Four couples at John Knox Village share their secrets for a long, happy marriage

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — If you ever wondered what the secret to a long and happy marriage is, four local couples from John Knox Village have the answer.

Nancy and Farrell Adkins

Nancy & Farrell Adkins

Nancy Adkins kept her advice simple, “you have to share the blankets.”

Adkins said that’s what she and her husband, Farrell, most recently fought over.

“The sheets and the blankets. We both need a blanket on each side. That’s the secret,” she revealed.

The two met in 1957.

“He was still in junior college, but I’d been working for a year,” Adkins said. “So that’s why he married me because I had $400 in my savings account and he had to finish college.”

She said it was music though that brought the two together. Farrell sings and plays guitar.

“We got engaged, and I had to go to the license bureau when I was 20 years old,” Farrell said recalling their life together. “And my daddy had to go with me and sign for me. She got to go by herself– she was 21, two weeks older than me.”

Their final advice for couples:

“Humor. You have to have a lot of humor. Patience and respect” Adkins said.

“It’s all give and take. You give, and I take,” Farrell added while giggling.

Bill Owsley and Dolores Fetters

Bill Owsley and Dolores Fetters

Bill Owsley and Dolores Fetters met in South Texas and their love has continued to blossom over the years.

“We were winter snow birds,” Owsley said. “We both had residences there, never had met.”

Owsley was from Blue Springs. Fetters was from Lee’s Summit.

“We met down there, started dating, married and enjoying life,” Owsley said.

Doris and Pete Stevenson

Doris and Pete Stevenson

Doris Stevenson said she knew from the very beginning that she was going to marry Pete.

“We met when we were in high school of course. And we had, not a date with each other. But it was a triple date,” Stevenson said.

She said she rode with  her date to pick up the other people going on the triple date.

“As we got to his (Pete’s) house, there was some little voice that said ‘I’m going to marry him,’” she said

Pete said four weeks later they went on their first date.

“We haven’t quit yet,” he added.

The two have been together 73 years, married 69 of those.

“There is not a night that goes by that the last words we say to each other, ‘I love you,’” Pete said looking at his wife.

John and Lynn Varvaro

John and Lynn Varvaro

John Varvaro said he and wife Lynn met in third grade. The two were living in California.

“1957, we were ten years old,” Lynn said. “And we were at Sunday school. We didn’t know we were future mates.”

She added that years went by before they met again in college.

“And we’re best friends,” she said. “I think that’s been a sustaining thread. You are my best friend and to be with your best friend for life is a real privilege.”

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