Life lessons from a couple still in love after 63 years

Jessica Kait Photography

Nancy and L.C. Trexler met in 1950 at a high school basketball game. Their first date was to a school play, and after two years, they were married.

Four children and 63 years later, the Trexlers, both 81, have marriage advice that’s relevant for couples of any age, whether they’re just starting out or hitting a rough patch a decade in.

Quality time, not money, makes for a happy marriage: The Trexlers struggled financially in their first few years of marriage. “We went three and a half years without an automobile,” says L.C., who had to “thumb” to work, where he climbed and fixed telephone poles for what was then Southern Bell. So in lieu of regular fancy dinners on the town, Nancy cooked a family dinner and they played board games with the kids.

Even when they weren’t struggling, they didn’t take lavish vacations to Europe every summer. They mostly traveled domestically, along the East Coast. But the relationships they built with their children when money was tight have been a precious gift for decades since.

Find wholesome mutual hobbies: For a decade, one of L.C. and Nancy’s favorite pastimes was square dancing, and nearly everywhere they went had a square-dancing contingent they could meet up with.

“There was no drinking, no cussing, just a good environment to be in,” Nancy says.

Though they aren’t able to square dance anymore, for health reasons, the couple now make jams and preserves together. Nancy—who calls herself L.C.’s sous chef—does the chopping., while L.C. does the mixing and works the canners.

The power of handholding: In their dating days, Nancy and L.C. would walk hand in hand around downtown Salisbury.  L.C. says he did it to keep Nancy from shopping. She laughs, but adds: touch is powerful.

“We’ve always loved holding hands and still do,” Nancy says. “We still get comments about us holding hands.”

They hold hands on front-porch swings. When they pray together. At night, before they slip into sleep. “And when we go to bed, I lay on his shoulder,” Nancy says, “just touching and loving.”