Ronald and Yoshiko Roache, 1952

Ronald and Yoshiko Roache, 2021

Jerry and JoAnn Johnson

The Johnsons

Jerry and JoAnn Johnson, 2021

Falling in love is easy; maintaining that love over decades of better and worse, sickness and health isn’t quite as effortless. 

But couples who defy the odds and stay happily married for decades say there are a few secrets to staying together.

Ronald and Yoshiko Roache, who have been married for 64 years, had a more challenging road to marital bliss than many couples. Ronald, who is Black, met Yoshiko when he was stationed in Japan while serving in the Army.

The Roaches, who now live at Arbor Terrace Waugh Chapel, met in Tokyo and fell in love, but Ronald was reassigned to a post in the United States before he could propose to Yoshiko. They kept up a long-distance correspondence until Ronald could get back to Japan and ask for Yoshiko’s hand in marriage. 

They eloped, but faced family disapproval in Japan and prejudice against interracial marriage when they settled in the U.S.

Jerry and JoAnn Johnson, who are residents of Arbor Terrace Naperville, have also been married for 64 years. JoAnn was a senior in high school and Jerry had just finished a stint in the military when they met. 

The pair dated for a few months, then broke up, but when they got back together, it was for keeps. They eloped to Georgia and then broke the news to their parents.

Both couples shared a few secrets for a happy, long-lasting marriage. 

According to Jerry and JoAnn, “Do the best you can. When things are bad, don’t feel sorry for yourself, or say, ‘Woe is me.’”

The Johnsons also recommend putting family first, trusting God, and praying often.

The Roaches say their top three secrets are: “Compromise is everything. Always be there for each other. Tackle everything as partners.”

With a combined 128 years of marriage, the two couples must be on to something.

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