DEAR ABBY: "Young and in Love" (Oct. 31) does not need to "defend" herself. Lots of folks who marry young have successful marriages. I was 20, and my wife was 21 when we married. My mother thought I was too young, but signed the paper giving us permission because I was underage in the state where we were married. That was 54 years ago.
Our secret is a personal commitment under God to each other to make it work during the difficult times as well as the good ones. -- 54 YEARS AND COUNTING, TIGERVILLE, S.C.
DEAR 54 YEARS AND COUNTING: Your letter expresses the sentiments of many readers. Commitment seems to be the common bond between couples who have long marriages -- some as long as 70 years. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Please let "Young and in Love" know that I, too, married at 20. My husband and I celebrated 24 years of marriage last month. Abby, your advice is right on. What matters most in a marriage isn't age. It's the willingness to work through whatever comes your way, no matter what it takes. What keeps us strong and still in love today is our faith and commitment to each other. -- LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT 24
DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Young." I, too, was married when I was 20. There were many naysayers -- even the priest. As he was marrying us he asked, "Are you sure you REALLY want to go through with this?" That was more than 26 years ago.
If you really love and respect one another, it can last. Get rid of the doubters in your life and surround yourself with positive people.
My husband and I are more in love today than we were all those years ago. He's my best friend. One of the perks of marrying young is having kids young. Then you get grandchildren sooner. If nothing else, stay together just to prove them wrong. -- STILL IN LOVE IN CRYSTAL BEACH, FLA.
DEAR ABBY: I met my wife Christmas caroling. My hands were cold and she warmed them (and my heart). I was 17; she was 14. We married when I was 22 and she was 19. Fifty-four years later, we are still together, and she warms my heart every morning when we wake up together. -- IN LOVE FOREVER, MAGNOLIA, DEL.
DEAR ABBY: Our college friends held a lottery betting how long our marriage would last. The longest bet was 18 months. Last August we decided to renew our vows in the same town and church where we were married 50 years ago. It was a very special ceremony made even more so when the priest asked the congregation to sing, "They Tried to Tell Us We're Too Young." -- BEEN THERE IN WAITSBURG, WASH.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I married when we were 19 and 17, without the support of family and friends. They all said it wouldn't last because we were too young, from broken homes and hadn't finished our educations.
Each wedding anniversary we would lift a glass and say, "It can't last," except for our most recent one last March. We lifted our glasses and said, "Happy 60th anniversary, Honey." Love can overcome anything. -- OLD AND LOVED, LANCASTER, PA.
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