Three Columbia County couples who have been married for more than 50 years say Valentine's Day isn't about elaborate gifts.
To Dink and Mary Ann Robinson, Clarence and Geraldine Lowe and Gene and Beverly Gray, Valentine's Day is more about a sentimental greeting card and a good excuse to enjoy a fine meal together, they said.
The experts in matrimony, who have 153 years combined experience, said the secret to a long, blissful marriage isn't gifts.
"There's a lot of give and take," said Geraldine , who married her husband 51 years ago. "Everybody should compromise; young people today don't do that," she said.
"There's got to be love as the back of it, too," Clarence said. "It (marriage) ain't no one-sided thing. You've got to work at it."
Dink, who met his wife when he was 13 and she was 12, agrees.
"It seems like the younger generations, now, if they have a little spat they want to split up," he said.
But even an argument, Dink said, can lead to something good.
"Don't take everything to heart if you get in an argument," Dink said. "The best part of arguing is making up. You got to have an argument every now and then just to make up."
The Grays met in high school and travel to the mountains every year. One year while sitting in a swing, Gene began rubbing his wife's feet. Now, almost without thinking, Beverly said she puts her feet on her husband's lap and he shows his affection by massaging them.
The Grays said they found that the strength of their marriage lies in their Christian faith and in being a strong family.
"The Lord has been the center of our life," Beverly said. "I think that has a lot to do with keeping people together when you let him be the center of it."
The Lowes, who met at a friend's party when they were in high school, said they get through all of life's worries by working together.
"He's always there to help me do whatever has to be done," Geraldine said. "If there's something that has to be done we try to do it together."
The Robinsons, who have taken up travel since retirement, said they have learned each other so well in the years they've been married, they can almost read each other's minds.
It's just something that takes time, they said.
"He'll say something and I'll say that's just what I was thinking about," Mary Ann said. "Your heads, your minds, click together so you just know."
And most importantly? "I know when to leave him alone and he knows when to leave me alone," Mary Ann said with a laugh.
"I know when I've hit a nerve and when to shut up," Dink said with a wry smile.
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