EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 14, 2013

Couple married 73 years credits family and faith

METHUEN — Sitting in their apartment Tufic “Teo” and Jennie Assad talk about memories they hold dear over nearly three-quarters of a century of marriage — raising two children, their faith, playing badminton, hosting barbecues in their backyard and traveling to Las Vegas, Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Acapulco.

The Assads have known each other since they were teenagers and celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary on June 24.

“We’ve had a lot of good years and I thank God for that,” Teo Assad said.

Few married couples make it to their 70th anniversary.

How rare is it?

According to some reports, of all the married couples in the nation in 2011, 39 percent had been married for 25 years.

Seven percent had made it to their 50th.

And 0.01 percent had been married for 70 years.

Americans believe that love is the main foundation of marriage. Most who never have been married say they would like to be at some point in their lives. However, statistics show Americans aren’t rushing to the altar, and the U.S. marriage rate is at an all-time low — only 51 percent of adults were married in 2011, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

The romantic ideal of marriage plays out in survey data that show whether they are married or not, Americans are more inclined to choose “love” as a reason for marriage than any other factor. In a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, love wins out over “making a lifelong commitment,” as well as “companionship,” “having childen” and “financial stability” as important reasons for getting married.

Among married people, 93 percent say love is a very important reason to get married; 84 percent of unmarried people say so. Men and women are equally likely to say love is a very important reason to get married.

Teo Assad was born and raised in Lawrence, one of seven boys and one girl. Jennie was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and came to Lawrence as a little girl. His parents are from Lebanon and Jennie’s mother was from Aleppo and her father from Beirut.

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