[Love & Sex Issue]

Relationship advice from Wilbur Faiss, married 79 years

Until last year, Faiss, 101, was half of the longest-married couple in the U.S.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Up until last year, Wilbur Faiss, 101, was half of the longest-married couple in America, at 79 years. (Faiss’ wife, Theresa, passed away last year at age 97.) As you might imagine, the Boulder City resident has strong opinions on why so many marriages fail these days: “For some people, it is a prison sentence, because their mate wants to run everything and do everything their way. That kind of marriage always leads to divorce.”

When Faiss and his wife met President Obama last year, he told the leader of the free world that compromise is a huge part of a long-lasting and fulfilling marriage, but he added to the Weekly that communication is also key. “I always told my wife, ‘I love you; you’re the only one for me,’ because they like to be assured.” As for the value of listening, Faiss puts it this way: “You learn a lot more by listening than you do by talking.”

Faiss believes his spirit of compromise stems partly from his astrological sign (he reads his horoscope every day). “My sign is Libra, which is the scales, and I think I’m right in the middle of them.”

But lest you think things were easy for the couple, consider this: Faiss is a lifelong Democrat; his wife was a Republican. “We just never talked about it,” says Faiss, who served two terms as a Nevada state senator from 1976 to 1984. “All the neighbors told my wife I was foolish for running, and she believed them,” he says, laughing, adding that when he won, “She took all the credit!” She didn’t like for him to be away in Carson City, “but that was the good part—that she missed me!”

The 79 years, he says, “just slipped by. We worked together. You either work together or you fall apart, it’s as simple as that.”

Photo of Ken Miller

Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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