Homer and Marylan Adkins of Bonifay have been sweethearts since 1951, and this year they celebrate 66 years of marriage. The length of the couple’s marital bliss is impressive, considering the average length of a marriage in the United States is between 8 and 12 years.

Covenant Care is providing hospice services for both Homer, who is now 91 and his wife. Members of his care team recently asked the couple to share their inspiring story and secrets for success.

They first met as teenagers at Marylan’s sister’s wedding, and their own marriage began seven years later when they eloped to Mississippi in 1952. Marylan was just 19 years old and Homer was 25. When asked how he felt about marrying a “younger woman,” he replied, “She was getting to be 19 and an old maid, so I had to snatch her up.”

Homer had enlisted in the U.S. Army just two hours after World War II began, and he also served in the Navy during the Korean War. Later, with $40 in his wallet, he and Marylan moved into their first apartment. Homer worked at the local navy base as a security officer, which became his occupation for the next 32 years. After raising their four children, Marylan taught special needs children in the Bay County school system for 13 years. In 2006, the couple returned to Bonifay to live at the farm where Homer’s family were sharecroppers.

In describing their years together, the couple says they, “Celebrate the joys and come together in our sorrows.” Their advice to other couples is to “keep God in the center and don’t go to bed mad.” They also advise being frugal in financial matters, saying, “Don’t go into debt too deep. It’s fun to work together and to work hard to get the things you want.” The couple didn’t buy new cars or a new house and were content with what they had.

“Our needs were always met,” they said.