The secret to making a marriage last? A couple celebrating 80 years together say it's these 4 things

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Frank and Tommie Otway. Screenshot via Fox 35 Orlando.
Frank and Tommie Otway. Screenshot via Fox 35 Orlando.
  • In today's world, marriage doesn't always last, and it's worth the celebration when it does.
  • This Orange City couple celebrated 80 years of marriage at an oyster bar.
  • They shared that Christ, commitment, compassion and communication kept them together.


Some people fall in love at first sight, and others need a little more time to develop their feelings. For one couple, it’s more about how strong their bond has grown for eight decades. "We argued every day because he would say about 5 times a day how much he loves me. And I would argue back that I love him more."

Frank and Tommie Otway celebrated 80 years of marriage with a big party at Nice n’ Easy Oyster Bar in Orange City, Fox 35's Nestor Mato reports. 

"Well, it all started in East Orange, New Jersey, and here we are in Orange City, ending it up," said Tommie.

80 years of marriage

READ MORE | WATCH | Married 5 decades: 300 couples gather to celebrate 50th wedding anniversaries

Frank was 18, and Tommie was 16 when they eloped on 6 February 1942 after meeting in the New Jersey apartment building where they both lived. They took the train to New York City for one of their first dates.

"He would buy me a 5-cent orange drink and a 10-cent hot dog," she said. Frank was a basketball player who served three years in the US Marines before they started a family. It wasn’t always the perfect love story. The two have out-lived all five of their children and even some of their grandchildren.

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"We had our precious five children, but the Lord thought they were more precious, and he took them to be with him," said Tommie.

Now living in Orange City, they are surrounded by more than 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They say the four C’s kept them together.

READ MORE | 5 celebrity couples who recently celebrated their wedding anniversaries

"Christ, we have to have Jesus in our lives, and I say commitment."

The other two, Tommie says, are communication and compassion. Their dining room table is filled with letters, including one from Governor Ron DeSantis congratulating them on 80 years.

"I'd like people to remember us sitting back to back, supporting and loving one another," said Tommie.

There is yet another celebration coming up: Frank turns 99 in March.


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