Marriages that last 70 years or more are a rarity in U.S. society thanks to changing trends. However, one high-profile couple has won the Longest Married Couple Project in the state of Texas.
According to a press release issued by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara won the Longest Married Couple Project in Texas. The organization listed their hometown as College Park, Texas.
"We are truly excited and amazed at the number of couples married 70 years or more and there were several with 60 plus years of marriage," Ron and Judy Pekny, the United States Leadership Team for WWME, said.
The Peknys added that over 375 nominations were submitted to the Longest Married Couple Project. It is an annual event that has occurred for the past five years and is sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, or WWME.
"This year we had couples married much shorter times who wanted to make the Longest Married Couple Project something they could focus on in their marriages for the future," the Peknys said.
According to WWME, the elder Bush couple was nominated in early January 2015, when they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Amber Ferguson of the Huffington Post elaborated on how they first met.
"The couple met in 1941 at a dance while Barbara was home from boarding school during Christmas break," Ferguson wrote. "The two were married Jan. 6, 1945, in Rye, New York."
Ferguson added that they have six children, which included former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who may consider a run for the presidency in 2016.
"Even after so many years, these lovebirds still show their public affection for each other," Ferguson wrote. "In November, they were caught smooching on the kiss cam at a Houston Texans game."
Yuma Sun editor Roxanne Molenar elaborated on the milestone the former president and his wife reached.
"It's astounding to think of all the Bushes have shared together in 70 years," Molenar wrote. "They met as teenagers - he was 17, she was 16 - and together they've raised a family, lost a child to leukemia, served in the White House - which is a stress in and of itself - and then watched as their son served as Commander in Chief."
Molenar added that she admired "the work it must have taken to get there." Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the senior Bush, commented on the couple's love toward each other during their 69th anniversary.
"They're just so clearly still in love and devoted to one another," McGrath said. "They're two people, but they're really one person."
McGrath added that the famous American pair "treat each other with love and deference, as well as a healthy amount of teasing."
The outspoken Barbara Bush best summed up their long-lasting relationship.
"I think we grew together," she said. "I think that when you have a child die and you survive, and you've been through a war and you survive, and you build a business and you survive, you either grow apart or together. We always turned to each other."
WWME noted that as winners of the project, the former president and his wife are now automatically members of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Longest Married Couple Project Alumni group.