sort out any issues they had with each other there and then (we could learn a thing or two from these guys). They lived to see four generations of their family grow up, and had an extremely happy, and healthy life. Unfortunately, Karam passed away at 110-years-old in October 2016 and left behind his 103-year-old wife in the loving hands of their beloved family. What an inspiration.