In search of Canada’s longest married couple

By 
  • April 4, 2014

If you know a couple whose love has stood the test of time, Worldwide Marriage Encounter Canada wants to hear from you.

For the second year in a row, the marriage enrichment ministry is running a nationwide search for the longest married couple in Canada.

“We want to honour husbands and wives that work to keep their marriages vibrant,” said Connie McNeill, one of the organization’s national leaders. “We want to celebrate the fact that people do stay married.”

Last year’s winning couple, Alice and Arthur John, had been married for more than 77 years when they were selected.

To honour them, Worldwide Marriage Encounter representatives travelled to the couple’s hometown of Ross River, Yukon, to deliver a papal blessing certificate along with a certificate from the organization.

“We did a big celebration with them up there and we gave them a number of other small gifts which were appropriate for them, such as a blanket with the organization’s logo.

“They had already been celebrated in their parish by their bishop, but that bishop again decided that he would be part of the celebration. It really was a community-enriching event,” said McNeill.

The particular way in which the winners will be recognized depends on the couple’s circumstances.

“Sometimes, you may have couples who are living in a nursing home, couples who are living at home with their families or, for health reasons, aren’t necessarily living in the same building,” she said.

In their first year, they received approximately 80 nominations, she says.

“So that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t people out there who have been married longer,” McNeill said.

“It’s just that based on the nominations we receive, this is who we selected.”

The organization is hoping to find couples from each province and territory.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter is a Catholic organization, but McNeill said the nominations are open to couples regardless of whether or not they have a religious affiliation.

“To keep your relationship vibrant and alive does take work but it’s something that is very rewarding early in life and later in life as well.”

The search closes on April 30. To nominate a couple, e-mail longestmarriedcouple@yahoo.ca or call (604) 535-9621.

(Santilli is a freelance writer in Toronto.)

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