MERCER ISLAND - Gordon and Marilyn Mathis are still just as in love with each other today as a couple in their 90s, as they were when they were college sweethearts. And their story dates back even farther- they met in grade school! "We used to go ice skating at the Civic Arena," Marilyn tells us with a smile. When he was 16, and she was 15, "We went to a movie... and we've gone steady ever since!"
Now living in Aljoya Mercer Island, I ask them what made them fall in love with each other. Marilyn doesn't hesitate: "He had the most beautiful brown eyes. Oh! They were just outstanding... and I've never gotten over it! He's always been the only man in my life!"
"What made you fall in love with me?" Marilyn asks, turning to Gordon with a giggle.
"She was a real good-looking gal!" Gordon responds. I remind him that she's still pretty good looking- to which Gordon immediately smiles and adds, "For an older type!"
Watching the two of them together, it's easy to see that humor has been a huge part of their 71-year marriage. But it wasn't always easy. The two attended the University of Washington together, but in the middle of WWII, Gordon received his orders to ship out. He had just graduated; Marilyn still had her senior year to go. So she took some time off, and the two married on his base in Illinois, just before Gordon left for a year and Marilyn headed back to finish college.
After serving his country, Gordon went on to work for the FBI and ultimately Boeing, where he worked for 29 years. Both Marilyn and Gordon say they have lived a good life filled with interesting adventures; but they are most proud of their daughter and grandson.
So what is their advice to maintaining such a long-lasting relationship? "I think the one thing that keeps you going in your marriage is to have a sense of humor," Marilyn says. "You can't take things too seriously, but you have to compromise... we've had so many laughs, and our family is always telling jokes... and we've just had a fun life!"
Other advice? Be loyal to your family and friends; keep moving and do everything in moderation; and "a happy state of mind," Marilyn adds. "Try not to be negative. Try to be positive about things and see the best in people, instead of trying to criticize or find something wrong with the person or situation. Just try to be happy- it helps with so much!"
Do you know a couple from the "Wisest Generation" with a touching love story? Email us; we would love to share their journey and advice with our viewers! Email: email@example.com