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Secret To Being Married 78 Years? Say 'Honey, I Still Love You'

Wilbur and Theresa Faiss of Las Vegas have been married for more than 78 years — an accomplishment that's generating headlines this week about them being the nation's "longest-married couple."

That isn't quite right. As the Las Vegas Review-Journal has explained, a couple in New Mexico will celebrate their 83rd anniversary on Feb. 14, and at least two other American couples "have been married more than 80 years."

But we don't want to nitpick about records. What we want to focus on is what Wilbur Faiss says are among the secrets to being married so long.

"Every day ask her how she feels and 'Is there anything I can do for you?' " he tells the Review-Journal. "And say, 'Honey, I still love you.' "

Among his other tips: Don't smoke or drink; surprise her with gifts; and usually be the first one to say "I apologize dear. You are right."

Truly, words of the wise.

He's now 100. Theresa Faiss is 96 and, according to her husband, doesn't talk much anymore except to him or their three sons.

They're this year's honorees of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter's Longest Married Couple Project.

President Obama, by the way, was set to mention the couple when he visited Las Vegas last week. But, Wilbur tells local Fox5Vegas, "I'm a lot slower than I was at 90," and they didn't make it to the president's event on time. Without them in the audience, the White House decided to omit the mention — but has "promised to return and give [them] the recognition," the station reports.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.