Couple married 75 years: lasting love takes daily commitment

Couple married 75 years: lasting love takes daily commitment


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SOUTH JORDAN — On this Valentine’s Day, we all want to know, what’s the secret to lasting love? It’s something a South Jordan couple may just hold the key to.

Critical to their long-lasting marriage is daily dedication. They say it takes commitment to make love last.

“We’ve always treated each other as sweethearts,” said 96-year-old Wayne Ursenbach.

It’s something he and his wife, 93-year-old Bernice Ursenbach, know well.

“Wherever we walk, wherever we walk together, I’m holding her hand,” he said.

They live at Sagewood at Daybreak, a senior living community.

Bernice remembers the first time she saw Wayne in a chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the two were teens.

“Who’s the new priest on the sacrament table?” she remembers. “It was him,” she said.

A year later, they went steady.

“That was the girl I wanted to marry,” Wayne said.

Wayne was drafted into World War II. They married on a furlough and wrote to each other nearly every day.

Therapist Susan Hansen Porter, LCSW, said this kind of meaningful connection, even from afar, is vital.

“Couples that make an effort to elevate their spouse — through their words and actions — are couples that not only have sustainable love, but they’re in love,” said Porter, who is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah.

Keeping that love alive requires assuming your partner has your best interest at heart.

“I think it’s so important that when in doubt, you check it out verbally; you don’t want to make assumptions,” she said. “If you can respond, ‘Hey, I need a little bit more information. Gosh, I’d like to clarify what you meant by that.’ That’s going to take you down a much better path.”

Porter also said it’s important to own your mistakes and apologize.

“‘I’d like to take that back and try it over.’ Do-overs, we encourage that with our kids. I always say I need to encourage that with myself and my own partner,” she said.

The Ursenbachs agreed and said you always have to go back to that original commitment.

“Life changes, the world changes, everything changes,” Wayne said. “But you just have to remember that regardless of the changes, it’s still constant, that you’re going to be together.”

They celebrated a milestone few couples reach: 75 years of marriage, their diamond anniversary.

“But nobody gave us one diamond,” Wayne said.

Of the 178 infantry men in his company that fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, Wayne is one of 44 who survived.

Wherever we walk, wherever we walk together, I’m holding her hand.

–Wayne Ursenbach

For Bernice, this headline meant her husband was coming home.

“It said, ‘Germany Surrenders.’ That was the end of the war,” she said.

A love that survived war, distance, a large family and decades of change has grown into something they cherish even more today.

“If you’re married, plan to be married forever, and just be faithful to each other,” said Wayne. “Don’t pay attention to all the other garbage.”

Wayne and Bernice had seven children. They also have 33 grandchildren and 69 great grandchildren. Wayne has performed 700 weddings in Latter-day Saint temples.

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Heather Simonsen
Heather Simonsen is a five-time Emmy Award-winning enterprise reporter for KSL-TV. Her expertise is in health and medicine, drug addiction, science and research, family, human interest and social issues. She is the host and producer of KSL-TV’s Positively 50+ initiative.


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