Couple in Florida celebrates their 80th wedding anniversary

In the United States, the average length of a marriage is only eight years.

So it’s a reason to celebrate when a couple’s love story and commitment to each other spans decades.

Frank and Tommie Otway have been married for 80 years now.


The man and woman who live on their own in Orange City, Florida, met when they were teenagers and lived in the same East Orange, New Jersey, apartment building.

They never turned around.

Tommie told FOX 35 Orlando, “Well, it all started in East Orange, New Jersey, and now we’re wrapping up in Orange City.”

When they lived in the same New Jersey apartment building, they ran into each other. One of their first dates was a trip to New York City, where Tommie said, “He would buy me a 5-cent orange drink and a 10 cent hot dog.”

On February 6, 1942, Frank, who was 18, and Tommie, who was 16, ran away together.

Frank served in the U.S. Marines before he and his wife had children.

They had five kids, but all of them have died.

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

There are more than 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren in their family right now.


So, since most marriages don’t last 10 years, how did Frank and Tommie make it to be one of the longest?

Their friendship has stayed strong over the years because of four words.

“Christ, we have to have Jesus in our lives, and I say commitment,” Tommie said.

They also believe in talking to each other and being kind.

The couple had a party at a nearby restaurant to mark their 80th wedding anniversary. When Frank turns 99 in March, they will have their next party.