birds-2417167_960_720What is the key to a successful marriage? Conventional wisdom would suggest that the key is communication, trust or respect. The oldest married couple in the world, however, suggested something different. According to a Japanese couple who have been married for 80 years, the key is patience.

Masao and Miyako Matsumoto have been married for more than 80 years. The couple married in October 1937 but were never able to have a wedding. In 1937, Japan was headed into World War II and Masao was, like so many young men, sent overseas as a soldier. The lack of a traditional wedding, however, has not stopped the two from ending up in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest married couple still living. Masao is 108 years old, and Miyako is 100. The couple currently lives in a nursing home where they posed to have their pictures taken with the Guinness World Record certificate.
“I am so glad. It’s thanks to my patience, really,” Miyako said with a laugh as she and her husband were photographed. “I believed that there would be better times ahead so I endured it. I went through tough times, too…I am so grateful it brings me to tears.”
In addition to their long marriage, the Matsumotos also ended up having a large family after the end of World War II. Their 25th great-grandchild was born recently.
Miyako and Masao are far from the only people with three digits in their age in Japan. As a nation, Japan has the second longest life expectancy in the world with an average lifespan of 84 years. Hong Kong has the highest life expectancy in the world but only by a slim margin over Japan. This shows in the Matsumotos who are both very elderly but were still smiling and holding hands when they were given the award.
“They’ve entered the last chapter of their life,” said their daughter Hiromi. “It was an honor [for them] to receive this award. I would love them to continue living a peaceful life.”
Given their long and successful marriage, it is unlikely that things will change for this couple in their twilight years. One can only hope that others look to their example and learn to be patient enough for their own marriages to truly endure the test of time.

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