Flushing, MI (WJRT) — Betty (aka Elizabeth) and Don (aka Ernest) Harbin celebrated 73 years of marriage on May 25, 2019. Little did they know, their daughter-in-law had nominated them to be the longest married couple in Michigan.
The two were recently honored with a certificate from the Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a pro-marriage organization, through its Longest Married Couple Project (LMC).
The Harbins were married in 1946 in Flint at St. Michael’s, not too long after Don came home from serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He said he wasn’t nervous at all that day.
“Yeah, I was looking forward to it,” Don said.
But how they came to be is something that they can laugh about now.
“His brother brought him to a school dance and I knew his brother, and I met him there. I was going with his brother, but he made the mistake of introducing me to this man,” Betty said.
The Flushing couple now has a certificate from the Worldwide Marriage Encounter and a congratulatory letter from Senator Ken Horn. The two were also honored at their church, St. Michael’s in Flushing, last month. Betty admits they’re probably not the longest married couple in Michigan, but since they were nominated, she’s still very proud of their 73 years together.
“It’s kind of surprising. We had no idea they did anything like that,” Betty said.
So, how did they keep their marriage interesting?
“Go to the airports,” Don said.
“That’s the one thing with us – aviation is his one big interest. We always took all our vacations together as a family and it was always through airport or aircraft programs that were going on,” Betty said.
Betty took care of the home and raised their five children. Don was also a Flint police sergeant for more than two decades. Spending time together and genuinely caring for one another are big reasons why they say they’ve made it this long.
“You got to work together for one thing. You can’t say, ‘Well I’m going to go this and go over there.’ You’ve got to work together,” Don said.
With five children, 11 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, they said they’d do it all over without giving it a second thought.
“Yep. in a heartbeat,” Betty said.
“I would. She’s been the best,” Don said.