"Love like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like no one is listening, live like it's heaven on earth."
- William Purkey
That's the kind of love Christine and Harry Magney have and have had for the past 75 years.
The Magneys - Christine, age 99, and Harry, age 100 - have been together longer than most couples could even imagine. They may have the record for being married the longest.
Christine and Harry, who both live at Good Samaritan Society-Woodland in Brainerd, will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary Thursday. They were married Nov. 18, 1935, in Hudson, Wis.
So what's the couple's secret of their everlasting love? They say it is their faith in God that has kept them together for so long.
"I couldn't ask for a better husband," said Christine. "He's been the most wonderful husband ever. He's never been mad at me or swore at me or lifted his hand at me. He has always been kind and loving."
Harry, who has dementia and lives in the nursing care unit at Woodland, was a man of few words when asked to describe his feelings for Christine. However he said, "I love her and I always will."
Christine said people used to always joke around with Harry about why he kept her around for so long. She said he'd always tell them, "If she wasn't a good cook I would have gotten rid of her a long time ago."
Christine said she and Harry have been together for so long because they've always respected each other and have gotten along.
The Magneys met in Big Lake when Christine was 15. She went to a friend's farm and met Harry, then 16, who was working on the farm, planting potatoes by hand. They dated for about a year and then went their separate ways. About five years later, they met up again and later married.
When the couple got married, the sun shined through the glass doors and onto them. Christine said the pastor then said to her, "As the sun shines on the bride, you'll live a long and happy life."
The couple have had other good signs of their love along the way. A few years after they married, they were at a festival in Milaca and they paid 25 cents to have their palms read by a fortune teller. The fortune teller examined each of their hands, then predicted the couple would share a long life together.
The couple has survived three tornadoes and a house fire that destroyed their farm home in Big Lake. The couple survived a car accident that nearly killed Christine on May 15, 2004. Christine was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale where doctors at one point pronounced her dead. She said her heart stopped two times and she spent 25 days in the hospital. She then went to a Little Falls nursing home, where she recovered from her injuries, which included two broken vertebrae in her back. It wasn't until Sept. 4, 2004, that she was able to return home to Harry, who also was injured in the accident. His injuries weren't as life threatening as Christine's.
Christine said after the vehicle accident was when Harry's health began to decline. Harry began forgetting things and he'd fall down and she wasn't able to lift him back up. Christine had to seek help and that's why Harry now stays in the nursing unit at Woodland, while she stays in her assisted living apartment.
"Seeing Harry like this is hard for me to deal with," said Christine as she took Harry's hand. "He's been such a good man and he shouldn't have to deal with this ... I think this is God's way of testing me to see if I'd divorce him, but that will never happen."
Christine says she visits Harry every night and they enjoy playing Tri-Ominos and dice games. Christine said she is thankful that Harry still knows who she is.
Before Christine married Harry, she was married to another man and they had a daughter and son, who became part of Christine and Harry's family. The couple later adopted another son, who died in 1998. The couple is blessed with many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Christine said several people call her and Harry their mom and dad and their grandparents, including Christine's Senior Companion, Arlene Boesch.
"I adopted Harry first, but after my mom died I adopted Christine as my adopted mom," said Boesch. "I've known them since 1991. They're a nice couple, caring and kind."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.