The key to making love last: Longtime couples share advice, reflect on memories

Two Grand Strand couples have been married for a combined 130 years. They say a secret is compassion. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)

Valentine's Day is a holiday meant to show appreciation. Many people choose to give heartwarming gifts, like chocolates, flowers and cards.

It's also a day to look back at relationships fueled by love. Two couples from the Grand Strand with more than 130 years together say the key is compassion.

Robert and Elaine Cooperman said "I do" more than six decades ago.

"Last September was 66 (years)," said Robert. "(It's been) a lifetime," said Elaine, with a smile.

It all started after a house party in New Jersey, love at first sight.

"I saw her across the room. I looked at her and I said, 'That's the girl for me,'" said Robert.

They were busy, both worked long hours. Over the years, how did they make it last?

"You have to have the same self-interests. Bob and I both like to play cards. We like to play bridge," said Elaine.

Down the hall at Brookdale Conway, Ramona still wears the wedding band her husband gave her 70 years ago.

"It's no easy road, but it's a fun road," she said.

You may make each other upset, "Never go to bed mad," said Ramona. "If you don't settle a spat, just forget about it. Mark that one off and just go to bed and start off the next morning."

If that's not enough, the secret to a successful marriage also relies on common courtesy.

"To my recollection, any time I went to the bathroom, I always put down the seat when I'm finished. Never left it up," said Robert, laughing.

Robert and Elaine celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary in September. Elaine and Lewis will celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary in April.

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