Madrid, Spain, Feb 16, 2017 / 08:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News) – Eulogio Martínez and Martina Abian are 100 and 95 years-old, respectively.
They were married Nov. 26, 1942, in Guadalajara, Spain, and they will soon celebrate their 75th anniversary. On the occasion of World Marriage Day, which coincides with the feast of Saint Valentine, the Marriage Encounter movement gave them the “2017 Lifetime of Love” award.
But in a world where nuptial unions fall tragically apart – or increasingly fail to happen in the first place – how did this couple stay married, and happily at that?
In an interview with the Spanish ABC daily, Eulogio and Martina both agreed that the key to success that keeps them together and in love after 75 years is “patience” and above all, “loving each other a lot.”
“People don’t put up with anything, with the slightest trouble, it’s over,” Martina lamented. In fact, she finds herself baffled at how marriages can break up so quickly: “We always discuss things, and why not? … You have to have patience.”
Eulogio recalled when they started going out together – she was 18 and he was 23. “I asked her if we could have a relationship and I realized that she had already been looking forward to it,” he laughed.
“Yes, it’s true, I liked him a lot,” Martina responded, “he was very handsome, very formal, he captivated me. He’s 100 years old and look at him!”
They got married a year later. “It was a really big day, as it is for all engaged couples in love that marry – not like today, where people get married and then just change spouses,” Martina said.
They had seven children. Eulogio joined the Civil Guard, a police force in Spain, and because of his work and promotions he had to move several times. “I went with him everywhere,” Martina told ABC.
After a lifetime together, they said they were sure “they couldn’t live without each other,” not because it is a routine, or they are used to it, but because of love. One of their children told the newspaper that Martina recently had a hip operation and Eulogio could not wait to visit her at the hospital.
Even though they still have a lot of energy, Eulogio said that he would prefer “to go before she does so she can enjoy life and look for another man.” Martina laughed, but insisted, “I’m dying with him, there’s no body else like him.”
Marriage Encounter said that Eulogio and Martina “are proof that love can last a lifetime.”
“It’s not a question of luck: You have to want to love, to cultivate the relationship, to work through those differences that any couple has. And also it’s that you can learn to love well,” they said in a statement.
The witness of these spouses stands out in Spain when, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics, during 2015, more than 100,000 spouses separated, divorced or obtained an annulment.
Marriage Encounter is a Catholic movement that offers a “Special Weekend” as an experience that contributes to the couple strengthening their love and deepening their relationship. It is open to couple of any religion and also non-believers.
Every year Marriage Encounter gives “A Lifetime of Love” awards to the longest married couples to demonstrate that it is possible to have just one love and have it forever.
Marriage Encounter is present in more than 100 countries and the five continents. Each year, more than 30,000 couples throughout the world are able to renew their love thanks to this experience.