Couple married for 80 years shares their secret to a happy life

By  | 

POWDERLY, Tex. (KXII) -- "Are you sure it's not 50 years? No, it's 80," said Linda Chaffin Reavis, daughter of Leroy and Fannie.

Leroy and Fannie Chaffin were married October 16, 1937, 80 years ago.

"Eighteen. She was fifteen." "Fifteen and eighteen," said Fannie and Leroy Chaffin.

It's the longest anyone's been married in Texas.

"They still take care of one another and live alone," said Earl Chaffin, son of Leroy and Fannie.

"We didn't know any better." "Well, you both got to work at it," said Fannie and Leroy.

They dated for almost three years before, well, they think Leroy proposed.

"I don't remember." "I don't either, honey," said Fannie and Leroy.

The Chaffins say marriage is a skill and love takes work.

"They laugh a lot," said Linda.

"She don't believe in fighting and arguing," said Cathie Emerson, Daughter of Leroy and Fannie.

"He'll say okay Mama, whatever you want," said Linda.

Their children, grand children, great grandchildren, all six generations live by Fannie's famous phrase.

"Love the ones that are here and pray for the ones that aren't," said Cathie.

"Our kids all respect us and they love us and that makes a difference," said Fannie.

That legacy of love lives on in the marriages that come after Fannie and Leroy's.

"I'm 43 years into my marriage," said Cathie.

"August we'll be married 55 and my other sister, in July she'll be married 55," said Linda.

"Both of my daughters are both married to the man that married to begin with. Neither one of them is divorced," said Donna Cartwright, Granddaughter of Leroy and Fannie.

The family says love is just built into their DNA.

"It's in their blood to make it last. It really is," said Donna.

The Chaffins make sure they hold each other up.

"What are y'all going to do when I can't walk anymore? And I said we'll carry you, that's what," said Linda.

And follow in the footsteps of this 80-year love story.

"If you just sit back and watch, they've always presented a perfect picture of what marriage is supposed to be and how to make it last," said Cathie.

"Love is enough if you have it and if you work at it," said Donna.