One size doesn't fit all: Secrets of successful marriage vary by couple - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

One size doesn't fit all: Secrets of successful marriage vary by couple

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Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2010 3:00 am

Peg and Marc Mowry credit their similar interests and spending lots of time together as the secret to their 58-year marriage.

Betty and Art Hawkins said they’ve learned to end arguments quickly and not to place too many demands on each other in their 64-year marriage.

While Mary and Bernard “Buck” Weber said the secret to their 73-year marriage is agreeing on most things and spending time apart during work travels.

Whatever the reasons, these three couples have mastered their long relationships and are a testament to the sanctity of marriage.

They are a part of 140 couples married more than a half a century living at Friendship Village, a Tempe retirement community. Each year, the community celebrates the anniversaries of its long-married couples.

Forty-three of the 140 couples have celebrated their 60th anniversary, and nine have been married at least 70 years.

Peg and Marc Mowry, both 82, met as seniors in their Indianapolis high school. Although they went to different colleges and Marc entered the Air Force, they kept in touch and married six years later.

“We were just meant to be,” said Peg Mowry, a former ticket agent with Trans World Airlines in New York City. “You just have to be yourself and love your mate.”

The two enjoy spending a lot of time together, and both volunteer at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, The Southwest Archaeology Team and at Friendship Village’s health care center. They also like birding and traveling.

“We just do everything together,” said Marc Mowry, who retired as a base controller at Williams Air Force Base after serving 29 years.

Betty, 86, and Art Hawkins, 87, met at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Betty’s maiden name is Hawk, so the two were seated next to each other in class. They soon learned their fathers also worked for the same telephone company.

The two started dating a year later. She liked that he played football, and he found her easy to talk to.

Art entered the Army, traveled around the world for three years, and then married Betty when he came back to finish school.

“We understand each other and tolerate one another,” Art said. “We also terminate our arguments quickly. And I’m easy to live with.”

The Hawkins are proud they have no divorces in their family of two children, seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

“We just love each other,” Betty said. Art quoted “Phantom of the Opera” — “Love me, that’s all I ask of you.”

Mary, 89, and Bernard “Buck” Weber, 93, met in front of Good Samaritan Hospital. What Mary thought was their first date turned out to be a blind date with another guy. However, the two finally started dating and married a year later.

Mary said she liked Buck because he was the first guy she dated who had a job, a car and went to school. Buck thought Mary was cute, nice and a good dancer.

The two have had an interesting life together. Buck was a referee for professional wrestling matches, a masseur at the Arizona Club, and the two started making swing sets and outdoor furniture with their Outdoor Equipment company.

Buck then began learning the water well drilling business and started Weber Drilling in 1955, which one of their two sons now owns. Mary was the company’s office manager.

“We like to travel and we like to dance,” said Mary, who also has four grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. “We belonged to a square dance club. But Buck’s work took him out of town a lot.”

Unlike the Mowrys, the Webers said their marriage lasted because they were away from each other and have different interests.

“You take it one day at a time,” said Mary, a native Arizonan. “We had all the ups and downs everyone else had. But Buck was easy to get along with, and I learned patience from him.”

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